IHC issues notice to ministry, PTA over suspension of social media platform X

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IHC issues notice to ministry, PTA over suspension of social media platform X

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the Ministry of Information got notices from the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday about a petition that questioned the suspension of social media platform X (previously Twitter).

Soon after former Rawalpindi commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatha accused Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) of “rigging,” a charge that both the Chief Justice and the electoral watchdog denied, the site was shut. The social media app has already been taken down in the lead-up to the polls on February 8.

Ehtisham Abbasi filed the petition on Monday, naming the PTA and the Ministry of Information as respondents. After hearing the case, IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq asked if the social media site was still suspended in the whole country.

The petitioner said, “X has been suspended since February 17,” and mentioned that the Sindh High Court (SHC) had set today’s hearing for a contempt plea related to the case.

The petition further claimed that the social media platform’s undisclosed suspension breaches Article 19 of the Constitution and begged the court to order the defendants to lift the ban immediately.

The court then sent notices to the respondents and postponed the hearing until the following week.
The issue has also been heard by the SHC. Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmad Abbasi heard similar petitions during a previous hearing and ruled that all social media apps, including the microblogging service X, should be reinstated.

The high court also asked the relevant authorities to explain the election day internet problems.

The PTA lawyer told the chief justice that the interior ministry had ordered the halting of the social media apps.

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