Sat. Dec 5th, 2020

Committee being formed for uplift of telecom sector in AJK, Gilgit-Baltistan

Islamabad: The Ministry of Information Technology & Telecom and Ministry of Kashmir Affairs have given the nod to constitute a committee for submission of mechanism report to ensure uplift of telecom sector in AJK and Giligt Baltistan.

In a meeting between Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Ch. Muhammad Barjees Tahir. the State Minister for IT Anusha Rahman, the issues of infrastructure development of IT and Telecom in under-served and un-served areas of AJK and GB were discussed.

It was decided to constitute a committee comprising officials from Ministry of IT & Telecom, Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and GB, Universal Service Fund Company and PTA to submit a report within 10 days for the formulation of mechanism in this regard.

State Minister for IT apprised the Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, that the Telecom operators providing telecommunication services in AJK and Gilgit Baltistan are depositing USF contributions with PTA in accordance with their license terms.

This amount has to be utilized for provision of telecom services to un-served, undeserved areas of AJK and GB.

Anusha Rahman apprised the Federal Minister, Ch. Muhammad Barjees Tahir that a mechanism needs to be formulated in order to use this amount.

She said that despite multiple requests from MOIT in the past, this matter remains pending for the last many years.

She hoped that involvement of federal minister for Kashmir Affairs would help to actively look into the outstanding issue for a resolution.

PTA officials and Universal Service Fund Company also apprised the meeting about absence of any mechanism for deployment of this contribution. They told that such funds remain parked with PTA, and requiring intervention at Ministerial level.

The Federal Minister Ch. Muhammad Barjees Tahir regretted the neglect of those responsible inthe past, and assured his full support in helping expedite resolution of the matter so that thiscontribution could be used for the welfare of the people of AJK and GB at the earliest.

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