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X, Pakistan, VPN, government, social media, political figures, censorship, digital freedom, virtual private networks, bans, tweets, access
X, Pakistan, VPN, government, social media, political figures, censorship, digital freedom, virtual private networks, bans, tweets, access

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X is Blocked in Pakistan Only for the Economically Disadvantaged

X is Blocked in Pakistan Only for the Economically Disadvantaged

Although X is currently under lockdown in Pakistan, it appears that the ban is close to becoming insignificant with just the presence of a hashtag.

Despite the government’s firm position against “illegal content,” virtual private networks (VPNs) are in high demand, and X is abuzz with tweets from various political perspectives across Pakistan.

In the previous month, X has evolved into an exclusive online VIP lounge in Pakistan, with only the economically disadvantaged being excluded, left stranded outside the virtual access barrier. Meanwhile, the VPN-savvy affluent class enjoys unrestricted access from within.

From ex-Prime Ministers to present Chief Ministers, even official government accounts are utilizing VPNs.

In the midst of this uproar, one may question: where is the government’s firm stance on social media regulations? Despite citing worries regarding inappropriate content, users on X are expressing themselves rapidly, highlighting the paradox between concerns over digital speech and the reality of its expression. This complex situation leaves many puzzled, with no clear victor in sight.

Former interim Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar remained undeterred by the ban on X, posting tweets about his tenure in office and extending congratulations to Shehbaz Sharif on his appointment as Prime Minister – all while using a VPN, naturally.

Not to be outdone, PM Sharif also used VPN to respond to his well-wishers. He thanked his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi post-swearing-in.

Not a single tweet about the X ban or how it was hurting the tech sector. He used a VPN.

Dr. Umar Saif, a Harvard-educated IT professional and former interim federal minister for IT & Telecom, succumbed to the temptation of VPNs, posting a harsh tweet on X to counter a newspaper’s criticism of his accomplishments during his tenure. Like many others, he couldn’t resist utilizing VPNs for access.

Pakistanis are puzzled, while government officials are frantically providing one excuse after another to justify why X continues to be restricted for users in Pakistan.

In the midst of the political uproar on social media, one fact remains unchanged: the prohibition of X continues, prompting Pakistanis to flock to VPNs in droves – a surge of 6,000 percent since February 17, 2024.

Following the initial occurrence of a “national-scale disruption” last month, citizens have turned to virtual private networks (VPNs) at an unparalleled pace, experiencing a surge of 6000%.

During her inaugural term in public office, Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Safdar utilized a VPN to express her thoughts via tweets following last month’s elections. However, she has not addressed the ban on X or its adverse impact on Pakistan.

The scenario has evolved into a farcical digital debacle, with X being compared to an exclusive club inaccessible to the economically disadvantaged. Meanwhile, across the virtual realm, politicians ranging from the Prime Minister to Chief Ministers are fervently tweeting, as if their political influence hinges on it.

Accounts of political parties have been the most active outside the civilian pool, posting tweets and notes on last month’s electoral process. All tweets were made via VPN.

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