In the first half of 2023, Pakistan ranked third globally for imposing internet restrictions, according to a report by Surfshark, an online privacy protection company. During this period, Pakistan implemented three new restrictions out of a total of 42 new restrictions worldwide. These restrictions were introduced after the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 9, leading to limitations on popular social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as temporary disruptions in cell phone networks.
Iran and India had higher internet restrictions than Pakistan during this time, with Iran experiencing the most disruptions (14 cases) primarily due to protests over the Zahedan massacre. India closely followed with nine cases, including two shutdowns in ‘Jammu and Kashmir,’ allegedly ordered by the Indian government, bringing India’s total shutdown instances to 11 in the first half of 2023.
The report highlighted that the main reason behind these government-imposed internet restrictions was protests, with more than two-thirds of the new disruptions occurring as a result of people expressing their grievances over social and political issues.