Sources within the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) confirmed on Monday that the government has started restoring access to social media platforms, including Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, across the country.
The regulatory authority had suspended mobile broadband and limited access to these platforms following violent protests that erupted when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was arrested by Rangers personnel on May 9.
The suspension, recommended by the interior ministry, marked the longest continuous shutdown of internet services in a country that frequently employs such measures to quell unrest. The telecom operators reportedly incurred an estimated revenue loss of approximately Rs820 million during the suspension, impacting the sector significantly as the economy remains fragile.
In addition to the internet suspension, the government blocked major social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, while YouTube services were slowed down to control the spread of misinformation and prevent panic among the population due to the dissemination of “unwanted information.”
Amnesty International called on Pakistani authorities to lift the restrictions on internet services on May 12. Rimmel Mohydin, the South Asian campaigner at Amnesty International, emphasized the urgent need to de-escalate the situation in Pakistan, citing the risk of severe human rights violations and further fatalities.
Mohydin urged officials to exercise restraint and avoid excessive use of force, stressing that the authorities should aim to defuse the situation without resorting to firearms to disperse protesters. She expressed alarm over the government’s indefinite mobile internet shutdown, stating that it violates people’s right to access information and free expression. Mohydin also highlighted that the ban on social media platforms creates an environment conducive to other human rights violations under the cover of the internet shutdown, emphasizing the immediate need to lift the restrictions.