Islamabad (February 26, 2018): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday declared the suspension of mobile phone services across the country under the pretext of security as illegal.
Multiple petitions had been submitted against the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the case was decided last year in September by Justice Ather Minallah, but the judgement was reserved to be delivered at a later date.
The verdict which was read out in open court declared that, “the actions, orders and directives issued by the Federal Government or the Authority, as the case may be, which are inconsistent with the provisions of section 54(3) are declared as illegal, ultra vires and without lawful authority and jurisdiction.”Petitioners had moved the court terming the suspension of mobile phone and internet services as a violation of their fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan.
Arguing that the suspension was in violation of the Pakistan Telecommunication Act 1996 which did not empower the government or authority to suspend services unless a state of emergency has been declared by the President of Pakistan.
In light of the matter the Justice Ather Minallah in his verdict directed that the “Federal Government or Authority are, therefore, not vested with the power and jurisdiction to suspend or cause the suspension of mobile cellular services of operations on the ground of national security except as provided under section 54(3).”