October 16, 2019

Reports of arbitrary network shutdowns in Karachi & Islamabad; PTA & Interior Ministry deny issuance of notices to telcos

Partial network shutdowns were reported from areas in Karachi, and Islamabad. Pakistan Telecommunications Authority and the Federal Interior Ministry deny issuing any formal notifications to the telecom operators for suspension of services.

In the wake of Ashura, during the observance of related religious activities, arbitrary network shutdowns were reported from a number of areas in Karachi and Islamabad. Digital Rights Monitor reached out to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and the Federal Interior Ministry to confirm if any official notifications were issued to the telecom operators demanding the suspension of telecom services to deal with any potential law and order situation during the observance of Ashura.

Both departments denied issuing any notifications to telecom operators for suspension of services.

Network shutdowns are a regular practice every year during sensitive religious and national events, including but not limited to Ashura, the Independence Day and more. During the observance of Ashura every year, network shutdowns are reported from across the country, especially in the sensitive areas surrounding the hubs of religious activities.

On 8th September, reports of network shutdowns came in from E-11, F-11, and F-10 in Islamabad, and in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Federal B Area, North Nazimabad, and areas surrounding Numaish Chaurangi in Karachi.

It is a developing story. Digital Rights Monitor is collecting the reports on network shutdowns from across Pakistan. If you experienced a network shutdown in your area, please tweet us @DRM_News.

 


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Written by

Asad Baig is an Islamabad-based journalist. He is the founder and the executive director of Media Matters for Democracy and the editor of Digital Rights Monitor. He tweets at @asadbeyg

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