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Pakistan receives global appeal to end electoral internet blockades

Pakistan receives global appeal to end electoral internet blockades
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February 22, 2024 (MLN): Observing the internet outages and restrictions currently prevailing in Pakistan, certain countries including United States and Britain have expressed deep concerns about the country's electoral process and have urged the government to lift such restrictions.

General elections in the country were held on February 08, and since then the election result has been in a continuous delay, creating uncertainty over the incoming government.

Yesterday, the population embraced clarity after major political parties reached a consensus to form a coalition government.

However, this clarity has now converted into protests from the opposite party due to the unfair and unjust conclusion of elections.

The U.S. State Department on Wednesday condemned internet shutdowns in Pakistan, including restrictions on social media platforms, and urged the Pakistani government to lift such restrictions, as Reuters reported.

"We are concerned by any reports of restrictions on the exercise of the freedom of expression and association in Pakistan, including the partial or complete government-imposed internet shutdowns, which includes, of course, on social media platforms," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters on Wednesday.

Miller said that Washington called on Pakistan to respect freedom of expression and "restore access to any social media that has been restricted, including Twitter." He said the U.S. concerns had been communicated to Pakistan through official channels.

The Netblocks global internet monitor on Wednesday cited instances of restrictions. "Metrics show that X/Twitter remains largely restricted in Pakistan past the four-day mark; imposed on Saturday as disclosures relating to election fraud circulated on the platform," Netblocks said.

Voters in Pakistan went to the polls earlier this month, in a vote marred by a mobile internet shutdown on election day and unusually delayed results, leading to accusations that the vote was rigged.

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Posted on: 2024-02-22T10:46:14+05:00