Earlier this month, the Punjab Government quietly instated 19.5% tax on internet connections that either exceeded 1500 PKR / month or had speeds greater than 2Mbps. The law struck a nerve of many citizens who took to the social media outlets to express their concerns. It appears that the voices raised on social media have indeed prevailed.
Dr. Ayesha Ghaus, the Finance Minister of Punjab, made an official announcement earlier today in the Punjab Assembly that the government has decided not to pursue the previously imposed internet tax in Punjab.
All the major telecom companies feared losing an enormous 3G / 4G subscribers. They raised their voice through letters written to the government saying that such a tax will be counter productive for the progress of technology in Pakistan.
To help further the cause and send a message, many sites and blogs participated in a blackout to oppose the tax. These sites included Siasat.pk, ilmkiduniya.com, Urdupoint.com, and many other digital publications who blacked out their main page in protest. Apart from them, many citizens and celebrities took to social media and participated in the blackout too. All these efforts led Punjab government to revoke the internet taxes. Now, people can stay subscribed to high-speed internet packages both on the cellular data plan or fixed lines.
It’s worth mentioning, that while this is a big victory for Punjab, the tax is still in effect for the KPK and Sindh Regions. The future of this law in these provinces is still the million dollar question.
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