Acting BTRC chairman Md Jahurul Haque, however, says they did not give any such instruction
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has reportedly blocked instant messaging and video chatting application Skype across the country.
Emdadul Haque, secretary general of Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), on Monday said they had received a letter from the BTRC asking them to keep all kinds of communication through the app suspended, both from home and abroad, reports UNB.
Several international internet gateway (IIG) service providers said they also received the letter on Sunday night.
However, acting BTRC chairman Md Jahurul Haque said they did not give any such instruction to block Skype.
The instant messaging service may be inconsistent in some areas due to technical problems, he added.
Many Skype users claimed they have been unable to use the app since the morning.
Meanwhile, BNP has said that BTRC has set a bad example by “blocking” Skype, reports the Dhaka Tribune’s correspondent Md Nahian.
Speaking at a press conference at the party's Naya Paltan headquarters Monday night, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi alleged that the app was shut down to stop their acting chairperson Tarique Rahman from joining the interviews of the 11th general election nomination seekers.
"We have received information that BTRC has blocked Skype’s services. The government-controlled telecom regulator has set a disgusting example by this,” he said.
“I have also been informed from our party chairperson’s Gulshan office that all the internet connections have been shut down there," he added.
Rizvi’s remarks came in the backdrop of trading of barbs between BNP and ruling Awami League over Tarique joining the interviews of BNP nomination seekers via videoconference from London, UK, where he currently lives as a political asylee.
The BNP Parliamentary Board began the interviews of those seeking the party ticket in the election, now slated for December 30, on Sunday at the party chairperson’s office.
Rizvi also alleged that the government moved to block Skype even after Election Commission Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said that the commission had no issues with Tarique’s involvement in the nomination processes via videoconference.
“It proves that the election will be one-sided and the government is relentlessly using the state machinery to take the election results to its favour,” he claimed.
Saying the hurried blocking of Skype had only showed the government’s narrow mindset again, the BNP leader demanded immediate restoration of the app in the country.