Pakistan blocked PTI political party sites and investigative news platform ahead of 2024 elections


January 26, 2024 - ongoing
Fact Focus
published by Maria Xynou on February 7, 2024
Network(s): AS59257, AS17557, AS136384

Tomorrow, 8th February 2024, Pakistan heads to the polls for the country’s 2024 general elections. Leading up to the election, ISPs in the country blocked access to the websites of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party (one of Pakistan’s largest political parties), as well as to an investigative news platform (Fact Focus). In this report, we share OONI data on the blocks.

The following chart aggregates OONI measurement coverage from the OONI Probe testing of PTI’s websites ( and and Fact Focus ( in Pakistan between 15th January 2024 to 7th February 2024.


Chart: OONI Probe testing of PTI’s websites ( and and Fact Focus ( on multiple networks in Pakistan between 15th January 2024 to 7th February 2024 (source: OONI data).

As is evident, most measurements from the testing of,, and presented anomalies throughout the testing period, providing a signal of blocking. However, it’s worth noting that the absence of relevant measurements in previous months presents a limitation to the findings. OONI data for PTI’s website is mainly available from 26th January 2024 onwards, which correlates with the date when the blocking of their websites was reported by the news. Similarly, OONI data from the testing of is mainly available from 2nd February 2024 onwards, which is when Fact Focus reported the blocking of their website on X (formerly known as Twitter). These correlations are likely because OONI Probe users in Pakistan started testing the sites once reports of relevant blocks were announced.

By looking at the anomalous measurements, we observe that the blocks are primarily implemented by means of TLS interference because we see that the connection is reset after the ClientHello message during the TLS handshake. This is observed in many measurements from the testing of,, and on several networks (such as AS59257, AS17557, AS136384) in Pakistan.

Overall, OONI data suggests that access to,, and is blocked in Pakistan because:

  • Most measurements from the testing of these 3 sites presented anomalies during the testing period;
  • Many anomalous measurements presented consistent signs of blocking (connection reset during the TLS handshake) on several networks;
  • Several measurements show interference at a DNS level by returning an NXDOMAIN error.

Recent OONI data suggests that the blocks remain ongoing. If you are in Pakistan, you can contribute more measurements by running OONI Probe.

If you encounter any difficulties in accessing websites or apps on polling day and thereafter, you can run OONI Probe to contribute measurements on any new blocks. Beyond websites, OONI Probe also measures the blocking of instant messaging apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Signal) and circumvention tools (Tor, Tor Snowflake, Psiphon), among other tests. All measurements are published as open data in real-time.