There can be no denying that the 21st century is the age of information. What started from the mid-20th century has now become a powerful phenomenon that directly or indirectly influences our daily lives. In light of such a trend, one needs to be tech-savvy and keep up with the increasingly digitalised world in order to move ahead in life. Since so many aspects of our lives connect with technology, it is easy to see why the internet plays such an important role in today’s world.
Even though the overall internet experience rests heavily on both accessibility and speed, developing countries like Pakistan often face issues in both aspects. Fortunately, internet providers such as Jazz have now transformed the digital experience for over 55 million subscribers through their cutting-edge integrated technology and reliable network infrastructure. As per the Ookla speed test 2018, Jazz provides an uninterrupted countrywide connectivity through Super 4G service that covers more than 10,000+ cities, towns and villages across Pakistan.
The digital world trounced by Internet is leading to economic empowerment that is having a profound community impact in Pakistan. Local women entrepreneurs are utilising social media platform to promote their businesses and to access untapped international trade markets. A major reason behind the recent surge in the economic participation of Pakistani women has been due to the mounting commercial opportunities provided by the social media over the last decade. Additionally, this has been made possible due to the rising social mobility of women. Moreover, platforms like Careem and Uber on the internet are offering viable and secure modes of transportation that are enabling people to travel constantly without any hindrance.
In a country like Pakistan, where women can’t express their views without being harassed, there exist organizations that are speaking out for women’s rights in the online world. Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), is one such research driven non-profit organization that is using Information and Communications Technology (ICTs) to fight for human rights and better digital governance. In order to address threats to free expression and expand their support to women, DRF ran a year-long campaign in 2016 called “Humara Internet”.
Apart from that, social media in recent times have become a potent tool for justice in the country. Whether it’s struggling to reinforce protections for human rights defenders or it’s advocating for minority groups to have safe, online access where they can exercise their freedom without facing coercions, social media is encouraging civic participation. This was inevitable through remarkable campaigns like #IMeToo, #JusticeForZainab and #TimesUp that took the world by storm and helped women to voice their concerns in the digital realm.
Though social media, more people are coming forward and are engaging in cyber activism, whereas others are trying to use the medium to combat social and cultural taboos. Besides social justice, the internet is also responsible for changing the political landscape and the electoral outcome in Pakistan. It ensures greater accountability of public office holders and increases political mobilisation and engagement of voters across the country.
In light of the drastic changes taking place in the rapidly evolving Pakistani society, multi-tasking has become an integral component of our lives. This means one needs to be constantly on the go and alternate between multiple tasks. In such a scenario, the internet has drastically made our lives easier by allowing us to complete our check lists by merely clicking a few buttons on our mobile screens.
Gone are the days when one stood in long queues to pay utility bills because K-Electric's collaboration with myriad banks conveniently allow users to make online bill payments. Similarly, by accessing sites such as Foodpanda, Tazamart and Yayvo, people can expediently do grocery shopping or order food online from the comfort of their homes and offices. Since a plethora of such websites exists, people can be selective and choose the ones that offer preeminent prices.
Heraclitus once stated, “The only thing that is constant is change.” A closer inspection of our society reveals the veracity of these words. The social, political and economic landscape of the Pakistani society is undergoing rapid changes and the internet is the epicentre of it. Since it has become an instrumental tool in transforming lives, only the future will tell how Pakistani’s imperatively use it for country’s betterment.