Internet Shutdowns

Local Impact

Starting on 9 May 2023, the government of Pakistan reportedly ordered regional shutdowns of mobile Internet access amidst violent protests following the arrest of Imran Khan, a former Prime Minister and current leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party. Reports indicated that mobile coverage was disrupted but wired / fixed coverage continues. Various media stories reported blocking of social media sites such as YouTube and Twitter. We were not able to confirm any specific blocking of services (versus just a complete shutdown of connectivity), however OONI data shown below seems to indicate that such service blockage is happening.

Measurements from IODA and Cloudflare Radar indicate that Internet connectivity through mobile networks was restored on 12 May 2023. However, OONI measurements indicated that some service blocking continued into the following week and was not fully restored until 18 May.


Cause Documentation

We have not yet identified a formal official announcement on any Pakistan government websites or social media channels. However, multiple Pakistani media outlets are reporting direct communication with spokespeople from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. One example from

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), on the orders of the Interior Ministry, blocked mobile broadband services across the country Tuesday as protests erupted after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest earlier in the day.

Subsequent media reports indicate the shutdown will be extended “indefinitely”:

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Wednesday said that internet services across the country will remain suspended for an indefinite period.

Data and Analysis


Data from IODA confirms that there was a drop in overall Internet connectivity for Pakistan. Several networks show degraded service, and specifically AS45669 for Mobilink shows a drop by over 50% in BGP connectivity on that mobile network.

Chart from IODA showing a decreased amount of Internet connectivity in Pakistan.

Chart from IODA showing Internet connectivity for AS45669 for Mobilink. There was a drop of over 50% of BGP routes beginning on May 9.

IODA shows that Internet connectivity was restored on May 12 to most networks. The IODA chart for AS 45669 clearly shows the outage:


The Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) shows issues connecting to popular social media sites from within Pakistan, starting on 9 May:

A chart titled "Web Connectivity Test" that shows lines for,,, and, and shows them all turning from green to yellow starting on May 9th.

OONI data showed that the service blocking of some social media sites continued on after the restoration of mobile Internet connectivity on 12 May and were not fully restored until 18 May: