The list of things banned for inscrutable reasons continues to get longer, as the Islamabad government has now announced that the use of drones for the next two months will not be allowed. The stated reason for this is terrorism threats. According to the administration of the city, certain Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) can be used by terrorists when ground attacks are not possible. The argument then, as being put forth by the notification is that drones have inherent vulnerabilities that can be exploited by terrorists.

That the Capital Administration is pointing out flaws in technological equipment is not the problem nor is the fact that certain terrorists might be a little more tech-savvy than others. But the last time drones were banned for two months in Islamabad was a year ago in August, when former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appeared in the Accountability Court; terrorism threats from technological vulnerabilities do not come and go for two months. If a device is vulnerable once, it will continue to be that way. A sceptical mind would wonder why terrorist threats only prop up when the federal government wants media coverage on certain issues to be limited.

Drones are most frequently used by media organisations to get footage; especially at rallies and protests, aerial shots of the crowd are a good gauge of size. Since threats of terrorism are normally substantiated with evidence and specific details, one can only imagine that the Islamabad administration’s decision is taken in light of the Azadi March, as a means to obfuscate the facts and restrict independent coverage. If this was not the case, why is this ban being implemented only in Islamabad and that too only for the next two months? The government must stop being petty; the protest is going to take place whether it tries to stop coverage or not. Media freedom is already a big problem in the country. The government should stop imposing inane restrictions under the guise of terrorism.