Shutting down phone networks is now officially illegal in Pakistan

For the past many years, phone networks were being forced to shut down during civil unrest or during occasions where the government deemed the use of mobile phones threatening to security.

Today, the Islamabad High Court has ruled in favor of a petition filed by one of the phone networks to deem network shutdowns illegal in the country.

From now on, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and the Federal Government will no longer be able to order shut down of networks on grounds of national security except if provided under section 54(30) of the Pakistan Telecommunication act of 1996.

The petition against the authorities responsible for shutting down communication networks of private mobile phone companies was brought by Zong, one of the biggest telecommunication companies of Pakistan.

According to the petition, the cellular network said that suspension of cellular networks during civil unrest was unjustified and a matter that caused distress to customers in times when people need the services most to get in touch with their loved ones.

The move by IHC was met with mixed reactions from the public. Where some greatly appreciated the move to stop forced shut down of networks, others thought that it was very important for national security.