Iran has taken the lead in global internet restrictions, with India and Pakistan following closely, making Asia the region with the highest number of internet shutdowns. Among these, Pakistan has recently ranked third on the list of countries with the most internet shutdowns, according to VPN and cyber security provider, Surfshark.
Over the past six months, Surfshark’s analysis has revealed that the world witnessed more than 42 instances of global internet restrictions, with three of them occurring in Pakistan. These restrictions coincide with the country’s political situation, which has been experiencing turmoil, leading to arrests, media bans, and internet shutdowns.
During this period of political unrest, people in Pakistan were restricted from using cellular data and accessing popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. This clampdown on internet services came following the arrest of former Prime Minister ‘Imran Khan’.
Iran and India, Pakistan’s neighboring countries, also faced political instability and unrest, resulting in their ranking at the top of the list for internet shutdowns. Iran recorded the highest number of internet disruptions, with more than 14 shutdowns primarily centered in Zahedan during protests against the Zahedan massacre.
India secured the second position with nine instances of internet disruptions, all related to various protest events. Additionally, the Indian Government ordered two more internet shutdowns in Jammu and Kashmir, bringing India’s total count of internet shutdowns to 11.
The rise in internet shutdowns during political and social uprisings highlights the internet’s growing significance in information exchange. According to UN law, shutting down or denying internet services constitutes a violation of international human rights law.