Asia - Pacific

Pakistan starts 3G, 4G internet in Waziristan

Premier Khan announces high-speed internet services after consulting security agencies

Aamir Latif   | 20.01.2021
Pakistan starts 3G, 4G internet in Waziristan

KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan on Wednesday announced the start of high-speed Internet services in the northwestern Waziristan tribal district along the Afghan border. 

Prime Minister Imran Khan made the announcement at a launch ceremony of the Kamyab Jawan Program, a government-run youth loan scheme, in Wana, the district headquarters of South Waziristan, once the hotbed of militant outfit the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

"I know 3G and 4G is important for education and development [and] it was a huge and justified demand of the [area] youth," Khan said in an address aired by state-run Pakistan Television.

Citing "security concerns" as a key reason for the delay in the introduction of high-speed internet connection in the restive area, he accused India of "spreading terror" in tribal regions and militancy-hit southwestern Balochistan province, through modern internet-connected communication tools.

"India is trying its best to spread terror in Pakistan. We know of their efforts to spread chaos in Balochistan. They are trying to instigate the youth in Waziristan against Pakistan. That is why there was a problem regarding 3G/4G services that terrorists could also use," he continued blaming longtime rival India.

Nevertheless, he said, his government decided to start high-speed internet service in the two regions with immediate effect after consulting the security agencies.

However, he went on to say that there is a need for "cognizant of terrorists using this facility."

Waziristan -- once considered the heartland of militancy -- is one of seven former semi-autonomous tribal regions in Pakistan, where the army has conducted a series of operations to flush out the TTP since 2014.

Successive operations have pushed the TTP towards neighboring Afghanistan, and Islamabad claims the terrorist network has now set up bases across the border to attack Pakistani security forces.

In 2018, the tribal agencies were given the status of districts and merged with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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