“Dear Burgers, Sorry abt Skype/Viber/Whatsapp. Excuse us while we catch some terrorists and save some lives. SMS for 3months. Sincerely BBZ” tweeted Bilawal Bhutto Zardari yesterday, defending the new ban on twitter supporter by his party, the provincial government of Sindh. Twitter users hit the ceiling with anger, agitation, and frustration. But BBZ and Sharmila Farooqi, among others, emphasized that it is a small price to pay for peace in the province, especially in Karachi. How can Whatsapp, Viber and Twitter be considered security hazards? So far Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar is not in favor of blocking any apps, or websites, which conflicts with the PPP’s counterterrorism strategy. But what the people feel about such a ban is more than clear.
This isn’t the only unpopular decision the newly elected governments has contemplated. While Sindh’s PPP focuses on Security threats and social network bans, the federal government is facing a major backlash after announcing the removal of a power subsidy. Electricity bills will increase by 30% at least. Already crushed by inflation, load shedding, and depreciation of the rupee, the people have taken to the streets in many areas: they simply cannot afford basic amenities. But the IMF has spoken, and this loan needs to be about less consumption and more Capital investments. Previously loans have been used wrongly to improve the lifestyle. We can afford cars, air-conditioning, television sets, because the money we borrow is used to improve lifestyles without working on the economy.
These two updates in the previous week have generated massive criticism. While the Social Network ban is still unlikely to be imposed, given the federal government’s monopoly over security measures, increased power cost, food prices and falling rupee are only the tip of an iceberg we have all mounted by virtue of accepting the IMF loan. Putting it simply: we simply cannot afford subsidies. We cannot afford luxury and we can definitely not expect a government with an empty treasury to afford these expenses. Perhaps it still hasn’t hit us how grave our country’s economy is, and how severe our security issues are. Is it expected of our government to fix a failing economy without any sacrifice today?
We have read about nations and people, admired them for facing their problems, for cutting down on expenditure, and standing united in times of need. Our numbers and conviction to work for the betterment of this country can help us out of this mess. Yes, our governments need to be less corrupt, but so do our people. Perhaps banning Whatsapp, Viber, and Skype will have no effect whatsoever, but what if it does? If giving up these small luxuries can make even a small difference, then we must support our governments. As the famous proverb goes, you cannot have your cake and eat it. We cannot hope for betterment without working towards it.