Internet Governance discussions in Pakistan are fragmented and chaotic. They are confusing, partisan politics, and the most important thing is that they are an outcome of a lack of understanding and even a limited willingness to engage in exchanges outside the familiarity zones of a selected few.
When we discuss Digital Pakistan, deliberations on urban tech startups, digital campaigns, the internet, and freedoms within isolation will not be helpful.
Doreen Bogdan-Martin, who was recently appointed Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and is the very first woman to hold the post in IT U’s history of 157 years and has stated that meaningful connectivity is her primary objective. It is a blessing that Pakistan is among the nations with the Universal Service Fund (USF) which is designed to provide accessibility and affordable cost of communication in low-income areas.
In the beginning, universal accessibility (UA) used to be determined using the degree of teledensity and access to telecommunications. However, access to the internet is possible through affordable telecom networks, making these networks a crucial prerequisite for internet connectivity.
In Pakistan where our online communities are full of hate and violence over political debates, The mainstream discourse and central work should focus on urban-rural online divides and gender gaps, access, and accessibility. With more than 4,500 telecoms sites in 130 districts and serving over 63 million unemployable and uninformed people The work of USF has more significance and impact than any other initiative, we observe all around us for Digital Pakistan.
If there is anything that should be fully supported and without partisanship, it’s universal access. Connect people and allow them to take advantage of the opportunities the internet provides.
Without this, the current divisions we see in our contemporary world from a human developmental perspective will not simply increase but will also be unsafe due to extreme exclusion and poverty in a divided world. Spread Connectivity first, and everything else will follow.