The recent internet shutdown and social media blockage in Pakistan has not only caused an estimated loss of Rs2.49 billion, but also sparked a wave of anger from citizens who see it as an attack on freedom of expression. The government ordered the blackout in response to violent protests following the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan. However, the shutdown had a significant impact on the country’s economy, disrupting businesses, e-commerce, and online education.
This is not the first time the government has shut down the internet and mobile services in Pakistan. While it has been used as a tool to curb the spread of misinformation or perceived threats to the state, many see it as a violation of fundamental human rights in a democratic country.
The international community has also expressed concern over the internet lockdown, calling for the restoration of internet services and respect for fundamental freedoms. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk stated that “freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and rule of law are key to resolving political conflicts.” Amnesty International has described the services shutdown as a “human rights violation,” calling for the immediate lifting of restrictions on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Read More: Internet Services Shutdown Caused A Loss Of At Least Rs1.6 Billion To Telecom Companies
The tech industry has also called for urgent action, citing the impact on growth and innovation. It remains to be seen how the government will respond to these calls and what long-term consequences this may have for the country.