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Friday April 19, 2024

PTA, information ministry served notices over closure of X

X has remained restricted in Pakistan since February 17 with people accessing the social media site using VPN

By Awais Yousafzai
March 05, 2024
The image shows the logo of X formerly known as Twitter. — Twitter/File
The image shows the logo of X formerly known as Twitter. — Twitter/File

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) conducted a hearing on the closure of popular social media site X, formerly Twitter, in the country during which it issued notices to the Ministry of Information and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Tuesday.

The site has remained restricted in Pakistan since February 17 with people accessing the popular site using a VPN. 

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard the petition against X's closure today. During the hearing, IHC CJ asked, "Is X closed?"

At this, the petitioner's lawyer replied that X had been closed in Pakistan since February 17.

"This matter was also before the Sindh High Court (SHC), what happened to it?" asked Justice Farooq.

The lawyer replied that the SHC will hear a petition related to contempt of court today.

After this, Justice Farooq said that he was issuing notices for the next week.

A similar petition was filed in the Sindh High Court (SHC) last month as well and in the plea authorities were directed to restore social media platform X and ensure uninterrupted access to the site across the country.

SHC Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi issued the orders on a plea filed by multiple petitioners including Zarrar Khuhro, Amber Shamsi, Zebunnisa Burki and others against intermittent disruptions faced by users in accessing the renowned social media platform which has witnessed various "unannounced" sporadic suspensions in recent weeks.

Ahead of the February 8 general elections, users were unable to access several social media sites, for which authorities concerned blamed an error. However, on the polling day, the internet was shut down to avoid terrorism, according to the caretaker government. Following the sought-after polls, there were repeated disruptions in accessing X.

Speaking to a local media channel last week, Information Minister Murtaza Solangi said that the caretaker government had nothing to do with the X shutdown in Pakistan.

He said that the caretaker cabinet did not discuss anything or decide on the closure of the microblogging website.

Solangi said that it would be better to approach PTA's chairman regarding this matter.