The recent internet blackout that took place in Pakistan has been disassociated from the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication by the Federal Minister, Syed Amin-ul-Haque. During an interview with a local news channel, the Minister clarified that his ministry was not informed or consulted before the suspension of mobile internet services occurred.
The Minister further explained that since 2017, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has operated independently and no longer falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of IT. Hence, the decision to suspend mobile internet services was made without their involvement.
Expressing his stance, the Minister emphasized that blocking social media platforms or completely shutting down the internet cannot be considered a viable solution to any issue. He discouraged the use of VPNs to bypass blocked websites and instead urged individuals to adopt a more open-minded approach.
In search of an alternative resolution, the Minister proposed the possibility of restricting internet access to specific areas only. This targeted approach would provide a more nuanced response to situations while minimizing the impact on the wider population.
The Minister also drew attention to the substantial financial losses incurred by the IT sector as a result of the internet services blockade. These losses amounted to billions of rupees, underscoring the negative repercussions of such measures.
The unrest that followed the arrest of former Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan led to violent protests throughout the country. As a consequence, mobile broadband services were suspended, and access to popular social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube was restricted. However, after nearly a week-long suspension, the government eventually restored access to these social media platforms.
Reiterating his position, the Minister reiterated that blocking the internet is not an effective solution and stressed the need to explore alternative approaches to address issues effectively.