Pakistan Mobile Internet Is Cut Off On Election Day

The Pakistani government has shut down mobile calls and data services as millions of people go to the polls to vote for a new government.

An Interior Ministry spokesman announced just before polling centres opened that the disruption in phone services was meant to “mitigate potential security threats” and “maintain law and order.” He did not discuss the Internet outages.

The shutdown comes after there were two separate bomb blasts outside campaign offices in south western Baluchistan province on Wednesday 7th February killed 30 people, and the Islamic State militant group said they did the bombings. The election is taking place almost two years since the previous prime minister, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, was removed from off following a a no-confidence vote and he has been subsequenlty been given a lengthy jail sentence on corruption charges.

Current Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif is now on the ballot for a possible fourth term in what some analysts say is Pakistan's least credible election.  

Both calls and data services have been suspended, though Wifi networks still appear to be working. An Interior Ministry spokesman said: "As a result of the recent incidents of terrorism in the country, precious lives have been lost. Security measures are essential to maintain law and order situation and to deal with potential threats."

The shutdown was criticised by Bilawal Bhutto Zadari, son of murdered ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who called for services to be restored. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, a prime ministerial candidate, slammed the suspension of mobile phone services. “Mobile phone services must be restored immediately across the country have asked my party to approach both ECP and the courts for this purpose,” Zardari posted on Twitter X. Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) had approached the election commission and the courts to get services restored.

The country is on high alert, with a heavy security presence at polling stations across the country. Border crossings with Afghanistan and Iran have been closed for both cargo and pedestrians to "ensure full security" during polling, a spokesman from Pakistan's foreign ministry said. 

Pakistan has cut Internet services in the past to control the flow of information, though a shutdown of this extent is unprecedented, especially during an election. Pakistan also temporarily shut some of its land borders with Iran and Afghanistan to enhance security amid a surge in violence.

Forced national Internet shutdowns are a hallmark of authoritarian regimes and has been used in Iran and Belarus as a means of intimidation and information control during elections in 2019 and 2020.

Numerous international observers are in Pakistan to monitor the crucial polls -  some analysts are suggesting there may be no clear winner in the election, and the powerful military generals could play a role.

BBC:     VOA:      AA:    Al Jazeera:     Telegraph:   Democracy Now:   Arab News

Image: sheikh fezi

You Might Also Read: 

British Voters Wide Open To Attack:

___________________________________________________________________________________________

If you like this website and use the comprehensive 6,500-plus service supplier Directory, you can get unrestricted access, including the exclusive in-depth Directors Report series, by signing up for a Premium Subscription.

  • Individual £5 per month or £50 per year. Sign Up
  • Multi-User, Corporate & Library Accounts Available on Request

Cyber Security Intelligence: Captured Organised & Accessible


 

« Chinese Hacking Campaign Targets US Critical Infrastructure
Static Application Security Testing: Trends & Predictions For 2024 »

CyberSecurity Jobsite
Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

DigitalStakeout

DigitalStakeout

DigitalStakeout enables cyber security professionals to reduce cyber risk to their organization with proactive security solutions, providing immediate improvement in security posture and ROI.

BackupVault

BackupVault

BackupVault is a leading provider of automatic cloud backup and critical data protection against ransomware, insider attacks and hackers for businesses and organisations worldwide.

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: How to build and implement an effective endpoint detection and response strategy

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: How to build and implement an effective endpoint detection and response strategy

Discover how you can implement endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools into your security strategy.

Cyber Security Supplier Directory

Cyber Security Supplier Directory

Our Supplier Directory lists 6,000+ specialist cyber security service providers in 128 countries worldwide. IS YOUR ORGANISATION LISTED?

NordLayer

NordLayer

NordLayer is an adaptive network access security solution for modern businesses — from the world’s most trusted cybersecurity brand, Nord Security. 

Biscom

Biscom

Biscom offers solutions for secure file transfer, synchronization, file translation, and mobile devices, designed to deliver mission-critical reliability, streamline workflows and reduce costs.

Northbridge Insurance

Northbridge Insurance

Northbridge is a leading Canadian business insurance provider. Services offered include Cyber Risk insurance.

Allegro Software

Allegro Software

Allegro provide secure software for the Internet of Things.

BlueID

BlueID

BlueID is an IDaaS technology product which enables your objects to securely connect and interact with your users’ smart phones and smart watches.

Sysorex Government Services

Sysorex Government Services

Sysorex Government Services helps customers meet their strategic missions by providing secure, optimized IT solutions that allow them to perform more efficiently and effectively.

Prescient

Prescient

Prescient’s Cyber solutions supplement your firm’s existing data security infrastructure with specialized investigations that identify unconventional cyber risks.

TeskaLabs

TeskaLabs

TeskaLabs is a software vendor of cybersecurity and data privacy products.

CybExer Technologies

CybExer Technologies

CybExer provide an on-premise, easily deployable solution for complex technical cyber security exercises based on experience in military grade ranges.

White & Black

White & Black

White & Black are specialist corporate & technology lawyers based in London & Oxford.

Findcourses.co.uk

Findcourses.co.uk

Findcourses is a dedicated education search engine designed to make it easy for our learners to search and find exactly what they need from our community of trusted training providers.

Whistic

Whistic

Whistic is a cloud-based platform that uses a unique approach to address the challenges of third-party risk management.

Network Utilities (NetUtils)

Network Utilities (NetUtils)

Network Utilities provide identity centric network and security solutions to organisations from Telecoms and ISPs to SMEs and large corporates.

MailChannels

MailChannels

MailChannels protects companies against malicious email threats. Used by 750+ hosting providers around the world.

Pillar Technology Partners

Pillar Technology Partners

Pillar Technology Partners is an Information Security Company with a focus on improving Cyber Risk and optimizing the processes and technology that underpin the security of your information assets.

Indian Cyber Security Solutions (ICSS)

Indian Cyber Security Solutions (ICSS)

Indian Cyber Security Solutions is an Enterprise Cyber Security Platforms company offering Cyber Security & Technical Education and Compliance & Penetration Testing Services.

Lasso Security

Lasso Security

Lasso Security is a pioneer cybersecurity company ensuring comprehensive protection for businesses leveraging generative AI and other large language model technologies.