ISLAMABAD: While Twitter and Facebook have expressed their inability to establish offices in Pakistan in near future, the world’s largest search engine and video-sharing platform Google is set to open a liaison office in Pakistan.

IT and Telecom Minister Syed Aminul Haque on Friday announced the global giant has already registered itself as a company in Pakistan.

“A delegation of Google is scheduled to come to Pakistan early next week from Singapore and the company will likely announce the establishment of a functional office here,” Mr Haque told Dawn.

He also disclosed that TikTok has also agreed to establish a liaison office in Pakistan.

However, Google has already taken a lead in this regard and the company has already been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Karachi registry.

Registration is the first step towards the establishment of the office, which is one of the requirements under the Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards) Rules 2021.

Twitter, Meta still reluctant on inconsistent policies, say industry sources

The social media platforms will have to abide by the laws and the norms of Pakistan after getting registered and opening offices.

The rules also require the social media platforms to have their “servers” in Pakistan to ensure that the data was secure. Currently, the data of all the platforms are stored outside the country.

The IT minister has recently expressed confidence that more social media platforms will establish their offices in Pakistan, but industry sources said that Twitter and Meta have been reluctant so far.

A senior executive of one of the telecom companies in the country said that both Twitter and Meta were undergoing some radical structural changes, and they have laid off a large number of employees in the region and globally too.

“The members of negotiating teams for Pakistan in Meta, representing Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have been changed, therefore no headway is expected in discussions with Meta and Twitter,” the executive said.

On the other hand sources in the telecom industry said that despite assurances by the IT ministry regarding a business-friendly environment, the inconsistent policies have led to mistrust among the companies and they were hesitant to establish offices in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday visited the Asia Pacific headquarters of Meta (Facebook), Singapore to launch the “Stars Programme” for monetisation in Pakistan.

The programme will contribute to the capacity building of young entrepreneurs for Pakistan’s growing number of Meta content developers.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Election time
Updated 27 Jan, 2023

Election time

There are concerns whether the ECP will be sufficiently able to protect the integrity of elections if they are held under partisan governments.
SCO invite
27 Jan, 2023

SCO invite

THOUGH India’s invitation to Pakistan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation events in Goa later this ...
Call to arms
27 Jan, 2023

Call to arms

ONE way the state abdicates responsibility in Pakistan is by farming out its functions to the private sector. In ...
Nuclear miscalculations
26 Jan, 2023

Nuclear miscalculations

IF the claim of former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, that Pakistan and India came close to a nuclear exchange...
Exchange rate cap
26 Jan, 2023

Exchange rate cap

THE ‘management’ of the exchange rate by the State Bank, allegedly at the behest of the government, to ward off...
Fawad’s arrest
Updated 26 Jan, 2023

Fawad’s arrest

Does the state really need to fan public discontent in a period as fraught with uncertainty as this?