Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

The disruption of social media platform X continued for a third consecutive day in Pakistan on Tuesday following a general election marked by accusations of rigging. The platform went offline on Saturday night after a senior government official publicly admitted to vote manipulation in the February 8 polls. Digital rights activist Usama Khilji stated, “X has been inaccessible in Pakistan (since Saturday) because it is used by the public to protest.”

As of Tuesday, reports from AFP staff indicated that the app remained disrupted in key cities, including Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. Despite requests for comment, Pakistan’s telecommunications and interior ministries did not respond.

Jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party called for nationwide protests following the admission of vote rigging, with a small number of supporters taking to the streets. Despite facing restrictions and a crackdown on campaigning, PTI-backed candidates secured more seats than any other party but has refrained from forming a coalition, allowing the PML-N party to potentially lead the next government.

On polling day, mobile internet services were cut across Pakistan, citing security reasons, leading to allegations of rigging due to the blackout and delayed results. PTI also experienced online censorship in the lead-up to the election, with social media shutdowns in January and the blocking of its main website, which was later replaced by a seemingly identical site containing disinformation.

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