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Pakistan Has One Of The Worst Internet Access and Digital Governance According to Stats

Written by Muhammad Muneeb Ur Rehman ·  2 min read >
Internet Access

A comprehensive report that explored in detail the complex relationship between human rights and information and communication technologies in Pakistan in 2022 was launched on Monday, with its findings highlighting that the country remained among the world’s worst performers in terms of internet access and digital governance.

Titled ”Pakistan’s Internet Landscape 2022”, the report was released by Bytes For All — a human rights and advocacy organization — which explores in detail the relationship between human rights and information and communication technologies in Pakistan last year.

The year 2022 was defined by extreme political upheaval, playing out alongside an economic meltdown that saw Pakistan positioned just one step away from default. This situation, further exacerbated by devastating monsoon floods, led to instability, stagnation, and a backslide for the country in almost every area, including its internet landscape. 

“The lofty dreams of a progressive and competitive ʻDigital Pakistanʼ all set to redefine the future were truly dead, with only haphazard gains made in some areas, largely driven by private enterprise or the rulings and hard work of a few dedicated individuals or teams.”

Even though there are efforts being made at the state level by PTA and other entities to improve these numbers but so far the reward has been negligible.  As of December 2022, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authorityʼs (PTA) Telecom Indicators cited 193 million mobile cellular subscribers, putting total mobile teledensity at 86.34% of the countryʼs population1. 

Of these subscribers, 122 million i.e. 54.43% were subscribed to mobile broadband, while other broadband subscribers totaled 125 million i.e. 55.81% of the population. Both statistics indicate at least half of Pakistanʼs population has some form of access to the internet. In terms of telco market share, Jazz was in first place with 38.23% of total subscribers, followed by Telenor, Zong, and Ufone. According to the report, internet banking users increased by almost 60 percent to 3.1 million in 2022.

“In terms of internet access and overall governance, Pakistan made some gains, but in the context of the world, the country remains among the worst performers, even within just Asia,” according to the report.

It highlights that despite an increase in internet penetration, approximately 15 percent of the population still lacked access to the internet and mobile or telecom services.

“Add to this a lack of inclusivity and digital literacy, one of the biggest global gender gaps in access, and a struggle to stay online due to load-shedding and blackouts brought on by an energy crisis and catastrophic floods, and a dismal picture emerges,” it said.

It pointed out that Pakistan ranked last out of 22 countries in Asia overall, and 79 globally across the key indicators of availability, affordability, relevance, and readiness.

Moreover, “a massive gender gap in both internet access and mobile phone access for females was noted as a major issue in the country”.

The Bytes for All report said they highlighted Pakistan’s poor standing in terms of access for females, though noting that the gap had narrowed slightly over time. “In summary, Pakistan had the widest gender gap in mobile ownership of all countries surveyed with just half of women owning a mobile phone, as compared to over 75 percent of men,” it stated.

The report also highlighted the failure to realize the digital governance potential and said both the federal and provincial governments introduced a number of online initiatives, but the momentum for a ‘Digital Pakistan’ could not make progress.

The report also highlighted the impact of catastrophic floods in the second half of 2022 in this regard, stating that they proved to be the greatest challenge for the government, with 33 million people affected and extensive damage to infrastructure including telecom and the internet.

It also concluded that cybercrime in Pakistan saw a steady rise, with over 100,000 complaints registered by December 2022, marking the highest number in the last five years.

It further stated that disinformation proliferated online while the government tried to stifle the online space. Internet banking transactions witnessed a steep rise of 51.7 percent in the fiscal year 2022, reflecting the growing adoption of digital financial services in Pakistan.

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Written by Muhammad Muneeb Ur Rehman
Muneeb is a full-time News/Tech writer at He is a passionate follower of the IT progression of Pakistan and the world and wants to educate the people of Pakistan about tech affairs. His favorite part about being a tech writer is tech reviews and giving an honest and clear verdict to his readers. Contact Muneeb on his LinkedIn at: Profile