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Saturday May 25, 2024

Pakistanis still unable to access X, formerly Twitter, after 144 hours

Sindh High Court Thursday ordered the PTA to fully restore the services of social media platform X across the country

By News Desk
February 24, 2024
This representational image shows the logo of X formerly known as twitter. — AFP/File
This representational image shows the logo of X formerly known as twitter. — AFP/File

KARACHI: X, formerly Twitter, is still inaccessible to Pakistanis after the passage of more than six days (144 hours) as the caretaker government is yet to comment on the reason behind the prolonged disruption. The disruption began on Saturday last week. Thousands of Pakistanis turn towards the Elon Musk-owned platform for quick dissemination of information, but they are unable to access it.

Caretaker Minister for Information and Technology Dr Umar Saif was not immediately available for a comment and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is yet to issue a statement on the matter.

“User reports indicate possible problems at X (Twitter),” said website tracker Downdetector.com. While boasting of being among the top internet user population globally, Pakistan struggles with internet availability, ranking low compared to its peers, while reportedly authorities intermittently disrupt access to social media platforms.

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. Internet shutdowns directly contradict constitutionally guaranteed rights like freedom of information (Article 19-A), freedom of speech (Article 19), and freedom of association (Article 17). In its February 2018 ruling, the Islamabad High Court declared internet shutdowns against fundamental rights and Constitution.

Digital rights activists had slammed the authorities’ move to disrupt the access to the social media platform and deplored the utter lack of transparency from the government.

Meanwhile, the Sindh High Court Thursday ordered the PTA to fully restore the services of social media platform X across the country and sought a detailed response from the authority and other parties at a later hearing.