The Islamabad High Court (IHC) received clarification from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Tuesday regarding the social media platform X ban in Pakistan, affirming that the interior ministry bears accountability for the decision. The hearing was presided over by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, and the PTA counsel made remarks during the hearing of a petition against the ban on social media platforms.

PTA Attributes X Ban in Pakistan to Interior Ministry

During the hearing at the IHC, the counsel representing PTA elucidated that the closure of social media platform X was executed in accordance with directives issued by the interior ministry; the argument shed light on the responsible authority behind the controversial ban, sparking further discussion during the proceedings.

Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, presiding over the hearing, was presented with a sealed letter by the PTA counsel. Despite initial anticipation, the contents of the letter failed to provide substantive insights, prompting the chief justice to express his observations regarding its relevance to the case. PTA’s legal counsel attributed the platform’s closure to directives outlined in the letter, citing legal obligations for compliance: “The answer is to be given by the Ministry of Interior,” he maintained. “Platforms can only be banned under the rule of law,” reiterated the court.

Court Emphasizes Legal Obligations

In response to the petitioner’s concerns regarding the dissemination of the letter on social media platforms, the court reiterated the legal obligations outlined in the communication as the basis for the platform’s closure. Justice Farooq emphasized the necessity for compliance with established legal frameworks, highlighting the role of platforms like X in facilitating freedom of speech and expression.

As the proceedings unfolded, the court stressed the importance of adhering to the rule of law in matters concerning social media bans. Adjourning the hearing until April 3, the court summoned an authorized representative from the interior ministry to provide further clarity on the directives leading to the ban. The developments in the courtroom reflect a discourse surrounding digital rights and governmental oversight in the context of social media regulation in Pakistan.

Digital Rights activists have reported numerous instances of service disruptions affecting millions of internet users in the country, occurring five times within the past two months, notably during the February 8 election day. The ban came into effect following public allegations made by an elections officer in Rawalpindi, Liaqat Ali Chattha, who claimed to have tampered with election results in his area.

Read more: Ex-Rawalpindi Commissioner Chatha Admits Orchestrating Poll Rigging Drama


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