Cellular Services, Internet Face 'Temporary Disruption' Across Pakistan, Trouble Voters

Interior Ministry says services were disrupted in the wake of terror incidents and in a bid to maintain law and order

Cellular Services, Internet Face 'Temporary Disruption' Across Pakistan, Trouble Voters

The government on Thursday 'temporarily disrupted' cellular and internet services across the country citing security concerns.

However, the public complained that the disruption was hampering their efforts to exercise their right to franchise because they could not access critical services required to cast their vote.

On Thursday, the federal interior ministry said that cellular and internet services have been temporarily suspended in parts of the country to help curb terror incidents and other untoward incidents.

They cited the two explosions in Balochistan on Wednesday that left at least 26 people dead. One explosion was reported outside the election office of a candidate, and the other outside a polling station.

However, disruptions were reported from Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Multan, Rawalpindi, Quetta, and Peshawar, among other areas.

The disruption was also confirmed by global internet and connectivity monitoring firm Netblocks which said that real-time data showed internet blocks were in-effect in multiple regions of the country.



Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja has clarified that the Election Commission of Pakistan has not issued any instructions to the government concerning the closure of phone and internet services. No instruction has also been issued to restore them.

He added that irrespective of the status of mobile or internet services, ECP's proprietary Election Management Services will continue to operate normally since it relies on a private intranet.


ECP officials said that due to security issues, results from some sensitive areas could be delayed, but there is no provision for tampering in results.

They said that after the presiding officer finalises Form-45, they will paste the results form outside the polling station and use the EMS to post a picture of the results sheet, which will provide the time and location of the image to the ECP to ensure authenticity.

If internet services are not available to the presiding officer of a polling station or are unable to connect, they will have to personally deliver the final Form-45 to the returning officer.

A day ago, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chief had declared that mobile and internet services would not be suspended in the country, adding that they had received no such instructions.