Twitter still inaccessible for more than 4 days in Pakistan.

Popular social networking platform X, formerly Twitter, was inaccessible and banned in Pakistan on the fourth consecutive day, with the government still keeping mum about the disruption that began on Saturday last week, following election fraud allegations by a senior government official.

The social media platform was accessible for a few hours today, but its access was disrupted once again, with no official announcement.

Ahead of the February 8 general elections, users were unable to access several social media sites, for which authorities concerned blamed an error. However, on the polling day, the internet was shut down to avoid terrorism, according to the caretaker government. Following the sought-after polls, there were repeated disruptions in accessing X.

Internet shutdowns directly contradict constitutionally guaranteed rights like freedom of information (Article 19-A), freedom of speech (Article 19), and freedom of association (Article 17).

In its February 2018 ruling, the Islamabad High Court declared internet shutdowns against fundamental rights and constitution.

Digital rights activist and journalist Farieha Aziz said the ban on X persists without any official acknowledgement by the PTA or the caretaker government. Instead, she said, there is deflection by all quarters, while the “prime minister and the IT minister are using VPNs to post on X”.

Usama Khilji, director at Bolo Bhi, slammed the utter lack of transparency from the government. “There’s no notice, no announcement, no certainty around when the block will be lifted, which is creating a lot of uncertainty and an environment of disinformation, because people cannot access information with integrity, can’t access instant information, which is the defining nature of Twitter,” he said.

The United States called Wednesday on Pakistan to lift restrictions on X, formerly known as Twitter, after days of disruption following an election marred by fraud allegations.

“We are concerned by any report of restrictions on the exercise of the freedom of expression and association in Pakistan, including a partial or complete government-imposed internet shutdown,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

“We continue to call on Pakistan to respect freedom of expression and restore access to any social media that has been restricted including Twitter, now known as X,” he said.

“We have and we will continue to emphasize the importance of respecting these fundamental freedoms during our engagements with Pakistani officials.”



X went down in Pakistan on Saturday night after a senior government official made a public admission of vote manipulation in the February 8 election.

The two main dynastic parties, the army-backed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), late Tuesday announced a coalition with smaller parties to govern the world’s fifth most populous nation.

Excluded from government were candidates loyal to jailed former prime minister Imran Khan. His supporters took the most seats even though they were forced to run as independents and they allege they would have enjoyed a decisive victory without rigging.

The United States has called for an investigation of fraud claims but declined to comment on the makeup of the coalition, which will need to be formally approved by the National Assembly.

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