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SC Allows Govt To Block Cellular Services Under ‘Specific Circumstances’

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The Supreme Court has allowed the government to suspend cellular services under ‘special circumstances’.

During a hearing of a case that pertained to the Ministry of Information Technology and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) petitions against mobile phone companies, the top court told the PTA and the ministry to formulate relevant SOPs and procedures for such situations in future.

In April, the SC had nullified a 2018 order by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) which barred the government from suspending mobile phone services for security reasons.

The court had said that the directives were inconsistent with the provisions of section 54(3) of the PTA Act 1996.

“The federal government or the authority are, therefore, not vested with the power and jurisdiction to suspend or cause the suspension of mobile cellular services or operations on the ground of national security except as provided under section 54(3),” the order had read.

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Naya Daur