*********Pakistani authorities have restricted access to Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms amid mounting violence in the country generated by the arrest of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“Additionally, total internet shutdowns have been observed in some regions,” NetBlocks, the global internet monitor, said on Tuesday.
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Amnesty International said officials at Pakistan’s telecommunication authority told the UK-based rights group that regulators had blocked social media, and that internet service was suspended in Islamabad and other cities.
“This restricts people’s access to information and freedom of expression,” Amnesty International said. “We call upon the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority and Interior Ministry to immediately reverse this ban.”
Khan’s arrest sparked violent demonstrations by his angry supporters who clashed with the police in several major cities.
Months of crisis
The former prime minister was dragged from court on Tuesday after he appeared there to face charges in multiple corruption cases.
His arrest followed months of political crisis and came hours after the powerful military rebuked the former international cricketer for alleging that a senior officer had been involved in a plot to kill him.
Some protesters took out their anger on the military, storming the residence of the corps commander in Lahore and laying siege at a gate of the army’s general headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.
Police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse Khan supporters in Karachi and Lahore, while protesters blocked roads in the capital Islamabad, Peshawar, and other cities.
Khan has faced dozens of charges since being removed – a tactic analysts have said successive Pakistan governments have used to silence their opponents.
He could be barred from holding public office if convicted, which would exclude him from elections scheduled for later this year.