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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Twitter Suspended in Pakistan: Government Concerns

The decision to ban X in Pakistan was taken to safeguard national security, maintain public order, and uphold the nation's integrity, the report stated.

In its first statement since the suspension of X in Pakistan in mid-February, the social media platform stated that it “continues to engage” with the relevant authorities in the country regarding their concerns.

The platform’s Global Government Affairs team, via their official X handle, stated: “We continue to engage with the Pakistani Government to address their concerns.” X, formerly known as Twitter, was suspended in Pakistan by the government on February 17, following the general elections in the country.

Read more: Saad Rafique calls for uplifting ban on X

After the elections, discussions on the fairness and transparency of the polls were widespread on the platform. Subsequently, users reported difficulties in accessing X, although no official statement was made by the Pakistani government on the matter.

However, the interior ministry, in a report submitted to the Islamabad High Court concerning the suspension, maintained that it took this action due to national security concerns. Following this, X issued its statement.

The ministry’s report to the court mentioned that “content uploaded on the internet” posed a “threat” to national security.

The decision to ban X in Pakistan was taken to safeguard national security, maintain public order, and uphold the nation’s integrity, the report stated.

The ministry emphasized that X is not registered in Pakistan and has not agreed to comply with Pakistani laws.

The lack of cooperation from X authorities justified regulatory actions against the platform, including its temporary closure, as per the ministry.

The Federal Investigation Agency’s cybercrime wing had requested X to suspend accounts spreading anti-chief justice propaganda, but X officials reportedly ignored the request, according to the report.

The ministry noted that social media platforms, including X, are being misused to spread extremist ideologies and false information, contributing to lawlessness and instability.

The ban on X aims to promote responsible social media usage in accordance with the law, the ministry asserted, adding that it is committed to protecting Pakistani citizens and ensuring national stability.

Previously, the government had also banned TikTok, but lifted the ban after the platform agreed to comply with Pakistani laws.

The report highlighted that social media platform bans are not unique to Pakistan and are enforced by various countries for security reasons.

On February 17, 2024, the Interior Ministry issued orders for the closure of X following requests from intelligence agencies.

However, a day earlier, the Sindh High Court directed the Ministry of Interior to retract its suspension letter regarding X within one week.