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PTA, 3 telcos served notices for mobile phone shutdowns

STAFF REPORT ISB: Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court issued notices to PTA, Telenor, Zong and Ufone in a
 
petition against suspension of mobile phone services. 
 
The four petitioners are ordinary citizens whose lives were badly affected by suspension of mobile telecom services which
 
happened in Islamabad. The Petitioners have urged the court to declare the practice of suspension of service as illegal. The
 
petitioners have also sought a stay on further shutdowns, during the pendency of the case.
 
The PTA and each of the Telecom Operators will now have to explain and defend their point of view in open court.
 
The leading petitioner, Masooma Hassan, is an environmental science professional who commutes daily from Rawalpindi to
 
Islamabad for work.
 
While she is at work, the mobile phone is her only means of communicating with her 7-year- old daughter. Another petitioner
 
is a migrant worker whose wife and parents live in a village in the Kaghan Valley and who is unable to talk to them for
 
months, expect on phone. One of the petitioners Mohammad Zohaib is a DC based IT expert who was visiting his family
 
members in Islamabad while the shutdown happened.
 
The petitioners allege that the suspension of mobile service by PTA violates their Fundamental Right to Telecommunication
 
which is derived from the Articles 4, 9, 10A, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 19A of the Constitution and various Supreme Court
 
judgments.
 
The petitioners also allege that the PTA’s actions violated Section 54(3) of the Pakistan Telecommunications (Reorganization)
 
Act, 1996. Under this section of the Act, mobile service can be suspended only when the President has already proclaimed
 
emergency in the country.

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