[Pakistan] The Digital Iron Curtain

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May 22, 2023

The government unilaterally, and without any concern for potential loss of billions and income erosion for millions, decided to shut down mobile broadband across the country amidst political volatility.

It is estimated that more than 200,000 individuals are associated with the gig economy, relying on ride-hailing, and delivery services to make ends meet in a potentially hyperinflationary environment. The government — with little regard for their income — which directly affects the food they put on the table for their households, cut off access to income through an executive order.

These are individuals who do not have access to any formal employment, or social nets, and every day that they are not able to work, they lose income, and ability to provide for their households. Anecdotal evidence suggests that such individuals can earn anything between Rs800 and Rs1500 on a daily basis — this suggests a loss of roughly Rs1 billion in direct income losses as mobile broadband was shut down for almost three days.

VIA The News