The ongoing political turmoil in Pakistan has resulted in the suspension of internet services, causing significant disruptions to people’s lives and businesses. The arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Leader Imran Khan sparked the unrest, which has left the economy in a fragile state.
The impact of the internet shutdown has been far-reaching, with point-of-sale transactions through Pakistan’s main digital payment systems falling by almost 50%. The information technology sector is expected to suffer losses of $3-$4 million daily, adding to the economic hardship already experienced by the country.
But now the pleasing news is that Internet services are restored in Pakistan. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Director Public Relations Malhat Ubaid reported no new instructions from the Ministry of Interior regarding the internet suspension.
The internet shutdown has hit the telecom sector hard, with reports suggesting an approximate revenue loss of Rs820 million for telecom operators. The suspension of mobile broadband services across the country on the orders of the interior ministry is the longest such continuous shutdown in a country that frequently suspends communications to quell unrest.
The government has also blocked major social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, while YouTube services have been slowed to control the spread of disinformation and panic among the masses. The impact of these restrictions is reflected in data shared by 1LINK on point-of-sale transactions, showing a significant decline in international payment card transactions.
While cash transactions still dominate the country’s commercial dealings, digital payments have recently seen rapid growth.
The internet shutdown has highlighted the need for a more robust and reliable digital infrastructure to weather political instability. Until then, Pakistan will continue to struggle with the economic and social consequences of political turmoil.