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    Report Unveils Pakistan’s Poor Internet Access and Digital Governance Ranking Among Worst in the World for 2022

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    Pakistan ranks last in Asia and 79th globally for internet access and digital governance, according to a report by human rights and advocacy organisation Bytes For All. Titled “Pakistan’s Internet Landscape 2022”, the report explores the relationship between human rights and information and communication technologies in Pakistan. The report shows that despite an increase in internet penetration, around 15% of the population still lacks access to the internet and mobile or telecom services. Pakistan has the widest gender gap in mobile ownership of all countries surveyed, with only half of women owning a mobile phone, compared to over 75% of men. The report highlights the failure to realise the digital governance potential and the continued rise of cybercrime, with over 100,000 complaints registered by December 2022. Internet banking transactions increased by 51.7% in fiscal year 2022, reflecting the growing adoption of digital financial services in Pakistan.

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    The report also noted the impact of catastrophic floods in the second half of 2022, stating that they proved to be “the greatest challenge for the government”, with 33 million people affected and extensive damage to infrastructure, including telecoms and the internet. The report highlights Pakistan’s poor standing in terms of access for females, though noting that the gap had narrowed slightly over time. The federal and provincial governments introduced several online initiatives, but the momentum for a ‘Digital Pakistan’ could not make progress due to blackouts brought on by an energy crisis and catastrophic floods. Disinformation proliferated online while the government tried to stifle the online space.

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    Overall, the report paints a dismal picture of Pakistan’s internet landscape in 2022, with a lack of inclusivity and digital literacy, one of the biggest global gender gaps in access, and struggles to stay online due to load-shedding and blackouts.

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