Why I support the ban on late-night packages

These packages were benefiting no one. They allowed youngsters to indulge in aimless and idle talk.

Ayesha Pervez November 23, 2012
There is certainly something exciting about huddling under the covers and chatting late into the night with someone you find relatively interesting. But, as it is with most thrilling activities, there was more bad coming out from it than good.

Introduced several years ago, late night cell phone packages threw the entertainment starved youth of Pakistan into a frenzy. After a regular day of studies or work, users (a great portion of which were youngsters) looked forward to a night of chatting away with their significant others - and possibly some spare wheels as well.

It was an offer too good to resist; an incentive to chat all night with a member of the opposite gender.

As more and more cell phone companies competed with each other to lure users with the best deal, more and more youngsters felt that they were missing out on the time of their life and so, even those who, (at first) weren’t too keen on the idea began jumping onto the late night chatting bandwagon.

But to what avail?

There was certainly no good coming out of these packages.

Relationships were being severed and broken off. Cheating and infidelity was given a whole new meaning. When Soha* finally started her house job at a busy government hospital, her fiancé missed their late night talks and sought out another chat friend. After several months of late night sessions, which Soha was unaware of, he fell in love with the new companion and the engagement was broken off.

Where at one hand, romance would be blooming under the covers for a pair of love birds, on the other hand, single people were beginning to feel neglected. As Sarah* who lives in a dorm in Islamabad says,
“My roommate would chat all night with her boyfriend, but I had no one and it made me frustrated and perhaps gave me a slight complex. Besides that, her hushed whispers would infuriate and disturb me.”

Desperate males, which our nation has no shortage of, would seek girls on social networking sites who they could chat with at night; this was often translated into harassment.

Ah, but the late night romance had a downside too! The same late nighters would be rubbing their eyes in the morning and sleeping in their respective classrooms and workplaces. Studies and the quality of work invariably suffered.

Apart from troubled relationships, we haven’t heard enough times how cell phones are dangerous for our health. According to Em Watch;

We don’t have to rely on common sense alone. Scientific evidence is also mounting. Frequent cell phone users are more likely to get sick than other people, and doctors, scientists and health researchers are trying to tell us about it. Almost every month, new research studies are published on cell phone radiation dangers. Recently published reports indicate that cell phone radiation is responsible in some degree for health challenges such as:

  • skin damage

  • brain damage

  • increased blood pressure

  • DNA damage

  • sperm abnormalities

  • reduced fertility

  • salivary gland cancer

  • psychological problems

  • sleep interference

And all these things affect those people who make frequent or extended use of cell phones.”

In the daytime, people have several things on their plate and use cell phones for shorter interactions while in the night, with most tasks out of their way, cell phone activity goes on in full swing.

These packages have had a lot to do in creating a nation of Laila’s and Majnu’s and you don’t need to look further from the Facebook accounts of our youngsters. Take a walk on Facebook and at every turn and corner, you’ll find nothing but cover photos of sad poetry, lovers holding hands, weeping faces – and every youth wailing about the biggest problem in their life – having lost love.

All in all, these packages were benefiting no one except allowing youngsters to indulge in aimless and idle talk:
“Ap ne aaj khaanay mein kya khaaya tha?”

(What did you eat for food today?)

And similar discussion which would most likely foray onto something along the lines of,
“ Aap ne kya pehna wa hai?”

(What are you wearing?)

Leading obviously to provocative chat we aim discourage in our youth. Furthermore, these packages allowed youngsters to move from one broken relationship to the next, because they had become so accustomed to this 'enjoyable' activity.

While I was writing this blog, I shared the issue with a friend who said,
“One learns ethics at home and curbing such plans will have no effect on youngsters. Those who know the difference between good and bad will always follow their principles.”

To which another friend who happened to be listening in retorted,
“Shareef wohi hota hai jis ko mokah nahi mila."

(Only the ones without opportunity are innocent)

And these packages are providing one with exactly this - the perfect 'mokah'.

Read more by Ayesha Pervez here.
Ayesha Pervez Currently pursuing TESL in Canada, Ayesha Pervez is an English Literature graduate from the University of Karachi who has completed courses in short-fiction and journalism from Harvard University.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Souldetective | 11 years ago | Reply I couldn't read the whole article. it seems someone from government is trying to put things on our heads and this person is supporting their activities. Well, there are many good packages in the day time as well, would you support to stop them as well? I belong to a telecom firm and i know very much about this. I guess everybody is tying to throw opinions here and we are so confused to find the truth.. Here is a question... Would you stop using your mobile if this ban is implemented for all call packages? would u go back to old days, paying 20 or 30 bucks for each call. there is a good aspect of these packages as well, people who are far from home; make calls at night to talk to their families...Stop imposing and supporting for this stupid implementation.
Pavan | 11 years ago | Reply For the sake of stopping youngsters from flirting and wasting time or for public health or for making the youth to sleep early, whatever the reason maybe. They've just stopped the night packages you can still call if you've something actually important to talk about to someone important. So Go ahead and don't bash the writer. Just make those calls :P
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ