A few months ago, the PML-N government succeeded in bringing the much-awaited 3G and 4G spectrum in Pakistan. The technological advancement has been celebrated all over the country with many experts terming it to be a great achievement.
However, internet users of some areas of Pakistan, particularly the youth in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir are much concerned over the fact that these new, faster internet services exclude their areas. This discriminatory policy is only adding fuel to the fire: even before the new technology, these areas were met with slow and unreliable internet services.
The youth in G-B are much concerned over this discriminatory attitude by the government, particularly by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.
They believe that banning any means of communication, whether it is websites such as YouTube and Google or blacking out entire areas from the services of 3G and 4G is not the solution to any problem – in fact, such measures only lead to dissent. Instead of denying access to modern technology, the government can invoke soft intervention measures by placing effective and proper mechanisms to check the misuse of the technology.
The youth strongly feel that excluding G-B from the provision of 3G and 4G services is yet again a violation of fundamental rights. Such unfairness becomes a starker and more sensitive issue as the youth strongly feel that G-B is already deprived of constitutional and political rights owing to the special status that is given to it since over 60 years.
Internet is an important means of communication and like other parts of the country, the youth in G-B have just started exploring their avenues for a better future through this facility. Depriving them of the new advanced spectrums will have adverse effects on the future of the new generation of G-B who will believe that such a discriminatory policy is tantamount to binding their hands from exploring opportunities and receiving updated knowledge through this revolutionary technology.
It is expected that the government will revisit its discriminatory policy and expand the services of 3G and 4G technology to G-B and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2014.
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