Pakistan Internet Landscape Report 2018 launches

Posted on Apr 12, 2019

Karachi/Islamabad, April 12, 2019: The annual Pakistan Internet Landscape report published by human rights and advocacy organization Bytes For All was launched today at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Karachi. The event included a panel discussion by experts including journalist and media researcher Jahanzaib Haque who authored the report; senior journalist and TV show host Zarrar Khuhro; Co-founder Women's Advancement Hub Aisha Sarwari and Human Rights Defender Marvi Sirmed.

The latest report highlights trends in local cyberspace related to key topics including internet access, censorship and privacy, cybercrime and hacking, child porn, blasphemy, fake news, e-commerce and fin-tech/branchless banking, among others.

The report notes that outside of the positive outlook in e-commerce...

Statement on Peace and Human Rights in South Asia

Posted on Mar 7, 2019

Civil society organisations from across South Asia, see full list of signatories below, are deeply concerned about the recent tensions between Pakistan and India. We call up on the Governments of the two countries to take immediate steps to further de-escalate the tension, to create an enabling environment for peace dialogue, and to protect human rights in Kashmir.

The recent serious escalation of the long-standing conflict between India and Pakistan is another stark reminder of the urgent need to return the dialogue table and restart the peace process, particularly when it comes to Kashmir. The confrontation last week was triggered by a suicide attack in Pulwama, which killed 40 Indian soldiers. In the wake of this incident there allegedly was an increase of arbitrary detentions in Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in further alienation, mistrust and the violation of human rights...

Rabat Plan of Action: Towards impactful implementation and reinvigoration

Posted on Mar 6, 2019

Islamabad, (March 3, 2019): Hate speech and its interaction with faith, race or nationality, is a tricky subject with regards to identifying the thin line between its legitimacy and unlawfulness. The reason lies in the absence of any standard definition of the hate speech. However, Rabat Plan of Action (RPA) 2012 provides more consensus guidelines for judging certain speech as acceptable or harmful.

Since RPA’s adoption in October 2012, the plan has been vetted by different stakeholders with reference to different cultural contexts and realities. Courts including European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) have also referenced RPA’s paragraph 15 in one of high profile case between Maria Alekhena and others vs Russia to determine whether a particular expression constitutes a criminal offense or not.

Similarly, the civil society is another stakeholder, who...

Civil Society asks government to revisit INGO registration policy framework

Posted on Oct 11, 2018

Islamabad/Lahore/ Karachi ( 9 October 2018): Civil Society Organizations working in Pakistan have urged the government, particularly the Ministry of Interior, to revisit its decision of rejecting the registration applications of several International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), which have been asked to leave without any plausible justification.

In a statement released here on Tuesday, the national civil society organizations expressed serious concern over the reported rejection of the registration applications of several international organizations. “We believe that this decision would negatively impact country’s development agenda and its image internationally,” a statement said.

Pakistan government has rejected the registration of over 18 INGOs last week and some of them have already received the so-called rejection letters dated 2nd...

Keep the cellular networks functioning on polling day

Posted on Jul 24, 2018

#KeepItOn, on Election Day

Islamabad, July 24, 2018: Network shutdowns on the polling day and denying citizens access to communications and information infrastructure is a serious violation of fundamental rights that compromise the effort to ensure free, fair, transparent and peaceful election in Pakistan , stated by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Bytes for All and Peace & Justice Network at an urgent press conference in Islamabad.

Over a period of time, human rights defenders have observed with growing concern a pattern that has now become regular for the incumbent governments that handle any law and order...

IYouWe Peace Pledge campaign

Posted on Jul 18, 2018

Islamabad, (July 18, 2018): Historically, elections in Pakistan are marred with violence and violations of elections code of conduct. Forthcoming general elections are no different. We are seeing a steep rise in the elections violence, violations of code of conduct and issues of shrinking civic spaces in the country. To this end, Bytes For All in collaboration with CIVICUS and Innovation for Change is launching an innovative campaign known as #IYouWe Peace Pledge Campaign.

This campaign endeavors:

To promote peace, dignity and respect for all voices in the 2018 Pakistan elections; Not to support people or organisations using hate speech or inciting violence; To abide by the official electoral Code of Conduct ; and To create a more dignified, equal society in which all people are heard regardless of religion, sex, caste, creed, color and profession.

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Prioritize communication rights of people in FATA region

Posted on May 25, 2018

Islamabad, (May 25, 2018): Bytes for All (B4A) warmly welcomes the act of Pakistan’s parliament to merge the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. This landmark constitutional amendment ends the dark age for human rights in FATA as 117 years old draconian Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) is abolished.

Historically, the citizens of FATA have been denied access to the information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the name of security. While welcoming this constitutional amendment, we urge the state authorities to immediately lift the network shutdowns and restore telecommunication infrastructure to ensure affordable and quality access for the local population.

For any developing country, ICTs have proven to be an effective tool to strengthen democracy, development and social justice. These technologies...