Pakistan blocked social media platform X over ‘misuse’ concerns; ‘world must laugh at us,’ court says | World News - Hindustan Times

Pakistan blocked social media platform X over ‘misuse’ concerns; ‘world must laugh at us,’ court says

Apr 17, 2024 04:46 PM IST

The Elon Musk-owned X has been suspended since February owing to the government's decision to curb access to the platform citing national security threats.

Pakistan on Wednesday confirmed the long-suspected shutdown of social media platform X saying it ordered the temporary blockage in February on national security concerns.

The logo of US online social media and social networking service X - formerly Twitter.(AFP)
The logo of US online social media and social networking service X - formerly Twitter.(AFP)

Social media users in Pakistan have been facing difficulties in accessing the Elon Musk-owned platform since mid-February when jailed former prime minister Imran Khan's party called for nationwide protests against alleged rigging in general elections.

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The confirmation came from Pakistan's interior ministry which mentioned the shutdown in a written court submission on Wednesday.

"It is very pertinent to mention here that the failure of Twitter/X to adhere to the lawful directives of the government of Pakistan and address concerns regarding the misuse of its platform necessitated the imposition of a ban," Reuters quoted the report as saying.

Read: Pakistani court suspends sentence for ex-PM Khan and wife in a graft case but couple won't be freed

The ministry alleged that the social media company exhibited reluctance to cooperate with Pakistani authorities in resolving “critical” issues.

"The decision to impose a ban on Twitter/X in Pakistan was made in the interest of upholding national security, maintaining public order, and preserving the integrity of our nation", the report said.

The Sindh High Court came down heavily on the decision to suspend X and directed the government to restore the platform within one week.

SHC Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, while hearing multiple petitions on the suspension of the social media platform previously called Twitter, said, “What are you (Interior Ministry) achieving via shutting down trivial things… The world must laugh at us,” Geo News reported.

A senior government official had made a public admission of vote manipulation in the February 8 polls, triggering outrage and call for protests from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Reports suggested widespread disruptions in accessing X in the capital Islamabad as well as the mega cities of Lahore and Karachi.

Mobile internet services were cut across the country on polling day, with the interior ministry citing security reasons.

The US State Department said it supported the right to internet access without commenting on whether Washington had raised the issue with Pakistan.

"As a general matter, we want internet platforms to be available to people in Pakistan and around the world," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters.

With inputs from agencies

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