ISLAMABAD, May 28: Minister for Information Technology (IT) and KANA Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira Wednesday said that government was mulling over linking Pakistan with China, India, Afghanistan and Iran through fibre optic connection.
Talking to the mediamen here at a license awarding ceremony to 24 companies for Long Distance International (LDI), Fixed Local Loop (FLL), Wireless Local Loop (WLL), and Class Value Added Services (CVAS) licenses, Kaira said he was in favour of extending the deadline for SIMs registration.
"The PPP government is also looking into the issue of PTCL employees and the decision would be taken in interest of the employees," he said.
Earlier, addressing the license awarding ceremony, Kaira said the government was making efforts to introduce the e-government in the country and by next three years, at least 45 ministries would be linked to e-government.
"This would help bring in efficiency, transparency, better functioning. This would also help the media and no one would have to go to offices for compliance of their tasks as everything would be available on internet," he said.
The Minister was of the view that parliamentary committees were functioning exuberantly and this was helping in bringing better performance in the governance.
Kaira expressed his pleasure that the country was opening up its space for communication purposes and more and more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was coming in.
He lauded the services of PTA, saying that the body had done a better regulation of the telecom industry.
"The telecom industry is the only sector worldwide which is consumer-friendly. Yet it is expanding rapidly. As Pakistan wants to give access to China and the central Asian states to our ports, better provision of communication across country would help in this process," he said.
Urging the companies to ensure maximum coverage in the far-flung areas of AJK and NAs, Kaira said this would help the telecom industry grow with great pace.
He said the government would use the fund of the industry to provide subsidy to the people of suburbs and far-flung areas to ensure maximum coverage in the rural areas.
PTA Chairman Shahzada Alam Malik said that since 1976 only SCO was operating in AJ&K and Northern Areas.Now fixedline licenses are being awarded to private operators which is a historic development.He said that through these licenses huge proceeds are expected.
Chairman PTA said that 5 licenses for mobile phone services were already given for AJK and NAs and now mobile services are avilable in these areas.He said that future of telecom business in Pakistan is bright and consumers would get advanced services in days to come.He further said that as for telecom services Pakistan is the cheapest country in the region.
Secretary KANA Salman Siddique, Home Secretary NAs Sardar Muhammad Abbas and Secretary Finance AJK Fahimulla Khattak also addressed.
Later, Kaira distributed 24 licenses to 13 companies that included Link Direct, Wateen, Telenor, PTCL, World Call, InterWorld, Sky Telecom, Great Bear, WOL, DaleelTeq, BTC, Cybernet, and Mobilink.
The PTA would get around $1,70,000 against the issue of these licenses as an initial amount. The PTA has already paid Rs. 1.2 billion to AJK and NAs for 5 cellular companies licenses which were awarded to Mobilink, Telenor, Warid Telecom, UFone in June 2006 while CMPak was awarded a license in August 2007.
Out of the total amount, AJK Council had got Rs. 927.6 million while Chief Secretary NAs was paid Rs. 277.1 million against the licenses awarded to cell companies.