Interior Ministry told IHC that only provincial govts can restore internet services

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ISLAMABAD: Only the provincial governments can restore internet services in any area, the Ministry of Interior told the Islamabad High Court on Monday.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah resumed hearing a petition filed by a student, Syed Muhammad. The petitioner said that thousands of students are not being able to take online classes because there are no 3G or 4G services in the former tribal areas. Many students are missing out on their education because of this, the petition added.
The interior ministry submitted its written reply in the case and said that the provincial government was supposed to restore the internet services.
The court summoned advice on its jurisdiction on hearing the case as the case pertains to the KP government. This court cannot issues instructions to any province, said Justice Minallah. The court said that it will have to read a judgment of the Supreme Court to decide on this matter.
The petitioner’s lawyer said that the internet services have been suspended in the tribal areas since 2016. Deputy Attorney General Tayyab Shah said that the restriction has, however, been lifted in Bajaur.
The case has been adjourned indefinitely.
The court has summoned a reply from the interior secretary and the PTA chairperson by May 28. The interior secretary has also been instructed to appear in court at the next hearing.
Notices were issued after the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication submitted its reply. The interior ministry had placed the ban in 2016, said the information ministry in its reply.
You can’t shut the internet service during a lockdown or any operation said the chief justice. No law says that internet services can be suspended in any area, he said, adding that the Pakistan Army made many sacrifices to restore peace in the tribal areas.
“We can’t just close the internet there,” Justice Minallah added. If something like this happens in Islamabad, will the internet services be suspended here too, he asked.

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