ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday nullified the Islamabad High Court (IHC) verdict regarding suspension of mobile phone services by the government in view of public safety.

On February 26, 2018 the IHC had declared the suspension of mobile phone services by the government, on the pretext of public safety, as illegal. In 15-pages detailed verdict, Justice Athar Minallah had held, “The actions, orders and directives issued by the federal government or PTA, as the case may be, which are inconsistent with the provisions of section 54(3) are declared as illegal, ultra vires and without lawful authority and jurisdiction.”

Later, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications, and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had challenged the IHC judgment before the apex court, which was heard by a two-judge bench comprising Justice Umar Atta Bandial and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin.

The bench setting aside the IHC judgment directed the mobile companies to approach the federal government for redressal of their grievances.

The bench observed that if the parties had reservations at the time of suspension of service then they should have approached the federal government. The mobile service was suspended due to unpleasant circumstances and terrorism. However, the IHC had not kept these factors in mind while passing the order.

Justice Bandial said that the mobile companies also did not challenge the Islamabad High Court order. The mobile companies neither raised objections about the suspension of service before the IHC nor before the federal government.

He also said that the direction for suspension of mobile service should be based on some reasonableness and fairness. Justice Qazi Amin said that if peace prevails in the country then it would benefit everyone. He said that in the war against terrorism thousands of people lost their lives and country faced loss of billions of rupees.