In order to counter any “possible threats,” Pakistan has temporarily shut down internet and mobile phone networks nationwide as the South Asian country votes for national elections.
Pakistan’s interior ministry stated in a statement that the action was taken in response to recent terrorist attacks in the nation. Local journalists reported on X early on Thursday that internet access was possible via wired broadband connections; however, later on, NetBlocks, an independent outage tracking service, reported that Pakistan had also begun to block internet services.
All around the country, polls are already open and will close at 5PM The date on which the interior ministry would switch mobile services was not specified.
While it is not commonplace for a country to turn off its internet and mobile networks on important days—governments in neighboring India, Ethiopia, and Uganda have all taken such actions in the past—a statewide ban is nevertheless very unusual.
In the past, proponents of free speech have chastised governments for what they perceive to be an excessive reliance on mobile network outages, contending that communication and information access need to be preserved even more during political elections.