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Event Title: A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication was held today at the Parliament House under the chairmanship of Senator Kauda Babar.

Event Date: 2022-12-26

PTA officials gave a detailed briefing to the committee regarding SpaceX's Starlink program in Pakistan. Officials said that this technology is still in its early stages and further progress could not be made due to some security concerns. Senator Afnanullah Khan said that it is an excellent technology for providing internet services in remote areas and it is not appropriate to forego it just because of security concerns. The Chairman Committee, Senator Kauda Babar formed a sub-committee to settle the matter and bring it to a logical end, Sub-committee will sit with all the stakeholders and resolve the issues. The Committee was briefed on the Universal Services Fund's plans to improve voice and data services in underdeveloped areas. Officials said that many projects are underway to provide the best service to the customers in Balochistan. A private telecom company has introduced 4G internet service on 95% towers in Gwadar district. The chairman committee said that mobile internet service is not available in most of the districts of Balochistan, due to which the students of Balochistan are facing difficulties. He further said that despite the availability of service in many areas, the service is suspended due to security concerns. Officials said that to further improve the service, national roaming is being introduced in certain areas, which will be available to the users by June next year. Senator Afnanullah Khan said that special attention should be given to Gwadar district as there is huge foreign investment involved. Chairman Committee Senator Kauda Babar directed that special attention should be paid to the provision of internet service at tourist places. The public petition filed on the issue of an officer who was illegally removed from the post of Director Establishment in the Virtual University was also considered. Secretary IT and Telecommunication was of the view that the officers were recruited on a contract basis and their contract period has expired. He further informed that after a thorough inquiry, the university has come to the conclusion that the academic qualifications of the dismissed officers are not in accordance with the respective posts. Senator Muhammad Abdul Qadir said that it is not fair to dismiss someone after seven years of service. "If the educational qualification of the officers was not according to the vacancy, why were they initially recruited?" he questioned. The chairman committee directed that the case of the officers should be presented to the university board and considered on humanitarian grounds. "if the educational qualification of the officers is not according to the posts they held, then the matter be referred to NAB and FIA in order to take action against the authorities involved in initial illegal appointment of the concerned officers.

The committee meeting was attended by Senators, Muhammad Abdul Qadir, Afnanullah Khan, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Seemi Ezdi, Naseema Ehsan, Zeeshan Khanzada, Secretary IT and Telecommunication, PTA and Universal Services Fund officials.