Mobile and internet services have been shut down in Pakistan’s Quetta since Monday morning for unknown reasons, causing various problems to general public and the students availing online classes amidst the Covid-19 outbreak.
According to the city’s media reports, cellular networks, which includes mobile services and internet went offline on Monday morning for no apparent reasons and have been shut down since.
Liaqat Shahwani, the spokesperson for the Balochistan government, denied local government’s involvement in the matter and expressed ignorance on the issue.
Shahwani further added that the provincial government has not requested the federal government for this measure and is completely unaware of the federal government’s involvement in the cellular network shutdown.
This is not the first time when cellular networks were shut down for unaccounted reasons. In the Panjgur, Kech and Kalat districts of Balochistan, cellular services have been cut-off for the past 5 years. Various demonstrations have been held to address this issue, but to no avail. Internet inaccessibility remains a major issue in Balochistan.
Due to the internet unavailability throughout Balochistan, students are incapable of attending online classes. Student organizations and the general public have expressed their concerns on this issue as the country suffers through Covid-19 pandemic.
In a press conference on Monday, Baloch Students Action Commission (BSAC) and Baloch Student Commission (Islamabad) alleged that the Baloch students are still deprived of the internet facilities in this advanced age.
They further said that the government and educational authorities neglect the “underprivileged” majority of the students and craft policies congenial to the needs of “elite” students.
The sudden shut down of the internet and cellular services in Balochistan’s capital, Quetta, has been attributed to “security reasons” by some.
According to the residents of Quetta city, the internet shut down comes after the recent incident of Hazara town, where a 23-year-old young man Bilal Noorzai was brutally beaten to death by an angry mob of vigilantes on Friday. According to reports, approximately 300-400 people attacked Bilal and his two other friends. The vigilantes dragged the three youths into a nearby salon, stripped them and ruthlessly beat them.