X Suspension In Pakistan Enters Fourth Day; PTA Silent

The PTA has not issued an official statement addressing the restriction on X since the filing of this report.

X Suspension In Pakistan Enters Fourth Day; PTA Silent

Users in Pakistan have been unable to use X, the platform previously known as Twitter, since February 17 (Saturday), the most recent and longest in a series of national-scale internet restriction measures implemented by authorities.

Why Is X Restricted In Pakistan?

It is pertinent to mention here that Rawalpindi Commissioner Liaqat Ali Chatha resigned on February 17 (Saturday) after acknowledging his role in influencing the results of the 2024 general elections, which were plagued by allegations of major electoral fraud and produced no clear winner.

X became prohibited after a few hours following a press conference in which the former commissioner admitted to his participation in alleged poll rigging.

PTA Silent Over X Outage

Ironically, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has remained silent about the country's latest and longest X outage, which occurred following the general elections and a news conference by the former Rawalpindi commissioner.

The PTA has not published an official comment addressing the restriction on X since the filing of this report.

 Digital Rights Activists Concerned Over Restriction on X

According to digital rights campaigner and journalist Farieha Aziz, the ban on X remains in place despite the PTA and caretaker government's failure to acknowledge it.

Instead, she stated, there is diversion from all sides, while the "prime minister and the IT minister are using VPNs to post on X."

She stated that, under PECA laws, only the PTA may use blocking powers and that the federal government, through any ministry, cannot issue any orders in this respect.

She further stated that the limitation is irrational and unlawful. "Depriving citizens of a platform in this manner is not only unconstitutional but also shows that those making decisions wish to prevent discourse on election irregularities and expressions of dismay and outrage by citizens across the country," she added.

"Why this is occurring is obvious. The taking away of platforms where citizens' voices are heard," she added.

On the other hand, Usama Khilji, director of Bolo Bhi, denounced the government's lack of transparency.

"There's no notice, no announcement, and no certainty around when the block will be lifted, which is creating a lot of uncertainty and an environment of disinformation because people cannot access information with integrity and can't access instant information, which is the defining nature of Twitter," he said.

He said it also indicates the state's and government's nefarious intentions because not only did they turn off the internet on election day, but they have turned off X now as "rigging and evidence of rigging are surfacing on Twitter and other social media platforms."

Elon Musk’s Response 

Elon Musk, X's owner and the world's second-richest person, has not publicly commented on the outage.