Writer: Amjad Ali
Mobile Internet services have been suspended in Tubat district of Balochistan province since the beginning of population census exercise in April 2017.
It is a common knowledge in the district that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has suspended the mobile internet services owing to security reasons.
Turbat is the second largest district after Quetta with a population of about 900,000 people. The district headquarter of Turbat is home to one of the public universities of the country.
Majority of the residents of Turbat relied on internet services provided by a variety of mobile operators which are more affordable than the DSL service provided by the PTCL.
Ever since the suspension of mobile internet, the residents are facing problems in accessing information. It is creating a lot of problems, especially for students and job seekers.
The Internet is no more seen as a luxury but a necessity. It has become a common source for disseminating and receiving information nationally and globally. Depriving people of Turbat of such a resource has impacted their way of life and halted their progress in different fields.
Students enrolled in universities in other provinces are not taking risk of visiting their hometown, fearing that they will miss on important information updated on the university website. Fresh graduates also suffer from a similar situation. They cannot risk missing on job opportunities if they go back to Turbat.
Shoaib Nazee, a student of Punjab University Lahore, while talking to Pak Voices expressed his apprehensions of spending holidays in his hometown Turbat. He feared that he will not be able to access his emails and the university website and might miss on the exam schedule.
The only internet service available is through the DSL provided by the PTCL, which is restricted to the district headquarter of Turbat. The PTCL has a monopoly in providing DSL services in the district, and therefore the residents believe that the PTCL is benefitting from the suspension.
Although the DSL is not accessible throughout the district and even in Turbat city, it can’t be afforded by the masses. In comparison, mobile internet is much cheaper and accessible even in rural part of the district.