PTA awaits instructions on restoration as mobile internet blackout enters 4th day

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Friday said that it had not yet received any directives from the government regarding the restoration of mobile internet services.
The telecom regulator blocked mobile broadband services across the country on May 9 following protests that erupted after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.
Enraged PTI supporters resorted to violence attacking military and government buildings in Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Peshawar.
The step was taken by the authorities to control the spread of chaos, while access to major social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube has also been blocked since then.
In a statement today, PTA said that mobile internet service across the country will remain suspended until further notice.
However, it added, broadband internet service was available to the users.
The telecom regulator said that the Ministry of Interior had issued orders to suspend mobile internet service and it had not received any fresh directives in this regard from the authorities.
Earlier on Thursday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that mobile internet services will hopefully be restored in the next 36 hours.
Amnesty International on Friday urged Pakistan authorities to lift restrictions on the internet services that were blocked after the arrest of former premier Imran Khan in the Al Qadir Trust corruption case.
Rimmel Mohydin, the South Asian campaigner at Amnesty International, said: “There is an urgent need to de-escalate the situation in Pakistan as it threatens further severe violations of rights of the people and risks more fatalities.”
While asking officials to restrain from excessive use of force, she added: “The authorities should be aiming to defuse the situation and the use of force by the state must go no further than is necessary and proportionate. Amnesty International strongly urges Pakistani authorities to exercise restraint and use minimum force without resorting to the use of firearms to disperse protesters.”
“The authorities must also ensure no arbitrary arrests are made and that there is evidence of reasonable suspicion of criminality for each arrest,” the campaigner said.
“Alarmingly, the government has announced that the mobile internet shutdown is ‘indefinite’ which is a clear violation of people’s right to access information and free expression,” Mohydin maintained.
“The ban on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube also creates a permissive environment for other human rights violations under the darkness of the internet shutdown,” she highlighted, adding that “the restrictions must be lifted immediately.”