My first reaction when I came across the headline, “Elon Musk’s Starlink not given license to operate in Pakistan” was that this country is not ready for progress. For those who don’t know, Starlink is the new game-changing internet service offered by the SpaceX company. If its office opened in Pakistan, perhaps we would say goodbye to the laggy connections, frozen people on zoom, and torturous internet speed.
Perhaps our love for frail internet that gets interrupted whenever a single drop of rain falls on the ground is too much. I was reminded of the era of the 90s when the religious clerics had it for the speakers and televisions, calling them the instrument of the devils. We Pakistanis have always been the ones who shied away from progress, and considering how we had been slapping religious restrictions in front of everyone, it wouldn’t be long before we claim that Metaverse is a mockery of God’s majestic creation.
The moment I opened the article and started reading, it dawned upon me that the headlines were quite misleading. All those words that I had written previously in this article were retracted, considering the news had a knack for capturing people’s attention using misleading titles. Here I was, trying to fathom how Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) was brazen enough to not grant licenses to the brainchild of one of America’s greatest entrepreneurs, Elon Musk. His inventions are transforming the world, and to deny the privilege that his revolution could bring in any country would be no less than a sacrilege in the face of evolution. Of course, the real matter is completely different. If anything, PTA made things more streamlined and brought a wonderful partner onboard.
What happened was that Starlink’s fame reached all around the world. The name itself attracted some of the potential Pakistani buyers who went as far as placing pre-orders. None of this sat well with PTA who emphasizes doing things by the book. Though in some cases, this can be a pain, this time it was necessary to avoid any kind of mess that might have been created. PTA made it clear that Starlink has not applied for, or obtained any commercial license to operate in Pakistan. Therefore, all Pakistanis were advised not to place any pre-orders. Earlier this year, the Minister of IT held a meeting with a delegation of Starlink, and after the fruitful session, Starlink has announced its plans to open an office in Pakistan.
So this was the entire matter. It is worthy of mention that reading the headline evokes only a certain kind of reaction, which is not where we want to go to! So, next time you see a conflicting piece of news somewhere, be sure to read more than just the title.