Pakistan’s journey towards digital transformation, & connectivity – MOITT at forefront


By Zahoor Ahmed

ISLAMABAD, Aug 20 (APP): In an era when technology is transforming to the next level with each passing day, and nations are striving to surpass each other in this field, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MOITT) is playing a pivotal role in empowering Pakistan’s digital future.

Through visionary policies and proactive measures, the MOITT is driving technological advancements and fostering enhanced connectivity across the country.

These efforts are not only shaping the nation’s digital landscape but also positioning Pakistan as a dynamic player in the global tech arena.

In recent years, Pakistan’s IT sector has undergone remarkable growth and development, making strides towards becoming a digital powerhouse in the region.

Recognizing the importance of digital transformation for economic progress, MOITT has been at the forefront for fostering a conducive ecosystem for businesses, investors, and innovators.

With a skilled workforce, growing digital infrastructure and proactive measures to strengthen cyber security, Pakistan is fast becoming an attractive destination for investment in IT-related ventures.

The MOITT has laid the groundwork for a flourishing startup ecosystem by establishing Incubation Centers across the country. These centers provide startups with essential resources, mentoring and support to foster innovation and growth.

To propel software development and IT-enabled services, the MOITT is setting up Software Technology Parks equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.

These specialized zones create an enabling environment for technology companies to thrive, contributing to the IT export industry’s substantial growth.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is also aiming to reduce its dependency on imports and create local employment opportunities by promoting mobile manufacturing and the government, through the MOITT, offers incentives and facilities to attract investment in this sector.

Recognizing the telecom sector’s pivotal role in Pakistan’s digital transformation, the MOITT prioritizes support for telecom companies in order to create an enabling environment for their operations and encourage further investments in expanding and enhancing the nation’s telecom infrastructure.

In an era marked by increasing cyber threats, the MOITT took significant strides to bolster Pakistan’s cyber security posture. The federal cabinet of the last PML-N led coalition government approved the Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) Rule 2023, a comprehensive framework to address emerging cyber security risks at national and organizational levels.

The CERTs serve as frontline defenders against cyber incidents, enhancing the country’s ability to manage and respond to cyber security threats.

The Ministry of IT has also introduced a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution project with the primary goal of bolstering the security of NTC’s data and servers. The system will be responsible for monitoring data and promptly notifying the relevant departments in case of any cyber attack.

A ministry official highlighted the continuous efforts to modernize NTC in accordance with present-day requirements.

He said in a significant move, the Ministry has launched “Beep Pakistan” the country’s inaugural communication application.

Developed by the National Information Technology Board (NITB), this application aimed to enhance communication and operational efficiency within government organizations, he said.

Further elaborating the software, the official said The Beep Pakistan application was equipped with features such as secure messaging, document sharing, rapid audio and video calls, and conference capabilities.

Following a one-month test phase, the application would be accessible to all government officers and officials, while upon successful integration and utilization at the governmental level, the application would be made available to general public after a year.

The primary objective of the Beep Pakistan application was to establish a secure and efficient platform for digital communication among government officials and employees, he added.

The Ministry of IT is unwavering in its commitment to realize the vision of Digital Pakistan and under this vision, the Universal Service Fund (USF) has awarded a contract valued at approximately Rs. 6.78 billion to Ufone. This contract aims to provide high-speed mobile broadband services in the Sibbi district of Balochistan province and along Motorway M-8.

Two new projects have been launched to provide uninterrupted voice and 4G broadband data services in Balochistan. The first project, valued at Rs. 1.96 billion, seeks to empower around 34,000 individuals across 47 Mauzas in the Sibbi district. The second project, worth Rs. 4.82 billion, focuses on ensuring voice and 4G coverage across 478 km of previously underserved road segments along the M-8 motorway.

These road segments traverse various districts, including Gwadar, Kech, Awaran, Khuzdar, and Jhal Magsi in Balochistan Province, as well as Kambar Shahdad Kot and Larkana in Sindh Province.

According to official data, over the past five years, the USF has initiated 21 projects worth Rs. 27.12 billion under its high-speed broadband program. These projects aim to provide 4G data services throughout the province.

The deployment of 936 BTS sites is planned to serve approximately 2.9 million residents across 2,760 mauzas. Additionally, 2,205 km of unserved road segments along Motorway M-8, Coastal Highway, National Highway 25 & 65, and 50 & 70 are set to receive connectivity. Of these, around 56% (527 BTS sites) are already operational, benefiting around 2 million residents across 1,726 mauzas and covering 1,727 km of unserved road segments.

It is noteworthy that of the total 3,096 BTS sites installed in Balochistan, approximately 36.5% (1,131 sites) have been deployed through USF projects. Within these USF-deployed sites, around 87.3% (988 sites) are currently utilized to offer voice and high-speed broadband (4G) services across the province.

The Ministry of IT and Telecommunication remains dedicated to enhancing the lives of local communities in Balochistan by granting improved access to employment opportunities, education, and healthcare facilities.

Hatem Bamatraf, President and Group CEO of PTCL & Ufone 4G, highlighted Ufone’s pivotal role in shaping nationwide connectivity.

He stressed that connectivity served as the foundation for socio-economic development, enabling access to vital services including education, healthcare, and employment.

Through a strategic partnership between Ufone 4G and USF, efforts are directed towards expanding network connectivity across Sindh and Balochistan provinces ensuring that Pakistan is digitally empowered Pakistan leaving no citizen behind.


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