Internet Suspended At Asma Jehangir Conference To Censor Nawaz Sharif's Speech

Internet Suspended At Asma Jehangir Conference To Censor Nawaz Sharif's Speech
Internet services were suspended on Sunday evening at the third Asma Jehangir conference, held at Avari Hotel Lahore, when former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif greeted the audience before beginning his speech.

The speech was being broadcast live from London, where the former premier is currently present. The organisers of the conference confirmed that both broadband and cellular internet services at the venue were cut off as Sharif began his address.

The organisers in a statement said, "We regret to inform you that our internet cables have been disabled and so we cannot transmit the live speech of Nawaz Sharif. This itself is an attack on freedom of speech and shows the state of freedom of expression in the country”.

The statement went on to add, “The organisers of the Asma Jahangir Conference (AJCONF21) regret the state’s highhandedness…The organisers of the AJCONF21 including the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), and the AGHS (Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell), have strongly condemned this act and consider it an onslaught on the freedom of expression”.

After the video was cut off, Sharif address continued in the form of audio via telephone. In his address, the former premier regretted the censuring of free speech and abuse of human rights under the current regime. He talked about judges being forced to make decisions, a possible reference to the recent allegations of meddling in the judicial process against the former chief justice Saqib Nisar, and legislation being forced through parliament, referring to the 33 bills passed in haste through parliament last week.