National News

Not a solution’: IT minister on social media

Not a solution: IT minister on a social media blackout, internet shutdown

Information Technology Minister Syed Amin Ul Haque speaks at an event in Islamabad on February 22, 2023. — APP

Information Technology Minister Syed Amin Ul Haque Tuesday regretted the social media blackout and internet shutdown in the country, saying this is “not a solution” to problems while commenting on the government’s decision to curb mobile data services amid recent violent protests across the country.

“Internet should not be shut down in any case. I will try my best that internet service is not shut in the near future,” he said, during an interview with Geo Pakistan

The minister added that internet services were suspended without taking the IT ministry in confidence, as Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is an independent institution. “Since 2017, the PTA is no longer under the Ministry of Information Technology,” he highlighted.

Haque also spoke about the gradual restoration of mobile internet from Friday and informed about his discussion with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the matter.

The government decided to shut down the internet and restricted access to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for an indefinite period to prevent incitement to violence after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was arrested last week from the Islamabad High Court on May 9.

Haque proposed to shut down the internet in certain areas, as social media, he added, was misused and martyrs’ memorials were desecrated.

He stated that using Virtual Private Network (VPN) is not the solution insisting on the government be broadminded.

The government, a day earlier, finally restored access to social media platforms — Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook — across the country after almost a seven-day suspension.

The IT minister said billions have been lost due to internet services being affected. “IT ministry is against any restriction that hinders progress,

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