Ever since my life in quarantine has started, one thing I’m really thankful for are the internet service providers in Karachi who are always making sure that the connection is always up. Had there been no internet, I would have missed many growth opportunities which I’ve explored in my free time.
For me, the internet isn’t only a way to kill my leisure hours but also the source to earn through freelancing projects. But everyone isn’t fortunate enough to get good, quality internet services in Pakistan especially the people living in Gilgit, Baltistan.
Yesterday, I talked to my friend through a landline phone and she told me what she had to go through to attend one online class in Hunza. Gilgit is undoubtedly the heaven on earth, people come here to explore this beautiful spot but due to poor internet connection, they don’t plan to stay here.
And my friend who’s already living there is planning to leave such a beautiful place because of the poor connectivity. She quoted that at the day of her online class, she had to travel up on the mountain, attend the class, download the lectures, submit her assignment and mark herself present. If she failed to do so, the professors mark her absent without taking reasons in consideration. So, whenever is her online class, she stayed at her friend’s home so that she won’t miss another lecture.
The whole process is so tiring and stressful that she had no time left to study. Since the mountains aren’t easy to reach so sometimes she also steps out of her home a couple of hours before.
This is the story of one girl, if you look into the matter you’ll find more stories like this. The disturbing fact in the whole scenario is the lockdown where people need to stay more at home. But the question is that when there’s no internet or electricity, will the lockdown be easy for the people in Gilgit?
Although Telenor Pakistan has launched 4G in Gilgit, Baltistan to connect people with the online world the implementation is still missing. Dawn has also published the article on the launch of this service.
Another reason for not having a proper internet connection is the SCO internet services who don’t want private companies to operate in the region. SCO DSL internet packages only allow 2G services which make it pathetic for students to attend online classes.
Internet is a lifeline for everyone in this era specially students but Students of Gilgit-Baltistan are choked to death through slow internet services of SCO.#Internet4GilgitBaltistan
— Mesum Qasmi #Internet4GilgitBaltistan (@mesum_qsmi) July 6, 2020
I had to come back to Islamabad from Hunza amidst the Corona situation and extreme heat because I couldn’t work from home, all thanks to SCOM’s fraudulent 4G services. We demand #internet4GilgitBaltistan, functional internet.
— Thatbrowngilgiti (@Thatbrowngilgi1) July 6, 2020
I pay Rs. 1200/month to #SCO for Internet. It takes me 120 mins to open an email and exact 1200 mins to download a file of 12Kbs. I call SCO 12 times to refresh it and they take 12 days to respond. #Internet4GilgitBaltistan #workfromhome
— Iram S Khan (@IramSKhan1) July 7, 2020
I want to shed more light on this issue because the youth in GB are talented and passionate to grow. But due to the lack of 3G & 4G services, they are stuck and don’t know how to get out of this.
How happy would be the world for them if they receive their notes on a click as we do? On the other hand, women also suffered because of the lousy healthcare services.
For example, You and I can prevent Covid19 because we know the symptoms, precautions and ways to deal with it. It’s because we are continuously scrolling our newsfeed, listening to the news and staying up-to-date with the latest information.
But do you think people with a lack of information can resist COVID19?
In an era of digitalisation (and work from home) #GilgitBaltistan is left deprived of basic internet facilities.
— Alina Shigri (@alinashigri) July 6, 2020
So, it’s high time we need to stand up for these people and ask the government to launch proper internet or Zong 4G in Gilgit Baltistan. Not only in GB but also in Balochistan and interior Sindh and small villages so people can lead their lives under awareness.
Internet in the digital age is as important as the daily bread and butter. That’s why students from all over Pakistan feel the need to stand up for people of GB and protest under the campaign “#Internet4GilgitBaltistan.”
In these circumstances, if people are coming out on roads, then it means we have deprived them of their basic needs.
So, let your voice also count under the campaign and make sure you don’t limit GB for capturing the beauty of nature only. Let them breathe too!