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The Victims of Digital Divide

In the present severe crisis of Covit-19 the world has totally depend on a digital and online shift. Almost all the national and international institutions have managed to digitalize the system and introduce air communication to continue their activities, and bridge the chasms inflected by lockdown. These all positive improvements have been made possible by the availability of internet which is the backbone of global communication. No-one can deny of the increasing influence and importance of internet. It would not be wrong to say that Internet has become an integral part of our life. In order to coordinate with the contemporary need the constitutions of different countries (including Pakistan) and the charter of UN assign digital rights to citizens. The list of digital rights is categorized in the broad concept of human rights , because the right to Internet access is directly linked with the right to freedom of speech and expression. Particularly, during the current prevailing situation of the Covit-19 pandemic; when education, finance and other activities are performed online with the help of internet, this facility is everything and worthy to be practised. But the fate-stricken inhabitants of ex- Fata and Gilgit Baltistan are still deprived of that basic and beneficial facility. In these regions specially in the ex-Fata neither internet nor any network has been functional, except some limited sets of landline telephones; which are only available at security checkpoints. The ban on internet for security reasons has no solid grounds because such a bleak communication system could futher increase the security dilemma. After the special directions of PM Imran Khan and the remarks of the chief Justice of Islamabad High Court regarding the restoration of internet in ex-Fata; the government has been failed to install network towers to these areas. While the Interior Minister is pointing at security issues which are not among the major hurdels ; if the government ( establishment) adopts a realistic approach. Further delay in this matter will lead the residents to the gorge of frustration; who are already deprived, oppressed and backward. The ban on internet and the non-availability of networks have badly affected a vast majority of students belong to these areas because educational institutions have been closed and students are engaged in online learning system through out the country. But the students hailing from ex-Fata and Gilgit Baltistan have no access to Internet. Some of them walk hundred kilometers in search of network signals and no one can imagine the sufferings they endure.Those students who are enrolled at universities cannot submit their assignments and attain online exams. Moreover this problem has badly disturbed education process of the female students; it is impossible for them to walk kilometers and climb over the mountains.Authentic research is mandatory for a student who studies at higher level and a good research is impossible without the use of internet. In the ex-Fata where no well-fernished library is existed students have to only rely on cours outlines and notes. Students from the ex-Fata are protesting, their demand of internet is undoubtedly a longing for life. Since the eruption of Covit-19, they have started demonstrations but the state has turned a deaf ear to their genuine demand. The region of which residents have not yet recovered soundly from the tragic shocks of war and terror ; are facing another hostile attitude, that will definitely collapse the future of the young generation as being collapsed in the last episodes of militancy.

By: Shahid Hussain Mehsud
The writer is a student of BS Political Science at IUB

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