March 12, 2018 - Comments Off on February 2018: Mobile Networks Shutdown declared Illegal in Pakistan

February 2018: Mobile Networks Shutdown declared Illegal in Pakistan

Islamabad High Court Ruled Mobile Network Shutdowns Illegal


On February 26, 2018, Islamabad High Court (IHC) in a landmark judgement ruled mobile network shutdowns, including mobile based internet suspension, illegal. The judgment indicates that access to telecommunication services is a fundamental right of the citizens of Pakistan, and any attempt to suspend said services is a violation of their constitutional rights.

Read the update by Hija Kamran for Digital Rights Foundation in this blog post.

Civil Society condemns inhumane treatment of Sajid and Patras Masih by law enforcement officers

Civil society organisations and concerned citizens have issued a strong condemnation of the torture, inhumane treatment and sexual abuse of Patras Masih and Sajid Masih by the Cyber Crime Wing, FIA in Lahore. The statement in its entirety can be found here. In a statement signed by more than 180 collectives, civil society organisations and concerned citizens, serious concerns were raised regarding the treatment of marginalised groups by law enforcement agencies, specifically religious minorities. Press release can be found here.

Feminist Icon Asma Jahangir's death is an irreparable loss - DRF pays tribute

Photo: Wolfgang Schmidt

Photo: Wolfgang Schmidt

We are shocked and saddened by the death of Pakistan’s foremost human rights activist and feminist lawyer Asma Jahangir. Her death is not just a loss for the entire country, but a personal blow for younger activists who have always looked to her as their role model and leader in trying times. Read the tribute by DRF here.

Expert workshop on the right to privacy in the digital age - organised by OHCHR

Nighat Dad at OHCHR

Digital Rights Foundation was invited to be part of the expert workshop on the right to privacy in the digital age, organised by the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) on February 19-20, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. The workshop gathered government representatives, lawmakers, civil society organisations and individuals, and businesses to identify and clarify principles, standards and best practices regarding the promotion and protection of the right to privacy in the digital age, including the responsibility of business enterprises in this regard. The objective of the workshop was the exchange of international, regional and national experiences and practices concerning the protection and promotion of the right to privacy in the digital age. The concept note for the workshop can be found here [PDF].

Nighat Dad represented DRF on the panel titled "Processing of personal data by individuals, governments, business enterprises and private organisations", and discussed the absence of a privacy law or a data protection legislation in Pakistan. In her opinion, telecommunication operators starting to work in Pakistan benefit from the fact that there are no local laws to protect users, and in practice these companies do not observe the same procedures as they do elsewhere, where legislation is in force. Nighat also discussed the system of mass surveillance in cities – sometimes in the ‘safe city’ projects that are being rolled out. There is no transparency about the collection, processing and distribution of data in ‘safe cities’, and in the absence of any data protection legislation, the data of 200 million Pakistanis is constantly at risk. Watch the recorded discussion here (01:46:10 mark).

Safer Internet Day

Safer Internet Day

Digital Rights Foundation conducted a session on cyberbullying with students of grade 6, 7, 8 and 9 on account of Safer Internet Day at the Iqra Education Centre, Lahore. The session raised awareness amongst the students regarding the safer usage of the internet and also emphasized on the importance of reporting bullying in schools and online.

Youth Summit hosted by Punjab Commission on Status of Women


Nighat Dad participated in a plenary discussion organised by the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) as part of the Youth Summit at University of Lahore on February 12. The panel was titled  Means to Enhance Women's Political, Social and Economic Participation'. The discussion shed light on women’s participation and Nighat highlighted the digital aspect of that participation.

Lecture on Cyber Crime and Digital Evidence at Lahore Bar Council


This lecture was part of a series at the Lahore Bar Council. On February 15, Nighat Dad briefed practicing lawyers in the nascent issues relating to digital rights, cyber crime and the law of evidence in digital contexts. The session was interactive and raised several pertinent questions regarding the law and digital spaces.

Women in Law Seminar

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In partnership with LEARN Pakistan, DRF helped organize a seminar for female lawyers focusing on issues of technology, harassment and participation in digital spaces. The speakers at the event shared their experience as well as offering solutions to misogyny faced by those in the field.

District Peace Seminar organised by Rotary Club, Lahore

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Nighat Dad spoke at the District Peace Seminar organised by Rotary Club Lahore to promote peace in the region. Nighat spoke about the prevailing trend of online media as the primary means of communication among youth and how this platform can be used to promote peace within communities and societies. She also emphasised on the importance of making online spaces safe for everyone by taking individual and collective efforts while ensuring their own online presence is secured through various online safety measures in place.

Empowering Women for Growth & Prosperity: From Evidence to Policy

Nighat Dad spoke at the conference titled “Empowering Women for Growth and Prosperity: From Evidence to Policy” organised by Lead Pakistan on February 8, 2018 in Islamabad. The aim of the conference was to discuss the many issues faced by women that actively hinder their growth in the society. Nighat’s intervention was based on highlighting the role of digital media in transforming people’s lives and how this can be effectively used in favour of women’s success in today’s world. Nighat focused on creating safe spaces for women, both online and offline, and emphasised that their participation in the economic growth is as important as anyone else’s.

Published by: Digital Rights Foundation in Blog

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