November 23, 2016
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former Provincial Minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday asked the government to improve its ranking on the international index of internet freedom.
The internet is a key medium through which people can express themselves and share ideas. It has become an important tool through which activists mobilize and advocate for political, social, and economic reforms, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that presently Pakistan is ranked with China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and some other countries known for internet censorship and harsh punishments to those who violate their Draconian laws.
He said that internet surveillance, content blocking and harsh punishments are detrimental to social and economic progress therefore government should take a soft view in case of violation.
He said that in the last four years internet usage and punishments have doubled globally which should not be allowed.
Internet penetration stands at eighteen percent in Pakistan despite best efforts of the stakeholders and electronic crimes law is set to dent it, he observed.
The business leader said that the bill was passed despite opposition from the stakeholders and civil society and now law enforcing agencies should not be allowed to play havoc with the masses in the name of national interests.
Supressing voice of people who have no other option to bring injustice to limelight except internet is not something practiced in civilised societies, he added.
Calling for greater transparency in the agencies dealing with internet crimes, he said that development without internet is a pipe dream. India and Sri Lanka have been ranked above Pakistan in the Freedom on the Net 2016 index, he informed.