The number of coronavirus infections in Pakistan are steadily increasing. The past few days have seen a sharp rise in fatalities with almost 42 deaths being reported in three provinces. On the other hand, the tension between the Sindh and the federal government has created an atmosphere of confusion about the decision to ease lockdown restrictions. Citizens are left totally flabbergasted, and three grueling months in isolation have taken a toll on their psychological health.
At this critical juncture, the internet seems to be the only source of entertainment and the only medium that can help spread social awareness about corona safety measures. However, it is disappointing to witness that not everyone in the country is able to have a proper internet connection. Internet services in the remote areas of Balochistan, like Kech and Awaran, have been suspended for the past three years due to security concerns. Northern areas are unable to receive internet broadband signals because the geography and topography of the region makes it impossible to set up signal boosting infrastructures. Till date, these issues have not been resolved by the authorities. This has been a cause of great trouble for the people because without internet services people are living in the shadows, unaware of the happenings around the world.
Furthermore, this pandemic has brought about a sudden shift in education methods. According to protocols set by the HEC, academic institutions are conducting online classes which require a strong internet connection as online applications includes both audio and video support. Students in such regions are not able to continue their studies because they lack proper internet facilities. Instead they are being forced to withdraw from the semester.
It is my humble request to the telecommunication authority to introduce, and restore, internet facilities in such remote regions at the earliest. The government must take prompt action to mitigate the persisting problems especially in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.