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Pakistan urges regional collaboration in addressing common ICT challenges

Pakistan underscored the importance of regional collaboration in addressing common ICT challenges through dialogue and knowledge sharing.

The first meeting of the South Asian Telecommunication Regulators’ Council (SATRC) on Policy Regulation and Services commenced recently in Islamabad.

Organised by the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) and hosted by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the three-day international meeting convenes regulatory experts and policymakers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

The meeting started with an inaugural event attended by industry and government stakeholders.

Masanori Kondo, secretary general of the APT, in his welcome address, urged the delegates to actively engage in insightful discussions and commended the PTA for organising the workshop.

Dr Khawar Siddique Khokar, Member Compliance and Enforcement PTA who is also the chair of the SATRC Working Group on Policy, Regulation, and Services (PRS) in his address, outlined the meeting’s primary objective: fostering the exchange of insights, experiences, and best practices to address challenges, explore opportunities, and finalise initial steps on work items.

Chairman PTA Maj General Hafeezur Rehman (retired) in his inaugural note, underscored the importance of regional collaboration in addressing common ICT challenges through dialogue and knowledge sharing, and highlighted the importance of learning from each other's experiences to effectively introduce new technologies and services while safeguarding consumer rights and nurturing industry growth.

Shaza Fatima, Minister of State for IT and Telecom, who was the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony, outlined Pakistan’s visionary initiative of a digitally empowered country with the aim of providing access to every citizen across Pakistan.

She emphasised Pakistan’s vast potential as a nation of 250 million, predominantly youth, and how their useful participation can boost growth. She stressed on boarding the 50 percent of the total population, which is female, and reiterated the prime minister’s and the Ministry of IT and Telecom’s commitment to gender inclusion. She lauded the chairman PTA's leadership in bridging the digital gender gap, acknowledging significant strides in this area.

The STARC meeting serves as a vital platform for comprehending the dynamic ICT landscape, initiating research analysis, and setting agendas for the next two years.

Over the next two days, the meeting will feature 10 sessions, each dedicated to crucial contemporary topics and trends in the regional telecommunication sector.

The workshop’s first day featured four sessions. The initial session highlighted insights from APT’s GA-16 and MC-47, focusing on SATRC and beyond. The second session addressed the regulatory challenges of new technologies and smart solutions for broadband. The third session explored maximising the Universal Service Obligation Fund for digital inclusion. Lastly, the workshop discussed enhancing ICT E-Waste Management Regulations for Sustainable Development, emphasizing the need for effective regulations and strategies to ensure a greener future.