The Internet Policymaking Landscape in Pakistan

By Usama Khilji & Saleha Zahid
The tempo of technological change in Pakistan is constantly escalating. Millions of users are getting online for the first time, using an ever-expanding array of new services and devices, and governments and policy-making bodies are struggling to respond to this influx of users and new technologies. This research study attempts to provide a mapping of the policymaking process in the information technology sector in Pakistan during this critical time.

The report analyzes the way this process has impacted and continues to impact individuals, businesses, and society, as more and more social, political, and economic interactions occur online. It seeks to better understand the decision- and policy-making processes and the type of policies, primarily censorship and blocking, that have, in the past and present, been implemented in response to various socio-political issues and events. Using interviews with policy makers and stakeholders involved in the process of developing online regulations, it reviews critical issues related to quality of access, and levels of user satisfaction. It also examines the average user’s level of awareness of internet regulation and policies.

The report presents for the first time a complete picture of Pakistan’s Cyber policymaking landscape and the actors and process that fuel these policy decisions. It seeks to analyze the patterns and attributes of internet policymaking in Pakistan in order to better and more clearly understand the complicated, reactionary and ever-changing nature of ICT policymaking in the country. It seeks to provide readers with a deeper understanding of the challenges this country faces, and offers glimpses of valuable insights into the future direction of the policy making process.

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