Imran Khan Arrest: Pakistan Restricts Twitter, Facebook, YouTube Access; Suspends Internet | World News
Islamabad: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on Tuesday suspended mobile broadband services across the nation after former Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s arrest, reported Dawn. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority confirmed that it had suspended mobile broadband across the country on the interior ministry’s instructions. Netblocks, an organisation that tracks internet outages, said access to Twitter, Facebook and Youtube was restricted across Pakistan amid PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest earlier today from the Islamabad High Court’s premises in the Al-Qadir Trust case.
“Total internet shutdowns have been observed in some regions,” Netblocks said in a report. “Real-time network data show the disruption in effect on some but not all mobile and fixed-line internet providers in Pakistan at the time of writing. The study is taken from an initial sample size of 60 measurements from 30 vantage points across Pakistan,” it added.
The report recommended that the disruption could be worked around using a virtual private network which could circumvent “government internet censorship measures”. “Metrics are consistent with an intentional disruption to service applied centrally at Pakistan’s national internet backbone.
“NetBlocks recommends against the use of network disruptions and social media restrictions to limit political speech, given their disproportionate impact to fundamental rights including freedom of expression and freedom assembly,” the organisation said.
Following the arrest of Imran Khan today, a series of protest across Pakistan including Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Karachi, Quetta, Mardan, Bannu, and Chilas has been unleashed by the PTI cadres. PTI activists resorted to stone pelting on houses, offices and vehicles, burning of banners and tyres and blocking roads were reported.
In Faisalabad, a mob pelted stones on Rana Sanaullah’s house. Prominent journalist Talat Hussain informed those PTI protestors are at GHQ in Rawalpindi and the residence of Corps Commander Lahore. “They can be seen vandalising CC residence,” he added.
Talat cautioned, “After the attacks on GHQ and Corps Commander’s Lahore house, anything can happen now. The first target is to deal with the rioters, perpetrators and those who spread them. Time is short and conditions are very bad.”
Protesters in Pakistan have entered compounds of army commanders in Lahore and Rawalpindi according to multiple Pakistan media reports after Imran Khan’s arrest.
Pakistan media reports scenes of absolute chaos at Pakistan Army GHQ. Imran Khan supporters entered the Peshawar cantonment while chanting slogans against the army.
“First reaction against Imran Khan’s arrest is a big procession moving towards Army Headquarters where there is a big chance of violence and killings. Khan was grossly manhandled and almost half-conscious when pushed into a police /Army van. His lawyers were also beaten,” tweeted Shaheen Sebai, an independent journalist.
There are reports of PTI supporters breaking into the residence of a military officer in the cantonment area of Lahore. People are storming the army GHQ in Rawalpindi – the absolute seat of power. Journalist Murtaza Ali Shah shared this information in a tweet, saying, “PTI supporters break into military officer’s house in Lahore Cantt”.
He also shared a video showing a group of men, some of them with their faces partly covered, entering a gated premise with sticks. They were later seen using sticks to hit walls.
Men in uniform could also be seen on the premise. Protestors storm of Lahore Corps Commanders’ Flag Staff House which was once the house of Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
PTI workers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa gathered on the streets of Lakki Marwat district under the leadership of provincial party president Dr Muhammad Iqbal against the arrest of Imran. The PTI supporters resorted to burning tyres and closed down the Indus Highway.
Meanwhile, shutters of shops were closed down by PTI supporters in Peshawar. Also, section 144 was enforced across Punjab and Islamabad after Imran Khan’s arrest.
PTI protesters also gathered near the Askari Check Post outside the cantonment area in Quetta, reported Dawn.
In Lahore, PTI supporters led by Senator Ejaz Chaudhry gathered at the Liberty Chowk. Dawn.com’s correspondent at the scene said party workers had also closed down Akbar Chowk, Peco Road, Main Canal Road and Faisal Town.
The demonstrators burnt tyres and chanted slogans against the coalition government. Outside Imran’s Zaman Park residence, PTI supporters also tore down government banners.
In Karachi, both lanes of the Sharea Faisal were blocked after PTI MNAs and MPAs blocked the roads. Demonstrations were also reported in Peshawar’s Hashtnagri.
protests were also reported at the main University Road, near the Old Sabzi Mandi, Banaras Chowk and Al-Asif Square, reported Dawn.
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