Call for major shakeup of PTA, immediate restoration of “X”

Islamabad: President Human Rights Cell Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Farhatullah Babar on Thursday called for a major shakeup of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and demanded immediate restoration of the ‘X’ social media platform.

“The admission, before Sindh High Court after a month long denial, by the interior ministry that it had blocked the social media platform “X” on the advice of the intelligence agencies represents a dangerous model of governance in which a security paranoid establishment takes decisions without accountability and without regard to economy, education and democratic right of expression,” he said in a statement.

He added: “Likewise the statement made by the PTA chief before the court that his organization was in a state of “confusion” amounts to adding insult to injury. What confusion is there when the interior ministry itself acknowledged that it ordered suspension of “X” on February 17.”
The suspension was ordered soon after a senior bureaucrat in Rawalpindi made startling allegations against the chief election commissioner and the top judge for manipulating Feb 8 elections.

This raises the troubling question that while “X” was blocked, neither the allegation by the senior bureaucrat investigated nor was he prosecuted- Why, he questioned.

Secondly, eh said, “if no one took responsibility for the whole one month for blocking “X” what confusion the PTA had in mind that prevented it from restoring the social media platform on its own?”
Babar said even while in the meantime several orders were passed by the Sindh High Court the PTA did not restore “X”. “Did the PTA chief assume that given his background of previous service in another institution he could flout court orders with impunity? The interior ministry’s admission came a few days after the federal information minister acknowledged that “X” was already blocked during the caretaker set up and that there was no notification for the clampdown. This begs the question that if Mr. Attaullah Tarar did not find any notification blocking “X” why the government failed to investigate the blocking of social media platform,” he elaborated.

Babar said the ‘confused’ PTA has been denying all along that blockage was even in place. It owes an explanation. It must come out clean.

“A major shakeup of the organization is called for and the platform “X” must be restored immediately,” he said.