Updated April 20th, 2024 at 21:29 IST

Ahead of April 21 Bypolls, Pakistan's Punjab Govt Seeks Suspension of Mobile Internet Services

The Punjab province government said that it had sought the suspension to prevent any 'untoward' incidents on polling day.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Pakistan Punjab Province government under Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz has called for the suspension of mobile internet services in the area ahead of bypolls on Sunday. | Image:AP
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Lahore: With Pakistan Punjab province set to see crucial bypolls on Sunday for nearly two dozen national and provincial assembly constituencies, the provincial government is calling on Islamabad to suspend mobile internet service in the area for polling day. Local media outlet Geo News said that this request has been made to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the province. 

Specifically, Punjab province's home department sought the suspension of mobile internet services for Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Sadiqabad, Kot Chutta, and Dera Ghazi Khan districts. Meanwhile, the tehsils where suspension is requested include Talagang, Chakwal, Kallar Kahar, Gujarat, Ali Pur Chatha, Zafarwal and Bhakkar, the Geo News report said.

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A copy of this letter has been sent to the Interior Ministry, the Punjab chief secretary, inspector general, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority chairman as well as other relevant officials.

Mobile internet services were suspended during the day of general elections on February 8 as well despite assurances by the government of undisrupted network connectivity during polls.

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The services were suspended on polling day even before the start of voting time at 8 am.

Social media platform X has also been suspended in Pakistan since February 17 when former Rawalpindi commissioner Liaquat Chattha accused the chief election commissioner and the chief justice of being involved in rigging the February 8 general elections.

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After the February 8 elections, this is the first major by-election that will be held on 22 National Assembly and provincial assembly seats.

These include five NA seats; 12 Punjab Assembly, two each in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan assemblies, and one in Sindh, Geo News reported.

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In Punjab, NA-132 (Kasur) and NA-119 (Lahore) vacated by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz will go to polls.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also gave up two of his provincial assembly seats in Lahore, PP-158 and PP-164, retaining his NA-123 seat in the National Assembly.

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In Sindh, NA-196 (Qamber Shadadkot) will also see a by-poll after Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari vacated the seat.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the NA-44 (Dera Ismail Khan) seat was left vacant after provincial Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur retained his provincial assembly seat, PK-113, while by-polls will also be conducted in the NA-8 (Bajaur) constituency, which was left vacant after one of its candidates — Rehan Zeb Khan — was murdered ahead of the February 8 general elections, according to the report.

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With inputs from PTI. 

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Published April 20th, 2024 at 21:29 IST