PM Imran approves setting up of Civil Drone Authority to regulate industry

Published March 13, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan  speaking at a press conference. – AP/File Photo
Prime Minister Imran Khan speaking at a press conference. – AP/File Photo

Prime Minister Imran Khan approved the establishment of a Civil Drone Authority for the country on Saturday, a statement from his office said.

The decision came after a meeting with relevant officials in Islamabad, the statement said, adding that the authority will put in place an institutionalised mechanism to facilitate development and regulation of drone technology in Pakistan.

Addressing the meeting, the prime minister said employing drone technology for commercial, research and development, agricultural and other peaceful purposes was the need of the hour.

The authority will be mandated to regulate and control the unmanned aircraft system in the country. It will also decide matters related to licensing, importing, manufacturing, examining and issuing of drone permits, according to the statement.

Responsibilities of the authority will include developing standards for manufacturing, operations, training and research and development. Furthermore, it will also provide technical guidance to the industrial sector to facilitate domestic manufacturing.

"The authority will also have the power to impose fines and penalties, revoke licences and prosecute," the statement said.

"The establishment of the authority will not only fill the gap that exists due to the absence of any law on drones, but will also play an important role in the development of drone technology and production in the country," it added.

The premier said the process of legislation for the establishment of the authority should be completed on a "priority basis", adding that it should be introduced in Parliament after approval by the cabinet.

"Effective use of drone technology will help improve resource utilisation and service delivery," the statement quoted the PM as saying.

Headed by the secretary of the Aviation Division, the composition of the authority will include senior level representation from the Pakistan Air Force, Civil Aviation, Defence Production, Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Science and Technology.

It will also include a representative from each of the federating units including Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Three eminent experts of the field will also be members of the authority.

"The involvement of all stakeholders will help in the performance of the duties of the authority and better coordination between the institutions," said the statement.

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry also took to Twitter to provide further details about the tasks of the authority. He said it would regulate the use of all non-military drones such as those used for hobby or leisure pursuits.

"Establishment of drone authority is another milestone achieved," he said, adding that currently the focus was on drones for agricultural and police use.

"Another initiative to establish Disruptive Technologies Authority is also underway that'll pave the way for 3D printers and robotics industry in Pakistan."

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