Govt committed to extending 3G, 4G services: minister


ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar has said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is committed to extending high speed internet services of 3G & 4G to Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir regions.

The minister expressed these views at a meeting with Director General Special Communications Organisation (SCO) Major General Ali Farhan, who called on him here on Monday. Project Director CPEC Hasan Daud and senior officials of the ministry were also present in the meeting.

The minister said that steps will be taken to extend broadband services to Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) regions, including far-flung areas to enhance connectivity. In order to further integrate people of these regions with mainland Pakistan, it is imperative that they be provided with communications and IT facilities at par with rest of Pakistan, he said.

He said that the extension of these services will also help promote industry and tourism in these areas.

During the meeting, the DG SCO apprised the minister of work of the organisation including laying of 820 kilometres optical fibre cable from Khunjrab to Rawalpindi under the CPEC framework in Phase-1. He also briefed the minister on proposed phase-II of the project.

The Exim Bank of China provided 85 percent of loan for the project at a reduced interest rate.

Project Director CPEC Hasan Daud while talking to Business Recorder said now next phase of optical fibre cable project from Rawalpindi to Karachi would be started. He said that in this regard, the relevant ministry would submit PC-I for next phase of the project.

He said that the project of optical fibre cable from Khunjrab to Rawalpindi was completed in September 2018 and the services of 3G & 4G to Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir would soon be started.

Most importantly, the project will facilitate trade, tourism and IT awareness in the region, besides providing a major source of revenue. The project will also help youth in the region get employment. Furthermore, the project will also enable advanced telecom facilities on the CPEC route.