The four-day annual program “Pakistan School on Internet Governance“ (PkSIG) has just concluded in Karachi.
This year’s PkSIG featured more than 50% participation from Balochistan and interior Sindh. A total of 48 participants (with 13 female members) and over 15 national and international speakers attended the event.
PkSIG has been conducted every year since 2015 with prior events held at three schools at Islamabad (2015), Lahore (2016) and Peshawar (2017).
PkSIG aims to help internet users to better understand global, regional and national IG issues, settings, and processes, while gaining access to comprehensive and structured knowledge on various aspects of IG, the actors, issues and settings surrounding it. Their target is capacity building of Internet Governance leaders with the aim of preparing them to lead IG-related discussions at national, regional and global levels.
PkSIG features a host of professional lectures/talks on the topic of Internet Governance, offering an intensive learning course spanning several tracks covering political, legal, economic, socio-cultural, technological and other dimensions of the Internet Governance within the context of the Pakistani national imperatives. The extensive list of topics introduced in PkSIG include:
- Introduction to Internet Governance, its History and Principles;
- Introduction to I* Organizations; Internet Infrastructure;
- Internet and Digital Divide;
- Internet of Things (IoT);
- Cyber Security; Internet Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities;
- Computer Emergency Readiness Teams (CERTs);
- ICTs as enabler of SDGs;
- Internet based Start-up and SMEs in Pakistan;
- Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs);
- Digital Financial Inclusion services;
- Internet Ecosystem in Pakistan;
- Internet Laws and Policies in Pakistan;
- and finally fellowships and grant opportunities in the domain of internet governance.
In addition to theoretical sessions, PkSIG program also includes engagement activities for participants like debates.
The faculty who spoke at PkSIG are all well-known highly qualified national and international experts in their fields. A look at the profiles of the speakers presents a diverse picture of government, business, technical community and civil society representation:
- Mr. Parvez Iftikhar, the Chair of the PkSIG Steering Committee, is former CEO of USF and an International Consultant;
- Mr. Maroof Shahani is Chief Operating Officer of Cyber Net;
- Mr. Tom Chottayil Varghese came all the way to speak at the PkSIG from Facebook Singapore, where he is Manager Connectivity and Access Policy;
- Mr. Fahd Batayneh, ICANN Manager Global Stakeholder Engagement Middle East flew in from Jordan;
- Mr. Naveed Haq is Manager Development of Internet Society (ISOC) Asia-Pacific;
- Mr. Muhammad Shabbir Awan who is Member Board of Directors of Internet Society Islamabad Chapter is a visually impaired scholar;
- Ms. Nighat Dad is Executive Director at Digital Rights Foundation;
- Dr. Sarmad Hussain, who deals with IDNS at ICANN, also runs a research center at the University of Engineering and Technology Lahore;
- Mr. Imad Memon is Director General (Licensing), PTA;
- Mr. Shahjahan Chaudhary is Project Director of National Incubation Centre (NIC), Karachi;
- Mr. Ahmed Bakhat and Dr. Shahbaz Nasir are Deputy Directors for Cyber Security, and Commercial Affairs respectively at PTA;
- Mr. Waqas Hassan is President Internet Society Islamabad Chapter;
- Mr. Fouad Bajwa is Internet Governance and Public Policy Advisor;
- Mr. Zakir Syed is ICT Consultant;
- Mr. Ihtisham Khalid assists in teaching at FAST; Mr. Ismail works at SSN Skies;
- and, Mr. Mubashir Sargana who is a cyber security expert.
It is worth mentioning that PKSIG program is organized and run by a “Steering Committee” comprising purely of volunteers. It is responsible for all the logistics and arrangements (including arranging funding) for the event. This time, they received support and sponsorship from Cybernet, Facebook, Internet Society Islamabad Chapter, Asia Pacific Alliance for Schools and Academies for Internet Governance (APASA), E-Commerce Gateway Pakistan, Jafar Brothers, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).