ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court has directed the Information Technology Ministry to reconnect the tribal districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the cyber world, saying that people cannot be prevented from accessing the internet.
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Athar Minallah approved the hearing of a petition filed by Syed Muhammad, a student in which the Ministry of IT, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) was made a party.
The court adjourned the hearing till April 20, directing the concerned authorities to submit the report by April 20.
It is to be noted that students from different universities belonging to the seven tribal districts have protested against the absence of 3G and 4G internet facilities in the tribal districts because of the fact that their education was badly affected during the lockdown.
The petitioner is from Para Chinar district of tribal districts, whose lawyer Abdul Rahim Wazir took the stand in the court that the parties had denied him the right of access to the public internet.
He further said that the right to access the Internet is guaranteed which is a fundamental part of fundamental rights under Article 19A of the Constitution.
The lawyer added that in view of the lockdown, students needed access to the Internet.
At the same time, he said that people and students of tribal districts could not be denied their constitutional rights by refusing to give internet access.
Later, the court directed the parties to nominate the competent officers to appear at the next hearing to clarify why the people of the applicant and tribal districts were not being given internet access.
In addition, the court directed the parties to submit a report at the next hearing, ordering the Ministry of IT to take steps to restore 3G and 4G internet facilities in the tribal districts in the meantime.