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The availability of Internet will ensure inaccessible parts of the country: Anusha Rehman

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ISLAMABAD:(APS)August 26,2016- In a special address to the third session Members of 8th Youth Parliament Pakistan today, Honourable State Minister of Information Technology & Telecommunications, Ms. Anusha Rehman Khan, MNA, said that in order to provide internet and development opportunities to the deprived and inaccessible areas of Pakistan such as Interior Balochistan, FATA and some areas of AJK & GB, the Ministry is determined to provide affordable access to these areas by the end of 2018.

The Minister, while talking to the Members, shared that in two years in office, the ministry has been successful in introducing 3G & 4G networks on smartphones. Broadband penetration has increased from 3 per cent to 24 per cent in less than two years. She emphasised the importance of Broadband technology as it brings to the people the opportunity to connect and use technology to attain their means. In order to reach out to rural class, the IT Ministry, in collaboration with Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), is looking forward to provide smartphones to the qualified women enrolled in BISP programme. The smartphones would have applications along with Rs. 200 balance for 1 year; the qualified women would also be trained to use smartphones.

Ms. Khan, recording the achievements of the IT Ministry, also said that entrepreneurship is being introduced to train young schoolgirls, and Bait Ul Maal children in coding and computing. This effort is being done in collaboration with the Microsoft.

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Talking about E-Governance, the Minister said that 7000 Federal Government employees have been trained to use technology in the best possible way and many Ministries and departments, particularly the IT Ministry, have computed their records instead of placing them in hard copies. Pakistan has become the first SAARC country to have completed and initiated the process of implementation in E-Governance.

Speaking about the Prevention of the Electronic Crimes Act 2016, Ms. Khan said that passage of the Act was possible through sustained engagement of stakeholders and due process in Parliament. The legislation is regarded as exemplary that deals with the issue of cyber security. Though there was a lot of confusion about the contents of the Act in relation to its purported ‘misuse’ by the State, the legislation has designed to protect the privacy and safety of individuals. She also shared that the IT Ministry has achieved 4 international recognitions during the current term. In the end, Ms. Khan appreciated and acknowledged the efforts of PILDAT in providing a platform to young Pakistanis to get trained in the political and democratic affairs of Pakistan.

Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President PILDAT, addressed the Members on Electoral Reforms in Pakistan and Ms. Ammara Durrani, Strategic Communications Expert talked to the Members on Media & Communication Skills.

The 8th Youth Parliament Pakistan is supported by the Danish International Development Agency, Government of Denmark as recognition of the importance of young people’s involvement in democracy and democratic practices.

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