ICTs will strengthen democracy in merged areas

Peshawar: Bytes for All (B4A), an Islamabad based human rights organisation, has welcomed the act of Pakistan’s parliament to merge the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

In a press release issued to media today, the B4A says that it is a landmark constitutional amendment ending the dark age for human rights in FATA as 117 years old draconian Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) is abolished.

While welcoming this constitutional amendment, the B4A urge the state authorities to immediately lift the network shutdowns and restore telecommunication infrastructure to ensure affordable and quality access for the local population.

The organisation observed that the citizens of FATA have been denied access to the information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the name of security and reasoned that ICTs has proven to be an effective tool to strengthen democracy, development, and social justice for any developing country.

“We note with grave concern that not only FATA region but large parts of Baluchistan, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and most remote areas are still deprived of real Internet access in the country”, it said.

To provide the FATA citizens a level playing field as well as their development and enjoyment of fundamental rights, they call upon the government to urgently enable their access to telecommunications on priority basis.