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Internet outage as PTI hosts another ‘online event’

  • PTA says ‘technical’ glitch behind disruption in services • Imran warns unfair polls to aggravate instability, demands level playing fie...


• PTA says ‘technical’ glitch behind disruption in services

• Imran warns unfair polls to aggravate instability, demands level playing field

ISLAMABAD: As another disruption marred PTI’s virtual event on Saturday, former prime minister Imran Khan sought a level playing field for the former ruling party in the run-up to general elections, saying a lack of transparency in polls would foment more “instability”.

The internet services were interrupted at about 7pm, an hour before the ‘virtual power show’ of the PTI broadcast on social media websites, particularly YouTube.

Netblocks, a global internet monitor, tweeted that live metrics show “a nation-scale disruption to social media platforms across Pak­is­tan, including X/Twitter, Fac­e­book, Instagram and YouTube”. “The incident comes as persecuted opposition leader Imran Khan’s political party, PTI, laun­ches its second virtual gathering,” it said on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter).

In light of these blackouts, some internet service providers (ISPs) informed their customers through text messages that they might experience internet issues due to a “degradation” in their network.

“Our teams are already working for the earliest resolution. Inconvenience is regretted,” a message by an Islamabad-based ISP added.

The PTI, however, linked these disruptions to its online event. Its spokesman Raoof Hassan said, “Shame on the caretakers that are causing damage to Pakistanis only, and this was the proof of what they intend to do on February 8, but the people are aware of all such moves.”

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, on the other hand, said the internet was disrupted due to a “technical fault”. The telecom regulator tweeted at 10pm that the fault had been rectified and the internet services had been fully restored nationwide.

‘Unfair polls to aggravate instability’

Speaking to reporters at Adiala Jail after the hearing of the Toshakhana case, the PTI founder warned that if fair polls were not conducted then it would lead to further “instability and uncertainty”. He pointed out that the PTI candidates “are being harassed and detained” by the authorities to stop them from contesting elections.

In a comment on the crackdown on the former ruling party, the ex-PM said the establishment could not “dismantle the party since it has roots in the masses”. He also warned ‘turncoats’ that their politics would end if they parted ways with the PTI. Mr Khan claimed that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) deliberately delayed the matter related to the PTI’s intra-party elections to take “a stern and sudden action” to deprive the political party of its electoral symbol. In a reference to attempts by the presidency to bring down the political temperature, Mr Khan said that President Dr Arif Alvi had made efforts to mediate but to no avail.

Speaking about his rival Nawaz Sharif, the PTI founder said that the country would suffer “irreparable loss” if attempts were made to impose an ‘absconder’ on the country. Mr Khan quipped that Nawaz Sharif cancelled his Layyah rally because his party did not have the strength to organise a power show. He claimed that the PTI would hold the ‘biggest ever’ gathering even if he was released from jail only a couple of days before the elections.

Cases in courts

The former premier also talked about his cases in courts, and said despite the disposal of his plea by the Lahore High Court regarding the rejection of nomination papers, the order in this regard was not released.

Similarly, his plea against disqualification was also not being heard, he said, adding that Nawaz Sharif, on the other hand, had been given a clean chit by the courts and allowed to contest elections. He further said that another petition filed by him against violations of human rights was also pending before the Supreme Court for a long time.

The former PM claimed that there was no rule of law in the country but still, he would not take the law into his own hands, as he was a politician and would “play till the last ball”.

Imran Khan alleged that a small jewellery shop of an Indian owner was assigned the evaluation of the Toshakhana gifts and the higher price was quoted to please the ‘higher authorities’.

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