Surfshark, a VPN and cybersecurity provider, released a new report revealing Pakistan’s rank among the worst countries for internet restrictions in the first half of 2023. The Internet Shutdown Tracker recorded 42 new global internet restrictions, with Pakistan accounting for three. These restrictions followed the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 9.
During this period, Pakistan curtailed the use of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Additionally, the country experienced temporary cellular network interruptions for several days after the arrest.
According to Surfshark’s report, Pakistan stands third, trailing Iran and India in countries with the most internet restrictions during the first half of 2023, primarily observed in Asia.
Iran experienced 14 incidents of internet disruptions during Friday protests in Zahedan after the Zahedan massacre. India closely followed with nine confirmed instances related to various protest events.
The report intriguingly mentions two additional internet shutdowns in ‘Jammu and Kashmir,’ reportedly ordered by the Indian government, which, if included, would raise India’s total count to 11 within this timeframe.
Interestingly, over two-thirds of the new disruptions (30 out of 42) were triggered by public dissent over social and political issues. This emphasizes the crucial role of the internet as the primary platform for exchanging vital information during episodes of civil unrest.
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