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Internet, social media disrupted in Pakistan ahead of Imran Khan’s party online rally

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Internet services were disrupted across Pakistan and people complained about difficulties accessing social media platforms on Sunday night, Internet Monitor Netblocks reported.

Users reported having difficulty accessing social media platforms in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad shortly after 8 pm.(Image for representation)
Users reported having difficulty accessing social media platforms in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad shortly after 8 pm.(Image for representation)

“Live metrics show a nation-scale disruption to social media platforms across Pakistan, including X, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube…” the internet tracking agency said.

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The disruption coincided with the virtual power show by former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), scheduled to begin at 9 pm.

Users in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad reported difficulty accessing social media platforms around 8 pm, with some also experiencing slow internet services, according to Dawn.

Taimur Jhagra, former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa finance minister and PTI leader, highlighted the internet issues during the online rally, attributing it to the party’s growing popularity.

“This is proof of the fear of the unprecedented popularity of Imran Khan’s PTI!” the party wrote on X. “In what was an expected move, the illegitimate, fascist regime has slowed down internet speed & disruption of social media platforms all across Pakistan, prior to PTI’s historic Virtual Jalsa!”

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) did not respond to repeated requests for comment, according to Dawn.

In May, after violent protests broke out after Imran Khan’s arrest, the PTA confirmed that it had suspended mobile broadband across the country on the interior ministry’s instructions.

Netblocks had said access to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube was also restricted across Pakistan when Khan was arrested from the Islamabad High Court’s premises in the Al-Qadir Trust case.

Earlier in July, Pakistan was ranked third in the world over the imposition of internet restrictions in the first half of 2023, Dawn reported.

It further cited a report by Surfshark, a virtual private network company headquartered in Lithuania, and stated that a half-year analysis of internet shutdowns based on the Internet Shutdown Tracker revealed that Pakistan was responsible for three of the 42 new restrictions worldwide that were imposed following Imran’s arrest.

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