Recent events in Pakistan have been traumatic to say the least: the kidnapping of Lahori children and the bomb blast in Quetta that wiped out its entire senior lawyer cadre. Living in Pakistan means getting your heart broken again and again. We have accepted this even as we fight against it every day.
But there’s another battle that Pakistani civil society lost today: the fight to save Pakistani Internet users from the draconian Pakistan Electronic Cyber-crime Bill. After a year of wrangling over several unsatisfactory drafts, the bill was passed today in Pakistan’s National Assembly, after a superhuman effort by digital rights activists, IT experts, and civil society to stop the bill from becoming law. With its passage, Pakistanis have lost most of their digital rights to freedom of expression, being able to criticise the government, and do business with the rest of the world over the Internet.