Pakistan suspends mobile, internet services for security reasons04 Oct, 2017
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned about the repeated shutdown of Internet and cellular mobile phone services in Pakistan on grounds of ‘security’. The IFJ urges the Pakistani authorities to find alternative security measures to ensure free flow of information over the Internet.
Between September 29 to October 1, most cities in Pakistan remained without mobile and Internet services as a part of the security measures for Ashura, during which there are major religious processions across Pakistan. The Sindh Home Department issued a formal notification of network disconnection across eight cities including Karachi while mobile and internet services were reported suspended in Punjab including Faisalabad, Baluchistan including Quetta and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including Peshawar without formal notice.
The suspension notification by the Government of Sindh’s, Home Department stated that the suspension was being carried out on request of law enforcement agencies ‘as there are apprehensions of coordination of criminal activity by miscreants/criminals through the use of cellular phones/internet’.
According to a report, the suspension affected 25 to 30 million people in more than 30 cities for more than 1100 hours collectively.
The IFJ said: “The IFJ is concerned about the impact of Internet shutdowns on journalists and media as freedom of expression is the first casualty of such disruptions. The IFJ urges Pakistani authorities not to suspend of mobile and internet services affecting citizen’s ability of communicate and free flow of information, and increases the spread of rumours which in fact adversely impacts security.”