Participants of the workshop held under the initiative of Pakistan School of Internet Governance (PkSIG), including government, academia, industry and civil society, have strongly recommended to devise a comprehensive strategy for internet governance in the country.
The four-day event, organized by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and National Textile University in partnership with Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Asia-Pacific Network Internet Centre (APNIC), and Internet Society (ISOC), concluded at HEC Secretariat on Thursday.
Ms. Anusha Rahman, Minister of State for IT and Telecom, was chief guest at the closing ceremony. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC, Dr. Ismail Shah, Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Mr. Walid Irshaid, President and CEO PTCL, Dr. Arshad Ali, Rector NTU, Dr. Raza Bhatti, Executive Director HEC, and Mr. Anwar Amjad, DG (IT) HEC were also present on the occasion.
The workshop participants held brainstorming sessions on political, legal, economic, socio-cultural, technological and other dimensions of the Internet Governance within the context of the Pakistani national imperatives.
They agreed that stable and flexible functioning of internet is extremely important which is impossible in the absence of a well thought-out policy addressing numerous challenges associated with the internet management
The participants have given recommendations related to cybersecurity, cybercrime, cyber laws, internet taxation, privacy, national internet governance forum, e-public services, rural connectivity, IPv6, public policy development platform, capacity building and awareness, digital economy, business opportunities in the domain name industry, web accessibility, censorship, net neutrality and zero rating, gender balance and participation, and improve ICT infrastructure.
The speakers narrated history of Internet since 1950s and the story how it evolved over the years. The session covered Internet users statistics, infrastructure, Internet QoS, ISPs in the country, mobile operators, undersea cables, the ccTLD, the IDN ccTLD, root-server instances, IXPs, stakeholder groups, IPv4 and IPv6, international involvement, mobile apps, 3G/4G, smart-phones, research and educational networks, role of academia in the Internet development, social media usage, local content and various other topics of the interest of Internet users.
Speaking at the occasion, Ms. Anusha Rahman appreciated HEC and NTU for launching the School on Internet Governance in partnership with ICANN, APNIC and ISOC. She stressed that the Government is taking concrete steps to ensure effective internet governance in Pakistan in order to make internet a safe facility for each and every user.
The Minister said that MoIT was focusing on building infrastructure to enhance internet accessibility in the country, and development of an ecosystem to expand connectivity of internet. She said the Government was rapidly moving towards a paperless environment in the public sector, adding that initially 13 ministries will have ‘less paper environment’ by December this year.
Ms. Anusha Rahman underscored the Government’s initiatives for promotion of IT sector and said that they are working on E-governance and E-commerce initiatives. She said the Government has launched various projects with mobile companies to connect people in far flung areas providing them with 3G and 4G facilities. She said state-of-the-art tele-centres are being established in far flung areas in order to ensure that people there benefit from modern facilities and technologies.
Syed Ismail Shah, Chiarman PTA shared updates about development in the telecommunication sector, as well as different initiatives of PTA for advancement and regulation in different areas of ICT and telecom sector.
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC briefed the Minister about HEC’s journey for strengthening the IT environment of the higher education sector during the last 12 years. He described different initiatives of HEC including Digital Library, Video Conferencing, Pakistan Research Repository, Pakistan Education and Research Network, Anti-plagiarism Software, Scholarship portal, etc. He said HEC is now working on the concept of smart universities where students will have access to information wherever they want in their campuses.
The Chairman said HEC will hold more events on internet governance in future and will also encourage higher learning institutions to hold such events under the auspices of PkSIG.