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Senate committee worried about undocumented SIMs of mobile
Senate committee expresses dissatisfaction on development projects
Senate standing committee on Interior meeting on May 23

ISLAMABAD: Expressing its deep concern over the long outstanding issue of undocumented SIMs of mobile telephones, the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology, which met at the Parliament House on Thursday, directed the Ministry of Information Technology to evolve a long term, fool-proof and comprehensive policy aiming at complete elimination of the menace. Presided over by Senator Abdul Raziq, the meeting dismissed the much-publicized scheme of online verification being formulated by the PTA saying that ‘every photocopying vendor is virtually holding hundreds of copies of CNICs, which are being procured by the various franchises of the cellular companies to meet their “sales target”. It apprehended that the provision of online verification would again be misused. ‘The CNIC No. may be genuine but the actual user of that ID is most likely to be fake or different’.

It suggested that the provision of thumb impression may be added with CNIC online verification and the franchises be asked to procure the necessary equipment in this regard. It further suggested that the section concerned of NADRA must ask a few questions like name of father / mother, total number of family members etc. to avoid any possible misuse.

The Committee stressed the need that business and investment issues must be weighed against issues of security / morality. The members of the Committee held the view that it is far cheaper and easier to acquire a mobile phone chip / SIM in Pakistan as compared to other countries of the region and the world. They challenged officials of the Ministry to acquire one single SIM from any European or even Middle Eastern country without necessary documentation. In sharp contrast they said mobile SIMs are still being sold on footpaths in our country.

The Committee also asked the Ministry and PTA to design the new format latest by May 31, 2008 and ensure compliance by the companies and their franchises. The Committee directed the Ministry to ensure that advertisements being run by the Telecom companies on media must remain within the parameters of the decency and conform to our social norms and moral values. At present they are just tearing apart our social fabric. “Enough is enough and now it is time to wake up”, they said. It also directed that the PTA be asked to ensure compliance with the new policy guidelines by all franchises of the mobile companies in their letter & spirit.

The Committee observed that IT holds great promise for the country but still a lot needs to be done at policy making level to tap the full potential. It desired that the IT be promoted for better efficiency and transparency especially in various Government Departments. They said that computerization in fields like land revenue, judiciary at various tiers, police, hospitals etc. would really transform and revolutionize the things. The Committee asked that arrangements be made for developing necessary software to bring all FIRs in a central database. It asked that IT parks be also developed speedily and the country must move towards the era of E-Government with confident strides.

Earlier, the Ministry of Information Technology in its presentation said that its mission statement is to create an enabling environment through formulation and implementation of policies and legal framework, providing ICT infrastructure for enhancing productivity, facilitating good governance, improving delivering of public services and contributing towards the overall socio-economic growth of the country. The meeting was attended, among others, by Senators Sardar Mehmud Khan, Engr. Rashid Ahmad, Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi, Dr. Muhammad Said, Mrs. Rukhsana Zuberi and Dr. Javaid Laghari besides Secretary, M/o IT and senior officials of the ministry.

Senate committee expresses dissatisfaction on development projects
ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Planning & Development, which met at the Parliament House on Thursday under the Chairmanship of Senator Saeed Ahmed Hashmi, expressed its dissatisfaction over the pace of execution of the various on-going development schemes and projects and directed that every effort must be made to implement these within the stipulated time without any compromise on quality. The Senate Body assured its all out support in overcoming the bottlenecks and difficulties being faced by the Ministries and Divisions concerned in this regard. It also recommended that the existing differences over planning and execution of some of the development projects among the federating units be resolved through the Council of Common Interest (CCI). ‘Projects were delayed either due to lack of funding or lack of management skills’, in a majority of cases and we must make sure that this should not continue to plague our development planning’ it added.

The Committee also urged the Government to accord a high priority to the energy and power generation sector as development cannot take place without these vital ingredients therefore, this sector must be accorded the priority it deserves. It especially pointed out that the share of nuclear and coal based power should be increased in our energy mix. Similarly, it recommended that the country’s hydel potential should be utilized in its full capacity. In this connection, focus must be on ‘run of the river potential’ which according to some members of the Committee, stood as high as 32,000 MW. Terming the province of Balochistan as power house of the future, the Committee observed that emphasis be placed on utilizing the mineral capacity of the province which is largely unexplored at present. The Committee demanded allied facilities for Gawadar Port area on priority basis in order to operationalize it in full capacity. ‘At present it is without power and water supply of its own’.

The Committee also observed the Federal Government must ensure that all colleges have well equipped science and computer laboratories and efforts be made to provide missing facilities to the existing schools and colleges. Some members of the Committee held the view that present focus on Higher Education is somewhat misplaced as most of the schools and colleges in the country which are supposed to be the nursery for these universities, lack basic facilities. ‘Present allocations for the education sector (excluding HEC) reflect a downward trend which is very alarming’. Investment in education is investment in our future, they maintained.

The Committee also took exception to the fact that the contracts of a number of members of the Planning Commission have not been renewed on time and this impacted very adversely the performance of the Commission especially at time when the national budget is only a few weeks away. Earlier, the Planning Commission made a presentation on review of PSDP 2007-08 and physical and financial targets achieved till March 31, 2008. The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Saeed Ahmed Hashmi asked the PC to expedite progress on Greater Quetta Water Supply Scheme with revised PC-I. The meeting was attended, among other, by Senators Anisa Zeb Tahirkhaili, Lt. Gen. ® Javed Ashraf, Mrs. Kalsoom Parveen, Mrs. Gulshan Saeed, Dr. Mrs. Kausar Firdaus, Hafiz Rashid Ahmed and Abdur Rahim Khan Mandokhail besides Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission and senior officials of Planning Commission.

Senate standing committee on Interior meeting on May 23
ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Interior under chairmanship of Senator Muhammad Talha Mahmood, tomorrow, will review the law & order situation in the Province of Sindh with particular reference to recent incident of burning alive of alleges three bandits in Karachi by the public. The committee will also review the functions and performance of the Pakistan Rangers in Sindh particularly in Karachi. D.G. Pakistan Rangers will present its reports before the committee.
The committee will also review the progress on the actions taken on the recommendations of the committee made in the meeting held on September 10, 12007 with Pakistan Coast Guards Karachi. The Members of the Committee are Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Senator Dr. Abdul Khaliq Pirzada, Senator Mrs. Tahira Latif, Senator Sardar Muhammad Jamal Khan Leghari, Senator Mir Israrullah Khan, Senator Syed Tahir Hussain Mashadi, Senator Mrs. Gulshan Saeed, Senator Rehmatullah Kakar, Senator Dr. Zaheer-ud-Din Babar Awan, Senator Ms. Sadia Abbasi and Senator Abdul Raziq Khan.-SANA

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Rubab Saleemhttp://www.rubabsaleem.com
Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times
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