Fourth day of ‘official silence’ as X remains disrupted

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Twitter continues to remain inaccessible in Pakistan for the fourth consecutive day, prompting concerns over freedom of expression and communication rights in the country. The disruption of the popular social media platform, which began on February 17, has caused frustration among users and drawn international attention, with the United States urging Pakistan to ensure unrestricted access to the internet.
According to Dawn, the platform has been inaccessible since Satur­day when former Rawal­pindi commissioner Liaquat Chattha held a press conference and accused the chief election commissioner and chief justice of being involved in rigging the Feb 8 general elections.
In a recent update shared on X, Netblocks reported that access to X has experienced intermittent restoration on certain Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The organization noted that despite these intermittent improvements, X/Twitter remains inaccessible for numerous users in Pakistan, surpassing the 72-hour mark of restriction. This incident marks the longest among several instances of internet censorship observed during the election period, according to Netblocks metrics.
Dawn reached out to a spokesperson from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority for comment. However, no response had been received.
Meanwhile, the United States, through its embassy in Islamabad, has called for unrestricted access to the internet in Pakistan, emphasizing the importance of free flow of information for a vibrant democracy. The statement underscores the international scrutiny the situation has garnered, as concerns mount over the implications for freedom of expression and access to information, 24 News reported.
The Rural Media Network Pakistan (RMNP) in a statement condemned the ongoing disruption of social media and internet services in Pakistan and demanded the immediate restoration of X. RMNP President Ehsan Ahmed Seharand Secretary General Ijaz Ahmed Khan expressed grave concern over the prolonged suspension of internet access and X, emphasizing that such actions pose a grave threat to freedom of expression and free speech as enshrined in the Pakistan’s Constitution. Stressing the indispensable role of internet and social media as primary sources of information globally, they urged authorities to promptly restore uninterrupted internet services across the country. RMNP President and Secretary General said this restriction is critical in the post election phase and political uncertainty, highlighting a disturbing trend towards limiting digital freedoms in the country.

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