To commemorate World Telecom and Information Society Day (WTIS) 2009, Ministry of Information Technology held an event in Islamabad which was attended by representatives of public sector, industry and academia. WTIS theme for this year is ‘Protecting children in cyberspace’.
On this World Telecom day 2009, Universal Service Fund also signed contracts for two more projects for providing ‘Optic Fiber Connectivity to un-served Tehsils in Balochistan’ and ‘Telecom Services in Rural Larkana’.
The Chief Guest at the event, Engr. Shaukat Ullah, Parliamentary Secretary-Information Technology while delivering his address said that Government of Pakistan believes that legal, technical and institutional challenges posed by the issues of protecting children in cyber space are global and can only be addressed through a coherent strategy taking into account the role of different stakeholders. He appreciated the efforts of Ministry of Information Technology, to undertake challenging and productive programs in the future for the promotion of ICTs especially for safeguarding our children in Cyberspace.
Giving his remarks, Federal Secretary for Information Technology, Hifz-ur-Rehman said that WTIS Day marks the founding of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865. He was of the view that there are over 1.5 billion internet users around the world and over 90% of teens and young adults use internet. He added that 3 in 4 children are willing to share their personal information online and 1 in 5 children are targeted by a predator each year. He said that in light of this year’s theme for WTIS day, government and industry must join hands for protecting our youth from technology-related threats. Secretary IT also congratulated PTCL and Wateen Telecom on winning the bidding for Rural Telecom and Optic Fiber and projects in Balochistan and Larkana respectively.
While giving presentation on the theme for WTIS Day 2009, Mr. Mushtaq Ahmed Bhatti, Member (Telecom), Ministry of IT, apprised the audience about the ITU initiatives and the cyber risks for children like uncontrolled access to inappropriate material, interaction with strangers, harassment in chat rooms, sharing of personal information, online gaming and addiction, etc. He emphasized that to educate children about these risks, it is imperative that both parents and teachers should have awareness about these issues. He also persuaded all the stakeholders to carry the WTIS Day theme of the year in their future programs for combating cyber risks for children.
Earlier, CEO of Universal Service Fund, Parvez Iftikhar, while welcoming the audience, stated that this year’s WTIS Day is playing a useful role in bringing together all the stakeholders to take concrete steps for ensuring that children access Internet with safety.
He informed that on this auspicious day for Telecom, two new projects of Universal Service Fund are being awarded. One is to provide optic Fiber connectivity to 5 un-served Tehsils of Balochistan (Dasht, Noshki, Dalbandin, Mashkhel and Taftan, touching also the cities of Dringar, Ahmadwal, Nokundi and Chaghi). He added that a subsidy Rs. 374 Million is being provided to Wateen Telecom for laying 900 kilometers of Optic Fiber Cable to these Tehsils which have a population of around 335,000. Second project, he further informed, is to provide basic telephony and data services in unserved areas of Larkana and Shikarpur districts. 72 muzas with a population of 165,000 will benefit. Subsidy of Rs. 228 Million is being provided to PTCL for this project.
Contract signing of the two projects was held at the end with Wateen Telecom and PTCL. CEO-PTCL, Walid Irshaid and General Manager Wateen Telecom, Mr. Mazhar Qayyum Butt, signed the contracts with Chief Executive Officer, Universal Service Fund, Parvez Iftikhar.
Dr. Muhammad Yaseen, Chairman-PTA and other high officials of the Ministry of IT, PTA, telecom and IT industry were present at the occasion.