Pakistan’s Social Media Crackdown: High Court Challenges ‘X’ Suspension Amid National Security Debate

X officially banned in Pakistan

Islamabad: In a significant development from Islamabad, the social media platform ‘X’, owned by entrepreneur Elon Musk, has been officially banned by Pakistan, with the suspension confirmed by the country’s Interior Ministry. The ban, initially enforced in February, was attributed to concerns over national security.

The Sindh High Court (SHC), expressing its dissatisfaction with the ongoing suspension, has issued a directive to the Home Ministry to revoke the suspension within a week. This order came after Chief Justice Akil Ahmed Abbasi of the SHC questioned the Home Ministry’s rationale behind the suspension during the hearing of multiple petitions challenging the ban.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had previously informed the court that the decision to suspend ‘X’ was taken following directives from the Home Ministry and intelligence agencies, citing national security threats. This stance was reiterated in a separate case before the Islamabad High Court, where the Home Ministry stated that internet content, presumably shared via ‘X’, posed a threat to the nation’s security.

Petitioners against the suspension argued that the use of ‘X’ and similar platforms does not lead to violent outcomes, implying that the suspension lacks a solid foundation. The Chief Justice echoed this sentiment, suggesting that the suspension of ‘X’ appeared unjustified and warned that if the Home Ministry did not rescind its February 17 directive, the court would be compelled to pass its ruling.

X officially banned in Pakistan

The hearing has been adjourned until May 9, with the court awaiting the Home Ministry’s explanation for the suspension of ‘X’. This case highlights the ongoing tension between national security concerns and digital freedoms in Pakistan.