Pakistanis are still waiting for the complete restoration of mobile internet services and social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has yet to receive instructions from the government to resume the blocked services.
Our government often resorts to knee-jerk measures without well-thought-out policies to address critical matters. The crippling consequences of such actions don’t concern the decision-makers much.
“Roadblocks and data outage have ruined my livelihood…I can’t get orders because mobile data isn’t working,” said Faisal, a food delivery driver.
Is Shutting Down the Internet the Right Thing to Do?
Shutting down internet services and mobile internet is often considered a controversial decision by governments, including the Pakistan Government, for several reasons:
1. Impact on Communication: The Internet is an essential tool for communication, and when it is shut down, people cannot connect, share information, or access essential services. This can disrupt daily activities, hinder emergency communication, and isolate individuals from their loved ones.
2. Economic Consequences: The Internet supports economic activities, such as e-commerce, online businesses, and digital services. When internet services are shut down, it negatively impacts businesses, disrupts supply chains, and hampers economic growth. It also affects individuals relying on the Internet for remote work, online education, and job opportunities.
3. Limiting Freedom of Expression: The Internet allows individuals to express their thoughts, opinions, and ideas freely. When internet services are shut down, it restricts people’s ability to exercise their right to freedom of speech and expression. This limitation on free speech can stifle public discourse, impede the exchange of ideas, and undermine democratic principles.
4. International Reputation: Imposing internet shutdowns can have a negative impact on a country’s international reputation. It may violate human rights, freedom of expression, and access to information. Such actions can lead to criticism from international organizations, governments, and the global community, potentially straining diplomatic relations.