June 7, 2013: As parliament takes shape and ministries are awarded, we urge the government to be cognizant of the need for a full-time, Federal Minister for Information and Technology (MoIT) and give the office to someone conversant in matters pertaining to this field.
The field of information technology is fast-paced and rapidly evolving, with advancements on a daily basis. With no serving minister in place – as was the case during the tenure of the previous government, under which the portfolio was retained by the prime minister – technological and economic advancement of the industry locally, has been slow.
While most countries enjoy 3G technology – including Afghanistan – and are moving on to 4G technology, Pakistan still awaits the sanctioning of 3G licences. YouTube remains blocked to date. Denial of access & services had become a norm of sorts – whether to websites or to cellular services.
On both the business and civil liberties front, much needs to be set right. Moreover, it is necessary to change Pakistan’s image as an investor’s nightmare, and make the environment more conducive to doing business, so the local community can benefit from it. The emergence of startups and entrepreneurs should be celebrated, and hurdles should be removed from their paths to enable the ease of doing business. In an industry with so much potential for growth, progressive and futuristic policies are the need of the hour.
We hope the government will address this need and play a positive role in strengthening local actors in the industry and civil society, and take them along in decision-making for better growth, development and economic advancement. We remain hopeful this government will uphold civil liberties and promote open access and Internet penetration.
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