Sindh government’s absurd ban
KARACHI: According to media reports, the Sindh government has decided to seek a ban on instant messaging and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) clients Skype, Viber, Tango and WhatsApp for three months in the province. Reports suggest that the ban is being sought for security reasons and the decision was reached during a high-level meeting with the Chief Minister, Qaim Ali Shah. This is not the first time communication has been blocked citing security reasons. In the past year alone, the
government blocked cellular services over a dozen times.
This is a violation of fundamental rights of citizens and an acceptance from the government that it has failed to uphold law and order by resorting to adhoc measures and disrupting communications. Access should not be a victim to national security. The government must focus on improving law and order in Karachi instead of further restricting the rights of its citizens. There are other, more efficient methods to counter terrorism without compromising the citizen’s basic rights to access and communication.
Adhoc blocking and restrictions on communications reflects a flawed and dysfunctional counterterrorism policy. Such measures only create more problems for the citizens. The government must ensure the right to life and dignity without taking away basic rights that compromise security as well as peace of mind.