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Internet Shutdown in Pakistan: Impacts on Daily Wage Earners and Small Businesses

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In recent times, Pakistan experienced a widespread internet shutdown accompanied by a ban on various social media platforms following the arrest of Imran Khan, which has had profound consequences for individuals throughout the nation. Among those most affected are home delivery riders and cab drivers, who heavily rely on online applications to efficiently serve their customers. Additionally, freelancers and small businesses have also suffered greatly due to the suspension of Internet services. This essay examines the detrimental effects of the Internet shutdown on daily wage earners and small businesses, emphasizing the significance of Internet access for communication, education, and economic growth.

Disproportionate Impact on Daily Wage Earners: Home delivery riders and cab drivers heavily depend on mobile data and internet connectivity to carry out their duties effectively and provide timely services to customers. However, the unavailability of 4G internet has resulted in immense hardships for these hardworking individuals. Without access to online applications, their ability to receive and fulfill orders efficiently has been severely hampered. As a consequence, they face financial instability and reduced earning opportunities, ultimately affecting their livelihoods.

The Internet plays a crucial role in the success of freelancers and small businesses. It serves as a platform for communication, client interactions, and accessing vital resources. The disruption caused by the internet shutdown has had significant financial implications for these individuals. Freelancers have been unable to carry out their work effectively, resulting in the loss of potential clients and projects. Similarly, small businesses that rely on online platforms for sales and marketing have suffered considerable setbacks, leading to financial losses and potential closures. The Telecom Consumers Association estimates a direct loss of Rs520 million due to the ban, highlighting the severity of the situation.

The Internet serves as a fundamental tool for modern society, enabling communication, education, and business growth. Restrictions on internet access not only hinder economic development but also infringe upon the citizens’ right to express themselves freely. The internet provides a platform for individuals to voice their opinions, share information, and participate in democratic discourse. By imposing limitations on social media platforms and internet access, the authorities are impeding the citizens’ rights to freely express themselves, undermining the principles of democracy and suppressing public discourse.

The recent internet shutdown in Pakistan, coupled with the ban on social media platforms, has had far-reaching consequences for various segments of society. Home delivery riders, cab drivers, freelancers, and small businesses have experienced severe hardships and financial losses due to the unavailability of Internet services. Moreover, restricting access to the internet infringes upon the citizens’ right to freely express themselves. It is imperative for the authorities to recognize the importance of the internet in modern society, reconsider the restrictions, and resume nationwide access to the internet. Ensuring internet freedom is not only crucial for economic growth but also for upholding the democratic values and rights of the citizens.

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