Naqvi urges new laws for online speech


Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi said Tuesday the country needed better laws to regulate internet free speech, as disruption of social media platform X stretched into its fifth week.

Islamabad has declined to clearly say whether it is behind nationwide restrictions to the platform, formerly known as Twitter, which have left it rarely accessible since February 17.

Pakistan’s polls earlier that month were marred by allegations of rigging, and the outages began after a senior government official made a public admission of vote tampering.

Speaking to the media in Lahore alongside PPP leader Ali Haider Gilani, the security czar gave an example of how the US House passed a bill to ban TikTok.

“In a country like the US where such things (ban) are taking place, we will also need to review our law and make sure that there is ‘no ban’ on the freedom of expression,” Naqvi added.

The interior minister emphasised that the misuse of social media which results in levelling unfounded allegations “needs to be kept in check”.

“We need to make better laws,” the minister said when asked whether his ministry was responsible for the X shutdown.

“Expression is fine, but making false allegations against people is wrong — it’s happening and needs to be fixed.”

Read also: IHC issues notices to ministry, PTA over suspension of social media platform X

“We must reassess our own laws and look into what is being misused,” he told the media.

X, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok were key planks in the election campaigning of jailed ex-prime minister and popular opposition leader Imran Khan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Major General (retd) Hafeezur Rehman said that the authority had not received any written order from the interior ministry regarding the closure of X. “There is just confusion for now,” he told a local website.


While answering a question regarding Information Minister Attaullah Tarar’s acknowledgement of the closure, Rehman stated that Tarar should be questioned for any information on X.

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