The ongoing political unrest in Pakistan following the detention of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has severely impacted people’s lives and businesses. Digital payment systems in the country have witnessed a decline of approximately 50% in point-of-sale transactions, while the information technology (IT) industry is estimated to face losses of $3-4 million per day.
There was hope that internet services would be restored after a 72-hour break, following the Supreme Court’s order deeming Khan’s arrest on May 9th unconstitutional. However, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Director Public Relations Malhat Ubaid has stated that there have been no new instructions from the Ministry of Interior yet, indicating that it may take some time for the connections to be restored.
The suspension of internet services has reportedly led to a revenue loss of around Rs820 million for telecom operators, impacting an already struggling economy. Furthermore, the government has blocked popular social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, while YouTube services are taking longer to curb the spread of misinformation and public fear.
According to 1LINK, the volume of international payment card transactions decreased by 45% on May 10th, with the amount of international credit card transactions per day falling by 46% to 330 million rupees ($1.16 million) from 606 million rupees ($2.14 million).