ITU

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World Telecommunication Development Conference 2014

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Statement by H.E. Ms. Anusha Rahman Ahmad Khan, Minister of State for Information Technology, Islamic Republic of Pakistan


Secretary General,

International Telecommunication Union

Excellencies

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a great honor to address this august gathering of leaders around the globe, high level dignitaries, and professionals to share our views on emerging trends and on matters of strategic importance to the development of the information and communication technology sector, especially in the context of this year's theme of World Telecommunication Development Conference "Broadband for Sustainable Development". International Telecommunication Union has convened the 6th ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference 2014 in Dubai with the help of Government of United Arab Emirates. I would like to thank UAE for their warm hospitality and congratulate them for arranging such a successful event.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

ITU, since its creation in 1865, has played a crucial role in sharing best practices, promoting dialogue and developing consensus on critical issues concerning the development of the global telecommunication and information technologies sector. Since 1947, Pakistan has a long history of significant contribution to the work of ITU that has been done to promote the mandate of this specialized Organization of United Nations.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Before I mention the policy of our government to foster the ICTs, I would like to draw your attention towards a matter which requires our immediate consideration. In an era when global connectivity is becoming a reality and people and nations are coming closer irrespective of geographic boundaries- there is a certain hind side of it as well or rather if I say undesired outcomes related to ever expanding cyberspace. Several countries have implemented independent measures to tackle with the challenges of cyberspace/cyber crimes- however; my opinion is that when cyberspace is traversing beyond boundaries -we need to have a common platform to deal with the issue. And I think ITU is the platform which can effectively focus on development of uniform/homogenous legislations and implementation plan related to cyberspace/cybercrimes. My point is that miscreants should not find any place on the globe where they might get away for what they do in cyberspace.

I would like to urge my fellow member states to come together and under the umbrella of ITU and deal with this particular agenda on priority so that we all leverage upon the connectivity and application with confidence that it is safe to do so.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The vision of our government is accelerated digitization to enable socio-economic development. The government has accorded highest priority to the development of ICT infrastructure and applications for the provision of quality services, education, employment generation, and women empowerment. Our policies have earned worldwide acclaim and global acknowledgements. In spite of the stringent economic challenges currently faced by our country, the telecommunications sector of Pakistan has established itself as the national flag-bearer of progress, during the last decade, and as one of the biggest contributors to Pakistan's fiscal growth.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In pursuance of our vision of accelerated digitization, we decided to roll out the spectrum for next generation mobile broadband services. Optic fibre cable and mobile broadband constitute our basic infrastructure for sending out communication. We worked in both directions. Regarding auction of our spectrum, the vision is to give modernization to Pakistan in accordance with the international best practices and global standards. It's important for us to bridge the gap and in a way Pakistan does not miss out on all the opportunities that technology gives to the 60% youth concentrated country. It is a ubiquitous development and we are look at employment opportunities for 900,000 in next five years. We are trying to put our government on e-creating a demand for e-services, enabling the private sector to nurture.

With our e-government plan, we are also then stirring a demand for our need to sustain ourselves to provide basic e-services to citizens of Pakistan. We have a Universal Service Fund (USF) in which we get the funding from the telecom operators, which is to be used for the un-served areas of the country. USF will be making telecentres in initially 500 underserved areas. Those 500 telecentres in all the four provinces, in Islamabad territory, will be providing five identified basic e-services to citizens of the country. USF is also working on laying optic fibre cables in the far-flung areas and rural telephony.

The Research and Development Fund gives out projects that are commercially viable, that industry owns not just the private sector but what the industry wants it too i.e., research and innovation to be in collaboration with the industry. The industry can actually use those projects for the benefit of the masses. R & D Fund is encouraging the IT industry to bring out proposals which can be used for deployment of e-agriculture, e-health, e-learning, e-policing, e-connectivity and e-commerce. This will encourage the IT industry to prepare the software that can be modelled by the government for these specific rollouts.

One of our main priorities is to put the IT industry on the map of Pakistan together as a whole. We have devised a mechanism for quality assurance which will ensure that when the international markets are searching for IT companies which can make products or develop applications for them they can have an access to Pakistani IT Companies through a single platform of Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB). PSEB is also going to build technology parks which will foster a creative environment to IT industry in particular to technology. The government is working to facilitate an environment of creativity, not only provide an infrastructure - this ambience is what brings certain outputs.

Recent developments in the field of Information and Communication Technologies have created numerous opportunities for people around the globe. As the role of the ICTs has evolved into an enabler of growth, it is very important to provide universal, affordable and equitable access to the citizens so that they can reap maximum benefits from the vide-ranging available opportunities worldwide. We believe that proliferation of broadband is the modus operandi to achieve all these goals.

Improved access to information and knowledge, education and delivery of public service through advance ICT facilities has greatly helped in promoting growth and minimizing poverty in Pakistan. The availability of skilled professionals, comprehensive ICT infrastructure coupled with affordable rates for connectivity and Government's business friendly policies, makes Pakistan an exceptional destination for foreign investors in the ICT sector.

Secretary General,

Let me also take this opportunity to particularly thank ITU for providing us assistance when we were recently finalizing the draft of our cyber crime law. On behalf of Government of Pakistan, I appreciate International Telecommunication Union's assistance, for providing statistical data and professional consultancies for the least developed and developing countries, through the Telecommunication Development Bureau.

I would like to conclude by congratulating the International Telecommunication Union for building a network of cooperation amongst member countries. I would like again to thank United Arab Emirates for hosting such an extravagant and excellent conference.

I thank you Ladies and Gentlemen.