Chairman Senate directs PTA to restore internet services in Balochistan

ISLAMABAD: Taking notice of the suspension of internet services in Balochistan for the upcoming general elections, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani has directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to immediately restore the internet services in Balochistan which the authority had blocked sighting security reasons.
Chairman Senate took notice of the suspension of internet services in Balochistan till July 31 and directed PTA to immediately restore the internet across Balochistan. He also directed the authority to submit a report in this regard.
Earlier, internet services have been suspended in six districts of Balochistan due to upcoming General Election 2018, which have been scheduled for July 25.
According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the internet services in Pishin, Killa Abdulla, and Mastung will remain suspended till July 31, adding that services in Awaran, Keech and Kalat have been suspended since February 2017. The internet has been disabled on the instructions of the Minister of Interior Affairs.
PTA had suspended mobile internet services in several districts of Balochistan on the directives of the interior ministry, thus casting doubts on the effectiveness of the Result Transmission System (RTS) during the upcoming general elections.
The RTS is an internet-based application introduced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to transmit polling results from constituencies to the commission.
PTA also notified ECP asking it to take “necessary action” in wake of the suspension of internet services.
“The blocking of data services will render the RTS and Vote Verification SMS Service (8300), developed by the ECP/ National Database and Registration Authority, ineffective in these districts,” it read.
For the first time in Pakistan, Nadra introduced an Android application which enables election officers to send the results to the ECP in real time.
With the help of RTS, all Presiding Officers (PO) will be able to transmit Form 45 (containing tabulated results of the polling station) via their phone to the ECP on election day.
The app also automatically uses GPS to record the result’s location and the time of the upload. The system will be used to announce constituency results as they are collated.

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