Pakistanis are preparing to vote to choose which political party will control over 240 million people, but the country is facing major security concerns, causing the government to take drastic steps like suspending internet and mobile services.
In a comforting announcement, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has assured that internet and mobile services will be available on February 8 in most of the country, the day of the approaching elections.
Before the February 8 legislative election, the country experienced violence against political parties and candidates, while security services personnel remained at the forefront of a new terrorist wave.
Despite prior guarantees from government authorities about the internet’s availability on Election Day, Pakistan has faced occasional service outages owing to a variety of issues, including security concerns. Recognizing the possible economic consequences of such outages, the choice to keep the internet functioning is critical.
Update on Internet and Mobile Services on Election Day
In a news conference, the minister stated that if any district or province makes a request, the decision would be taken. However, he said that terrorists communicate using WhatsApp.
Despite the recent incidents in Balochistan and KP, the current ministers have ruled out changing the election dates.
The government has made strict precautions, and over 6lac security officers have been assigned for duty, as everyone’s safety remains a priority.
The economic ramifications of a single day of internet outage are significant, with telecom providers paying losses of Rs 940 million.
This, in turn, results in a loss of Rs 329 million in taxation for the national exchequer. Given that telecommunications providers earned around Rs 572 billion from cellular services last year, the financial consequences of an interrupted internet connection become clear.
Reflecting on the events of May 2023, when the country had an internet outage due to political upheaval, a representative from the Pakistan Freelancers Association emphasized the startling daily loss of approximately $2 million in the IT freelancing market.
Aside from monetary losses, software companies risk harming their worldwide brand, and thousands of ride-hailing and delivery service providers face disruptions in their daily revenues, aggravating the unemployment rate, which stood at 9.6% in 2022–23.
As the country prepares for the elections, ensuring uninterrupted internet access not only encourages a suitable climate for democratic processes but also protects the economy from the far-reaching consequences of service outages.
This pledge is an important step toward sustaining stability, allowing businesses to prosper, and guaranteeing continuous communication during a pivotal period in the country’s government.