Pakistan, a country possessing a 73-year-old history is a state in transition, experiencing economic, political and also technological instability amidst COVID-19 pandemic, whilst economic recession fears, loom over the heads of authorities with the incumbents still trying to prove their worth after 2.5 years of being in the office but failing to prove anything worthwhile.
In February 2020, Pakistan approved a set of new rules, which were to regulate all social media platforms, a step that was not well-received by the critics and was denounced as an attack on the freedom of the press media and a threat to the free speech in the state.
Pakistan that has recently banned a renowned game, Players Unknown Battle ground on the account of it having bad influence on the mind of youngsters causing them to commit suicide due to the sensitivity of which, had little to do with the logic and truth. The Electronic gaming contest, team which were to represent Pakistan on international platform was eliminated by the PUBG game developers in result of the ban.
With Bigo banned and Tiktok on its last warning over the obscene content, the Pakistan court hinted on banning YouTube now which in the past had already served a 3 yearlong infamous ban, but this time with the reasons that points fingers to the authorities for the not-so on-going democratic governance in Pakistan, having rather powerful military influence in the country than ever.
Pakistan ever since its independence in 1947 has spent more than three decades under Military rule, and even when the Military were not on the front, they still always have managed to maintain a sturdy clench on state’s politics from behind the curtains. The supremacy never scooted, the power has always been partially fractioned between civil and military interests, with armed forces to always having the bigger slice. Civil governments have always been doing the bidding for the military and it never changed but had only worsened over time. Martial Law always comes back to bite in the back, and Pakistan Military very well aware of the fact, have learned that over the years with a facade they had to conserve, this time dropped the idea of coming on front but were to have the most ever gelled dominion than with any other Civil rule, as it now had with incumbents Imran Khan’s PTI.
Corroded Pakistan’s economy amidst global crisis, have a lot more provocations to face and resist then it already normally did, especially its general public. Electronic media, the freedom of speech and press strictly being surveilled with compact dissection of their duties, repercussions in result of any political analysis that could in any way go against the government’s policies, especially the mention of establishment anywhere. Prime Minister Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party also introduced legislation in the Parliament that would allow him to possess the power of extending the tenures of the chiefs of staff of the army, navy and air force, and the largely ceremonial post of chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Challenging courts orders about Chief of Army Staff QamarBajwa’s tenure completion, Government went an extra mile making sure the tenure extended which for another six months, it did.
Censorship in Pakistan, according to the sources is mostly limited to adult website/industry (which is illegal in the state) and the sites that hosts religious contents bearing any blasphemous and political dissent. A huge number of circumvention tool sites has also been blocked since the start of the decade. Freedom of expression, press freedom, access to information and privacy and digital surveillance has been with revamped constitutional amendments, a law which allows the state to take control of each earlier mentioned domain and use the information collected as it will find fit and hold accountable whoever seem to not bend along the winds.
The Balochis in Pakistan are the ethnic minority and one of Asia’s rather unfortunate cross-border minorities, divided among Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, Only a year after Pakistan’s independence, Baloch nationalists waged Guerilla war against the government of Pakistan, demanding political sovereignty and full control over Baluchistan natural resources, the most rich province of Pakistan in that regard. Amnesty International reported that many Baluch activists, teachers, journalists, and lawyers have disappeared or been murdered in “kill and dump” operations by authorities in order to keep the area and civilians safe from the attacks by Baloch armed groups having the lives of innocent Balochis in constant danger and fear. A great number of Balochi news sites and independence sites has been blocked by ICP, broadcasting of which could lead to a chaos and sensitive political climate.
The infamous YouTube ban in Pakistan, which now again has been hinted by the Supreme court, including a reason unlike any that were in recent year; Blasphemy and religiously offending content. On Wednesday, hearing the case of a man involved in sectarian crime, the Judges were seen to be upset at the general public raising questions at the policies and achievements of Authorities and Civil and Armed services and despite of having electronic media hand tied, thousands of YouTube new channels has been reporting the country’s current mould with no filtration whatsoever. With many renowned electronic media anchors, having their own YouTube channels and programs on the social site independently. Judge Qazi Mohammad Amin and Justice MushirAlam were on the bench hearing the case. The court basically objected at the tangled uncontrolled content on social media, particularly the comments regarding the judiciary, the Pakistan Military and the incumbents.
Not to forget, with countries unemployment worsening with every passing days in the dreadful economic crisis, social sites have been most proposed way of earning money for many.
Writer’s an analyst, sports enthusiast and a public speaker of youth conferences