Pakistan

‘Working' with Pakistani authorities to understand concerns: social media platform X

US-based company issues first statement since platform was suspended in Pakistan mid-February

Web Desk
April 18, 2024
X logo displayed on a laptop screen and X logo displayed on a phone screen. — AFP/File
X logo displayed on a laptop screen and X logo displayed on a phone screen. — AFP/File

For the first time since the services of X, formerly Twitter, were suspended in Pakistan, the social media site has issued a statement on the matter, stating that it continues to work with the relevant authorities regarding their concerns.

"We continue to work with the Pakistani Government to understand their concerns," read the statement, posted by X's Global Government Affairs team on their official handle.

The social media website, which was bought by American tech billionaire Elon Musk in April 2022, remains suspended in the country since February 17.

The suspension of the website occurred over a week after the general elections in Pakistan on February 8 that triggered debate on the fairness and transparency of the polls. Users reported problems accessing the site, but no official comment was issued by the government of Pakistan on the matter.

However, the interior minister, in its report submitted to the Islamabad High Court in a separate case related to the suspension, maintained that it shut the website following national security concerns in the wake of which the social media platform has issued its statement.

The ministry, in its report to IHC, stated that the "content uploaded on the internet" is a "threat" to the country's national security.

The decision to impose a ban on Twitter/X in Pakistan was made in the interest of upholding national security, maintaining public order, and preserving the integrity of our nation, it added.

"It is very pertinent to mention here that the failure of Twitter/X to adhere to the lawful directives of the government of Pakistan and address concerns regarding the misuse of its platform necessitated the imposition of a ban," the ministry said in the report.

It added that X is not registered in Pakistan and is not a party to the agreement to abide by Pakistani laws.

The non-cooperation of X authorities justified regulatory measures against X, including temporary closure, as the government had no other option, said the Interior Ministry.

The Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) cybercrime wing requested X to ban accounts propagating against the chief justice, but X officials ignored the request and did not even respond, the report stated.

Social media platforms, it added, are being used indiscriminately for spreading extremist ideas and false information, and X was being used as a tool by some evil elements to damage law and order and promote instability.

The ministry said that the ban on X is aimed at the responsible use of social media platforms in accordance with the law.

It is the protector of the citizens of Pakistan and responsible for national stability, it added. Earlier, the social media platform TikTok was also banned by the government, but the ban was lifted after TikTok signed an agreement to abide by the Pakistani law.

Due to security reasons, social media platforms are banned by various countries around the world, mentioned the report.

On the request of intelligence agencies, the Interior Ministry issued orders for the closure of X on February 17, 2024.

The application against the closure of X is against the law and facts, is not admissible, and should be dismissed, it argued, citing the plea filed in the court challenging the suspension.

However, the Sindh High Court (SHC) a day earlier directed the Ministry of Interior to revoke its letter regarding the suspension of social media platform within one week.


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