ISLAMABAD: After the Pakistan government moved to suspend internet services and block social media platforms, the country lost Pakistani currency Rs 2.49 billion, according to The Express Tribune.
In the wake of violent protests across Pakistan after the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan, the central government announced the shutdown of the internet but the plan backfired.
The blackout, which lasted for several days, caused widespread disruption to businesses, e-commerce, and online education. The tech industry has also called for urgent action, citing the impact on growth and innovation.
Not only that, after the shutdown, Pakistan saw a plethora of anger from citizens who deemed it to be an attack on freedom of expression itself, reported The Express Tribune.
International bodies expressed concerns over the information lockdown in Pakistan, calling for the restoration of internet services in the country and for the government to respect fundamental freedoms.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said “Freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and rule of law are key to resolving political conflicts”.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International called the service’s shutdown a “human rights violation”. “The ban on the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube also creates a permissive environment for other human rights violations under the darkness of the internet shutdown. The restrictions must be lifted immediately.” Rimmel Mohydin, regional campaigner at Amnesty International stated.
The country, which is already facing the economic issue, now has a dent with the business sector taking a major hit. The move has drawn widespread criticism from businesses, entrepreneurs, and tech industry experts, who have raised concerns over the economic fallout.
As business activities have been affected, the Federal Board of Revenue also lost about Rs2 billion in terms of revenue, but the Pakistan Software Export Association (PSEA) said that a day’s business in the information technology sector is USD 12 million. Therefore, in three days, the PSEA said, the IT sector suffered a loss of Rs 10 billion, The Express Tribune reported.
According to an official of a telecom company, mobile broadband services constitute around 60% of their total revenues. Therefore, on a daily basis, they earn approximately Rs 820 million. Additionally, the government receives around 35per cent of the revenue.
This calculation is based on the fact that the telecommunication companies earned roughly Rs500 billion from cellular services in the previous year. However, this is just an estimate from one industry. The overall economic loss to the country is likely to be massive, as per the report in The Express Tribune. (ANI)