Internet shutdown is for ‘indefinite’ period: telco regulator

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) announced on Wednesday that internet services will remain suspended across the country for an “indefinite” period, responding to a directive by the interior ministry to block mobile broadband services.

The move comes after violent protests erupted following the arrest on Tuesday of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan in a case that involves a property tycoon tied to the military.

The arrest came hours after he released a video message reiterating his allegation that the powerful military had tried to assassinate him twice.

Mobile internet services were cut across the country, according to the telecommunication authority, and access to social media platforms — Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, where videos of the protests were being widely shared — was restricted.

Internet users in Pakistan said they are unable to access major platforms since the services were shut down on Tuesday.

Videos of violent protests were widely circulated on the platforms, prompting the blocking of mobile broadband services.

The mechanics of the internet mean that blocks on access imposed by one province may leach over the borders on to neighbouring populations, or even be felt half a world away by users in different continents.

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