Secretary General ITU Calls on Anusha Rahman

ISLAMABAD: The Secretary General International Telecommunication Union ( ITU) Mr. Houlin Zhao has called upon the Minister of State for ITandTelecom Mrs. Anusha Rahman in her office.

The Minister welcomed Secretary General (ITU) who happens to be in Pakistan in connection with the Asia pacific roundtable conference being hosted by Pakistan and appreciated the efforts of the ITU in harmonizing the use of ICTs throughout the world.

The Minister also briefed the Secretary General regarding the recent development and key initiatives being taken by Pakistan in the field of ICTs

Anusha Rahman said that GOP is fully cognizant of the fact that development of ICTs is a key to spur socio economic growth. Therefore they are rigorously pursuing the agenda of Digital Pakistan on priority basis.

“Our vision of accelerated digitalization will surely transform Pakistan in to a knowledge based economy. She stated that her Government staunchly believes in ubiquitous development of ICTs infrastructure across the country with special emphasis on serving marginalized segment of the society. Therefore we have already rolled out programmes worth Billions of Rupees through USF in order to connect un-served / under-served areas of Pakistan under “Rural telephony project” and we are also ensuring the provisioning of 2G/3G services to all these remote and far flung areas and by end of 2018 such parts of Pakistan will be connected”, commented the minister.

Anusha Rahman further said that our broadband penetration has phenomenally rose to more than 19% from less than 3% within the shortest span of two years and we are anticipating 38% increase by the end of 2020. She said that our Government has successfully curtailed the menace of “Gray Trafficking” Through an appropriate policy intervention and succeeded to bring white minutes back to more than 1.5 Billion per Month.

“We have given a comprehensive telecom policy document which not only covers regulatory framework but also addresses all the challenges being faced by the telecom sector in modern era including availability of spectrum, infrastructure deployment , content and application development, spectrum trading and spectrum sharing etc”, informed the minister.

Anusha Rahman apprised the Secretary General ITU that provision of ICT services to the marginalized segment of the society and women empowerment are the main focused areas which are being dealt on priority basis by the current government. They have started a special program for the girls of lower income strata/poor segment of the society through ICT for Girls Project and Latest Skills of Coding and Computing are being taught to them so that they could earn their livelihood honorably, while sitting at their homes. 150 Women empowerment Centres of Baitulmaal are being equipped for this purpose.

She further said that in order to promote and train the young entrepreneurs, the first National Incubations Centre has been established which will start functioning soon. First state of the art technology park is being established in Islamabad and two more such parks will also be established soon at Lahore and Karachi respectively.

Anusha Rahman said that “Cyber Security” has become a “Global Concern” now. We believe that “offline rights should also be available online” and ITU being a leading global platform must play its role to address this growing global concern. She also suggested that ITU may constitute an “Advisory Committee” comprising of all stakeholders to study this new emerging phenomenon and could take policy measures on recommendations of Advisory Committee.

Minister also raised the “Afghan sims issue with Secretary General ITU. These sims are reportedly being sold at “Pak-Afghan border” area.

Secretary General ITU appreciated the visionary leadership of Minister for ITandTelecom Anusha Rahman and also congratulated her for hosting a global event of Asian pacific round table conference first time being held in Pakistan. In his maiden visit to Pakistan Secretary General discussed areas of further expansions in ICT including mechanism for handling cyber crimes and cyber security.

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