ISLAMABAD: The Pakis­tan Telecommunication Au­­thority (PTA) on Wednesday took up the blocking of official accounts of Pakistani missions by India with Twitter management and demanded their restoration.

Also, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned India for blocking the accounts of Pakistani missions within its boundaries.

The PTA termed it a “biased suppression of information” and called on the management of Twitter to reconsider their decision and restore official Pakistani accounts for viewing in India.

While talking to Dawn, a senior PTA official said Twitter had been asked to provide details related to the blocking of the official accounts within India territory. “The interaction with Twitter was based on basic rights related to flow of information,” the official said, adding, “We need to know the justifications for the blocking — at least tell us the violations committed by these accounts so that we may not repeat those mistakes.”

Sources in the government said India utilised the emergency clauses in their social media rules to block the official Twitter accou­nts of Pakistani high commissions. Pakistan had earlier asked the Twitter management about standards of the platform in different countries, the sources added.

The Foreign Office, meanwhile, posted a tweet expressing concern that diversified thoughts were being discouraged systematically in India. The FO tweeted that diminishing space for plurality of voices and access to information in India was extremely alarming.

It mentioned that social media platforms must abide by applicable international norms. “We are urging @Twitter to restore immediate access to our accounts and ensure adherence to democratic freedoms of speech and expression,” the FO wrote.

The FO said: “Deeply concerning that #India has blocked flow of information to Indian @Twitter by withholding access to following official accounts @PakinIran, @PakinTurkey, @PakinEgypt, @PakistanUN_NY, these are in addition to many others for which access has been blocked.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2022

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