Human rights group Amnesty International has called on the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to restore internet services in the country and access to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
The Amnesty International South Asia, Regional Office statement comes after the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on Tuesday suspended mobile broadband services nationwide after former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s arrest.
Taking to its official Twitter handle, Amnesty International South Asia, Regional Office stated, “Pakistan: Amid concerns about escalating clashes between Imran Khan’s supporters and the police, Amnesty International is alarmed by reports that Pakistani authorities have suspended mobile internet and access to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.”
In another tweet, Amnesty International South Asia, Regional Office stated, “This restricts people’s access to information and freedom of expression. We call upon the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority and Interior Ministry to immediately reverse this ban.”
Mobile broadband services were blocked across Pakistan on Tuesday on the orders given by the Ministry of Interior’s order, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said, The News International reported.
A PTA spokesperson said that the mobile broadband services were blocked after videos of violent protests were shared widely on social media platforms as unrest flared up following the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, as per The News International report.
According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) spokesperson, the regulatory authority was receiving reports of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram being down, as per the news report.
After the arrest of Imran Khan, a series of protests across Pakistan including Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Karachi, Quetta, Mardan, Bannu, and Chilas has been unleashed by the PTI cadres.
Protesters in Pakistan entered compounds of army commanders in Lahore and Rawalpindi according to multiple Pakistan media reports after Imran Khan’s arrest. Several videos surfacing on social media platforms show groups of men, some with their faces covered, entering the gated premises of GHQ with sticks, which they later were seen using to hit the walls.
Imran Khan was arrested from the premises of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday by Rangers in connection with a warrant issued by the National Accountability Bureau in the Al-Qadir Trust case. After his arrest, the PTI urged supporters in Pakistan to protest and “block all roads, close all shops”. Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday termed former Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s arrest as “legal,” reported Geo News.