NA body briefed on USF’s ongoing, future projects, cybercrimes [DailyTimes] 23 Jan, 2020

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication held here on Wednesday under the chair of MNA Mr Ali Khan Jadoon in Parliament House was briefed on various issues by concerned formations.The Committee expressed its grave concern over the absence of Federal Secretary, M/o Interior in three meetings of the Committee consecutively. The Committee directed the Secretaries Cabinet/Establishment Divisions to take stern action against him and decided to take up the matter with the Standing Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges.The Secretary, M/o Information Technology and Telecommunication gave detailed briefing on USF ongoing and future projects. He explained that funds have been utilized on all the projects within the country. In this regard, they have designed the programs to cater for the needs of un-served and underserved segment of population across Pakistan. Furthermore, USF is also collecting data from telecom operators regarding their existing coverage in the country and also design projects to upgrade existing infrastructure to provide 3G services.The Secretary Information also informed the Committee that at present, USF is in the process of identification of under-served areas of rural Islamabad after which approval of Federal Government will be sought. Once approved by the Federal Government, funds will be allocated, and projects will be launched for coverage of Mobile Broadband Services to under-served rural areas of Islamabad. As per directions of the Standing Committee, USF shall also utilized exclusively for providing access to telecommunication services to people in the un-served, under-served, rural and remote areas.The Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) apprised the Committee that complaints regarding online contents would be registered in PTA. Section 37 of Pakistan Electronic Crime Act empowered PTA to just block objectionable contents and cybercrime is not our subject, he further added. If any complaint registered, which is other than contents, the PTA will send it to FIA. Director General, FIA briefed the Committee regarding cybercrimes, security and objectionable material posted in Social Media where they stated that new cybercrime project has been commenced in September, 2018 with 2 years completion time and Rs.1128 million project cost. NOC was also granted for the recruitment of 416 officers on 2 years contract, whereas, this project will fasten the cases process rapidly.Director General, National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) briefed the Committee regarding the issues related to cybercrimes. He told that NACTA have no power to remove or block any content from any website and could not take action against any unlawful content. NACTA only referred the matter to PTA for further action at their end.The meeting was attended by MNAs Mr. Sahibzada Sibghatullah, Mr. Makhdoom Zain Hussain Qureshi, Ms. Kanwal Shauzab, Ms. Nusrat Wahid, Mr. Muhammad Hashim, Ms. Ayesh Rajab Ali, Ms. Romina Khursheed Alam, Ms. Maiza Hameed, Ms. Shamim Ara Panhwar, Mr. Mahesh Kumar Malani, Ms. Naz Baloch, Syed Mehmood Shah. The meeting was also attended by Mover of the Bill, Syed Fakhar Imam, MNA and senior officers of M/o IT&T, FIA, NACTA, PTA, and M/o Law & Justice.

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