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Leading Tech Entrepreneurs and Freelancers Urge Government to Restore Internet Services

A statement signed by tech entrepreneurs, CEO’s, high-profile individuals and major organizations states that the shutdowns and blocking of internet services limits the rights of peaceful assembly and freedoms of expression

Following the arrest of former PM Imran Khan at the Lahore High Court on Tuesday, internet services and social media platforms were temporarily shut down in attempts to limit the spread of “propaganda” against the ruling government.

While the ban was temporary, the current political situation has stopped the government from uplifting the ban. It has been more than 48 hours since the internet shutdown and IT and technology based businesses are at loss.

Facing a ton of problems amidst the internet shutdown, a hundred prominent members of the Pakistani business community alongside tech entrepreneurs and the civil society have come forward and are urging the government to remove this nationwide internet shutdown.

A statement signed by these tech entrepreneurs, CEO’s, high-profile individuals and major organizations states that the shutdowns and blocking of internet services limits the rights of peaceful assembly and freedoms of expression.

The signatory statement also added that the blocking or hindering of internet connectivity “undermines constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms”, such as the access to information during political and civil unrest, rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, all of which are the basics of democratic society.

“Moving forward, we also call on the Pakistani authorities to refrain from imposing partial or complete Internet shutdowns and blocking or filtering of services and to respect Pakistan’s international human rights obligations, including under articles 19, 21, and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),” said the statement.

““It is only when we understand the issue of internet access as one of fundamental human rights can we take measures to ensure access on an equal and non-discriminatory basis,” it concluded.

Apart from tech CEOs and business persons, freelancers, who make up a large part of Pakistan’s population, were also furious at the internet shutdown. Internet crackdowns such as these cause freelancers to lose a lot of time and stops them from providing their client with proper communication and service.

Pakistan houses the second largest number of freelancers in the world therefore they bring in massive foreign revenue for the country, even adding a good percentage into the country’s IT exports, which currently stand to be around $2.6 Billion.


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