Pakistan High Court orders government to restore X in one week: lawyer

During the hearing on Wednesday, SHC CJ Abbasi highlighted that the “law does not empower the Interior Ministry to act on reports forwarded by intelligence agencies”

Published - April 17, 2024 04:46 pm IST - Karachi

‘X’ logo.

‘X’ logo. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Coming down heavily on the continuous suspension of social media platform X in Pakistan since February, the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday directed the Ministry of Interior to revoke its decision on the suspension within one week, according to a media report.

SHC Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, while hearing multiple petitions on the suspension of the social media platform previously called Twitter, said, “What are you (Interior Ministry) achieving via shutting down trivial things… The world must laugh at us,” Geo News reported.

The Elon Musk-owned X has been suspended since February owing to the government’s decision to curb access to the social media platform citing national security threats.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) told the court last month that it blocked the social media platform after receiving directions from the Ministry of Interior and intelligence agencies, the report said.

The PTA said that the directions for temporary suspension of mobile internet data services, social media websites and applications are only issued by the said ministry after careful consideration of all the relevant reports and circumstances.

Following the regulatory body’s statement, the Interior Ministry, in a separate case, informed the Islamabad High Court that “content uploaded on the internet” is a “threat” to the country’s national security, The News International reported.

During the hearing on Wednesday, SHC CJ Abbasi highlighted that the “law does not empower the Interior Ministry to act on reports forwarded by intelligence agencies”.

Lamenting the suspension, the petitioner’s lawyer said using X and other social media platforms does not lead to “blasts”.

“In hindsight [it seems that] no justification was given to suspend X,” the SHC chief justice said, adding that the court will issue its orders if the Interior Ministry does not withdraw the directives issued on February 17.

The court then adjourned the hearing till May 9, directing the Ministry of Interior to present its reasons behind the blocking of the social media platform on the said date, it added.

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