US Urges Pakistan to End Internet Shutdowns and Social Media Restrictions
US Urges Pakistan to End Internet Shutdowns and Social Media Restrictions

US Urges Pakistan to End Internet Shutdowns and Social Media Restrictions - The United States has strongly criticized Pakistan for its recent internet shutdowns and limitations on social media platforms. They have called upon the Pakistani government to immediately lift these restrictions.

The internet blackout and the blocking of social media apps such as X (formerly Twitter) began last Saturday following a public acknowledgment by a senior Pakistani official about electoral fraud in the February 8 election.

Matthew Miller, a spokesperson for the US State Department, expressed concern over the situation, stating that the US is troubled by reports of limitations on freedom of expression and association in Pakistan. He emphasized the importance of respecting these fundamental freedoms and urged Pakistan to restore access to all restricted social media platforms, including Twitter.

The US government has formally conveyed its concerns to Pakistan through diplomatic channels. Miller reiterated that during engagements with Pakistani officials, the US consistently stresses the significance of upholding freedom of expression.

Netblocks, a global internet monitoring organization, has reported ongoing restrictions in Pakistan related to election fraud discussions. According to Netblocks, Twitter remains largely inaccessible in Pakistan even after four days of the initial shutdown.

Pakistanis cast their votes earlier this month, but allegations of vote rigging surfaced due to delayed election results and a mobile internet shutdown on polling day. The United States, along with Britain and the European Union, has expressed worries about the electoral process in Pakistan following these events.

While the US has called for an investigation into the fraud allegations, it has refrained from commenting on the formation of the coalition government, stating that such decisions are internal matters for Pakistan.

Relations between the United States and Pakistan have experienced strains over the years, stemming from various geopolitical issues, including allegations of Pakistani support for militant groups. Despite their past alliance during the Cold War and cooperation in Afghanistan, tensions have escalated, particularly with the US strengthening ties with India, Pakistan's regional rival.

The two major political parties in Pakistan, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), along with smaller parties, announced a coalition to govern the country, making significant developments in its political landscape.

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