Pakistan’s first National Space Policy gets approval from the federal cabinet

The interim government announced on Wednesday that the federal cabinet had given its approval to Pakistan’s inaugural National Space Policy.

In a social media post on X (formerly Twitter), Caretaker Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications Dr Umar Saif stated that the federal cabinet had sanctioned three “groundbreaking decisions” for the IT and telecom sector.

He mentioned that the National Space Policy would empower private sector entities to “provide affordable internet services in Pakistan while encouraging increased investment in our national space program.”

Additionally, he disclosed that the establishment of the National Cyber Crime Investigation Agency (NCCIA) would replace the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for handling cybercrimes. Saif emphasized that this new agency would possess the necessary expertise, funding, and resources to prevent, investigate, and prosecute cybercrimes in Pakistan.

Saif also revealed plans for the creation of a “specialized telecom tribunal” to expedite the resolution of court cases and disputes in the telecom sector, facilitating the availability of spectrum for 5G.

During a press conference in Islamabad alongside Saif, interim Information Minister Murtaza Solangi highlighted that the caretaker federal cabinet had greenlit the nation’s first space policy. This policy would permit international companies to offer communication services through low-orbit communication satellites. Solangi outlined that the policy also involved establishing a space regulatory framework in line with international standards and allocating funds to the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) for research and development.

Solangi credited caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar for acknowledging the efforts of the relevant ministries in formulating the country’s inaugural space policy. He noted that the policy had been developed through consultations with all stakeholders over a three-month period.

Saif underscored the significance of the space policy, likening it to the importance of the telecom policy in the past. He explained that advancements in satellite communication technology, particularly through low-orbit satellites, would enable private companies to offer communication and internet services in Pakistan. Saif highlighted that the policy struck a balance, allowing government institutions like Suparco and Paksat to provide satellite communication and imaging services, while private customers could benefit from the technology offered by the private sector.

He anticipated that following the policy’s approval, private companies could commence offering these services within the next month or two, with a portion of the revenue generated contributing to Suparco.

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