The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), an industry association of major internet and technology companies, has released a statement urging the Pakistani government to consider the serious consequences of their recent actions on the people and economy of the country.
The AIC has called for the immediate restoration of internet access in Pakistan. Jeff Paine, the Managing Director of the AIC, has expressed concern that the government’s actions will damage the country’s reputation as an investment destination, and has urged the government to focus on the opportunities presented by the digital economy to promote overall economic growth.
More than one hundred prominent members of the Pakistani business community, tech entrepreneurs, and civil society have condemned the government’s use of partial and complete internet shutdowns, as well as targeted content and app blocking.
These actions have been taken in response to recent nationwide protests. Tens of millions of Pakistanis rely on internet-dependent services for essential business activities, and by blocking or shutting down these services, the government is limiting civic space, creating economic uncertainty, and disrupting access to healthcare, emergency services, and financial services.
The government’s decision to shut down mobile internet services across the country has resulted in significant revenue losses for mobile phone companies and online taxi and bike services. This decision was made in response to the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, which led to nationwide protests.
As a result of the internet shutdown, online taxi and bike services have been unavailable for the past two days, causing inconvenience to commuters who depend on these services for transportation.
According to sources in the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, there are no plans to restore internet access in the country today.