The Interior Minister of Pakistan, Rana Sanaullah has warned that the government would block the internet if the situation in the country did not improve. The warning was given after the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) blocked mobile broadband services, following protests that broke out in the country following the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman, Imran Khan. The PTI supporters were protesting against the arrest of their leader, and their actions turned violent, resulting in the deaths of nine people, as well as damage to military and government buildings in Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Peshawar.
On Thursday, Sanaullah had indicated that mobile internet services would be restored within 36 hours, but on Friday, he said that the authorities were keeping a close eye on troublemakers, as they plan their activities on the internet.
He added that the miscreants who had set fire to people’s houses may take some time to be arrested, and therefore the government may have to consider extending the internet ban temporarily. The minister also hinted at the arrest of Imran Khan after May 17, when his bail expires on cases registered against him for violent protests that broke out after his arrest on May 9.
He expressed his displeasure over PTI’s behavior in the last few days, and added that while the courts can facilitate them, they will have to face action for their anti-state and terror activities, as per the law of the land. Sanaullah also commented on the Supreme Court’s verdict to release Imran Khan and terming his arrest illegal, stating that the facilitation being provided to this “ladla (blue-eyed boy)” should then be applied to everyone.
With the chaos in the country continuing, Sanaullah will seek guidance from the Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, in addressing the situation.