THE suspension of cellular services has become an increasing trend in Pakistan these days. The government frequently adopts this method of disrupting communications to maintain law and order and to ensure public security whenever there are processions, protests and other similar activities.

On the other hand, to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, the government is keen that the people maintain social distancing and is encouraging people to work from home in order to prevent the spread of the dreaded virus.

The frequent suspension of cellular services is not advisable in this era of digitalisation. An overwhelming majority of the population, especially students, use cellular data because they cannot afford a separate internet connection.

I quote a recent instance when the authorities suspended cellular services in Rawalpindi and Islamabad for 19 hours.

This action brought untold misery to the students who were taking online classes due to Covid-19. Furthermore, the work of researchers, reporters and other service sectors was also badly affected.

The government must find some other way to deal with such situations. The strategy of suspending cellular services has always been a cause of trouble for the masses.

Syed Zafar Ali Baltistani

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2020


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