Pakistan internet disrupted as opposition launches poll campaign

ISLAMABAD: Internet and social media services across Pakistan were severely disrupted Sunday night as the party of jailed former PM Imran Khan prepared to launch a massive online campaign ahead of elections next month. Khan and most senior leaders of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) have been rejected as candidates for the February 8 vote in what they say is a campaign by the military-led establishment to thwart their participation.
PTI planned a massive national and global telethon Sunday evening to launch its manifesto and raise campaign funds, but internet disruptions started from early evening.”The incident is consistent with previous social media filtering events which have all been imposed during opposition party rallies or speeches by opposition leader Imran Khan,” said Netblocks, a watchdog organisation that monitors cybersecurity.
Netblocks director Alp Toker said the disruptions were affecting network providers across the country. “Such nation-scale social media targeting political activities is almost unprecedented at this scale – Venezuela is one other country that has used similar measures to limit opposition speeches and rallies,” he said.
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