89% people have no access to internet in former FATA

Sakeenullah Dawar

MIRANSHAH: The students of North Waziristan tribal district are deprived of the facility of online education due to lack of internet.

Almost all parts of North Waziristan suffered massive damages during military operation Zarb-e-Azb. Besides other sectors, education sector also faced damages because the educational institutions were also damaged.

Development schemes are announced in North Waziristan from time to time, but nothing is visible on ground. The main example in this regard is lack of 3G and 4G internet facility in the area even in this modern era.

The students hailing from merged tribal districts studying in various universities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and rest of the country have staged many protests to convey their demands to those in power and this process is still continuing. Some students also approached the court which ordered the federal government to immediately provide internet facility in merged districts. However, no practical step has been taken for provision of the facility.

Like all other sectors, education sector was also impacted after the outbreak of coronavirus and educational institutions had to be closed. The educational institutions started online education system to save precious time of students, but the students in most areas of tribal district could not avail this facility due to lack of internet.

Sunaid Ahmed Dawar, a student of North Waziristan studying in the University of Lahore, said the local students have arranged internet facility for them on self-help basis. However, he said that due to weak system and overload, it works very slowly and many students remain deprived of taking their online classes.

Sunaid said the situation is particularly difficult for female students. “Our girls observe pardah and they cannot travel long distances to go to internet cafes to attend online classes. It is also deemed inappropriate for a girl to scale a mountain to enable her to get internet signals for her mobile phone,” he said.

Due to cultural impediments, it is even considered inappropriate for girls to keep a mobile phone. Sunaid said the government must provide 3G and 4G internet in North Waziristan without further delay because the lack of facility is impacting education progress of tens of thousands of students.