PTA directed to ensure uninterrupted internet access till February 8 polls


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WEB DESK: In a significant development, the Sindh High Court (SHC) issued a directive on Wednesday instructing the government and the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to ensure seamless internet access until the upcoming polls on February 8.

This order stemmed from a petition filed by Jibran Nasir, an independent candidate, lawyer, and civil rights activist.

Nasir, representing himself as an independent candidate and concerned citizen, brought attention to the recurrent internet and social media disruptions allegedly caused by the PTA.

He highlighted that these disruptions not only seemed to target the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) but also inflicted losses on all candidates, businesses, and citizens in general.

Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, the SHC directed both the PTA and the government to guarantee uninterrupted internet access until Election Day on February 8.

The court’s objective is to prevent any further pre-poll rigging and enable citizens to report any potential rigging attempts on Election Day through social media channels.

This directive follows a series of nationwide disruptions in accessing social media platforms over the past few weeks.

According to the internet tracking agency NetBlocks, live metrics revealed widespread disruptions to platforms such as X, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube across Pakistan on January 7.

On January 20, the agency again reported a nationwide disruption coinciding with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s decision to hold a virtual election gathering.

Responding to the disruptions, the PTA attributed the cause to a “technical fault.”

As the nation prepares for the crucial elections on February 8, the SHC’s order aims to ensure a fair and transparent electoral process by maintaining uninterrupted internet access for citizens and political candidates alike.

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