October 18, 2018

Senate forms committee to resolve data services suspension in parts of province

News Source: Express Tribune

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication on Wednesday directed a committee to be constituted to resolve the issue of the suspension of internet and mobile cellular services in several districts of Balochistan.

The committee met under the chairmanship of Senator Rubina Khalid while Senator Abdul Rehman Malik, Dr Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, Rukhsana Zuberi, Sana Jamali, Taj Muhammad Afridi and Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh also attended the meeting.

The suspension of internet and mobile services was raised by Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Shahi upon which the committee sought an urgent response from the spy agency.

The committee has to submit its report to the Senate on the suspension issue on October 30.

A representative of the Universal Service Fund (USF) told the committee that on February 2017, data services in seven district of Balochistan had been shut. But in March 2018, the services were restored in three districts, viz Chaman, Kharan and Dalbandin, he added.

The representative said that much of the telecommunication infrastructure in Balochistan had been laid by the USF. He added that the USF had undertaken various broadband-related projects in the province like Sustainable Development Programme, Optic Fibre Cable programme and special project initiatives.

Senator Main Muhammad Ateeq objected to the delay in E-Office project which had been launched 10 years ago. The contract, he added, had been awarded to the LMKT and the project was supposed to be completed within 30 months.

National Information Technology Board (NITB) representative Nasir A Naqwi told the committee that due to some technological challenges, the project suffered delays, but now it was on track for completion soon.

Naqwi briefed the Senate committee about the ongoing projects of E-Office in all federal government divisions, online recruitment system for FPSC, strengthening of ICT infrastructure and office automation of President Secretariat. The projects, he added, would be completed in 2019.

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