For Immediate Release

Karachi: We express strong reservations against the Balochistan Government’s blockade of cellphone services in  the province, on Independence Day. Access to communication is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan and the State has the responsibility to protect and uphold citizens’ rights across Pakistan. Last year too, authorities had shut down communication services in most parts of Baluchistan, citing security reasons, violating fundamental rights.

The State has the responsibility to maintain law and order but that shouldn’t come at the cost of citizens’ rights. To cut off communication services citing miscreants as an excuse not only violates the rights of citizens’, but is an unjust and discriminatory practice. On the day we celebrate our Independence, it is ironic that residents of Baluchistan face hardships due to a communication blackout.

With the prevailing law and order situation in Baluchistan, such steps by the State will only fuel resentment and further isolate the citizens of Baluchistan from the rest of the country. The State should refrain from such unnecessary and discriminatory practices and ensure that the right of access to communications and mobility is a right all citizens enjoy, equally.

 

 Contact: Farieha Aziz

farieha@bolobhi.org

Bolo Bhi means ‘Speak up’, in Urdu. We are a not-for-profit geared towards advocacy, policy and research in the areas of gender rights, government transparency, legislation, Internet freedom, digital security, privacy and empowerment. We believe it is crucial to bridge the gap between rights advocates, policy makers, media and citizens. It is by bridging this gap that one can move ahead to chart a way forward and resolve issues through consensus, in a way that is mutually beneficial.

 

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