Livia Saccardi, Amnesty International’s Interim Deputy Director for South Asia, said: “The internet has been cut off in Pakistan, which is holding a general election today.
“The decision to suspend telecommunications and mobile internet services on Election Day is a blatant attack on freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly. A devastating bomb explosion and violent opposition to the country’s elections. It would be reckless to block access to information as people head to the polls in the aftermath of the crackdown.
Amnesty International is calling on Pakistani authorities to adopt a rights-respecting approach and urgently lift all blanket restrictions on access to the internet.
Livia Saccardi, Interim South Asia Deputy Director, Amnesty International
“Despite reassurances to the contrary from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and the Election Commission of Pakistan, the unwarranted restrictions on the dissemination of information violate the human rights of the people at this critical time in Pakistan.
“A total shutdown will impact people’s movement, livelihoods and ability to survive difficult times, further undermining trust in the authorities. Amnesty International urges the Pakistani authorities to adopt a rights-respecting approach and ensure that people We call for the urgent lifting of all blanket restrictions on access to the internet so that voters can access timely information and report on election-related matters throughout the voting process.”
On February 6, Amnesty International and other members of the #KeepItOn coalition, a global network of more than 300 organizations in 105 countries working to end internet shutdowns, announced that interim Prime Minister Anwar ul-Haq A letter has been sent to Mr. Kakar and Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan. The Rajya Sabha will ensure free access to the internet, social media platforms and all other communication channels during Pakistan’s general election period.
Pakistani authorities have already imposed multiple shutdowns during this election period, violating the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, including of opposition leaders and political parties.