900,000 websites blocked over content, says PTA

Published September 27, 2019
The National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecom has been informed that 900,000 URLs have been blocked for reasons such as carrying blasphemous and pornographic content and/or sentiments against the state, judiciary or the armed forces.  — AFP/File
The National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecom has been informed that 900,000 URLs have been blocked for reasons such as carrying blasphemous and pornographic content and/or sentiments against the state, judiciary or the armed forces. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecom has been informed that 900,000 URLs have been blocked for reasons such as carrying blasphemous and pornographic content and/or sentiments against the state, judiciary or the armed forces.

The committee was told by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Thursday that citizens could lodge complaints with the authority against unlawful content.

However, the officials informed the meeting that any criminal activity pertaining to IT or mobile telephony was dealt with by the Federal Investigation Agency and information regarding cybercrime was not available with the PTA.

Citizens can lodge complaints with PTA against unlawful content

They added there was no law in the country that barred the criminals or other people whose SIMs had been blocked, from obtaining new SIMs.

The committee meeting chaired by Ali Khan Jadoon also approved the draft National IT Board (NITB) bill, which was presented by federal Minister for IT and Telecom Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.

Talking to media personnel after the meeting, Mr Siddiqui said: “Pakistan is already lagging behind the world in many areas, including the prevalence of IT. If we do not convert our official working to e-governance now, things will go bad in times to come.”

The minister added that “heavy use” of IT in government offices would help control corruption and mismanagement there.

The NITB is a department that’s attached to the Ministry of IT and Telecom and is mandated to undertake and coordinate e-government initiatives at the federal ministries/divisions and departments, provide consultancy and advisory services relating to acquiring and implementing IT solutions as well as building capacity of staff of these organisations.

After the bill is approved by parliament, the Ministry of IT and Telecom will carry out procurement speedily to remove shortfalls in ICT infrastructure across all federal ministries and divisions to be able to implement an e-office application.

The committee also reviewed the status of the IT park to be established in Islamabad that was conceived in 2008 and for which the Pakistan Software Export Board has obtained 33 acres of land on lease from the Capital Development Authority.

The park is being established with the technical support and loan from South Korea, but the project has been delayed by around two years due to an anonymous complaint lodged with the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) that one of the shortlisted companies was blacklisted in 1990 in Korea.

The committee was told by the officials of the IT ministry that there was “some truth” in the allegations, but the matter was resolved at a joint meeting of the EAD, the Korea Eximbank and the ministry, chaired by former finance minister Asad Umar in February.

IT Secretary Shoaib Siddiqui said the project would be completed by August 2022.

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2019

Opinion

A decade of change & stagnation
Updated 20 Sep 2021

A decade of change & stagnation

Over a decade, three more women out of 100 aged between 19 and 39 have acquired college degrees, compared to only two more men.
All about life
Updated 20 Sep 2021

All about life

There is no shortage of issues on which the Single National Curriculum has stirred controversy.
‘Honourable men’
20 Sep 2021

‘Honourable men’

Is it ambition to support our athletes only after they bring us glory?
Concerns of proxy wars
Updated 19 Sep 2021

Concerns of proxy wars

A lobby in the US favours a plan for proxy warfare so that America can sustain its global influence.

Editorial

20 Sep 2021

Banking for women

AS the old adage goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. How far the new State Bank initiative —...
Off the red list
Updated 20 Sep 2021

Off the red list

There are aspects of coronavirus management, especially by developed nations towards those less so, that smack of discrimination.
20 Sep 2021

Exciting frontiers

HISTORY was made on Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral. It was not the launch of the first, or...
Talking to the Taliban
Updated 19 Sep 2021

Talking to the Taliban

PRIME Minister Imran Khan has announced that he has started a dialogue with the Taliban for the formation of a...
New Zealand’s departure
Updated 19 Sep 2021

New Zealand’s departure

THERE was chaos and despair when New Zealand decided to call off their tour of Pakistan barely minutes before the...
19 Sep 2021

Crucial polio campaign

THE national vaccination campaign that kicked off in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Friday is being described by experts as...