The federal secretary for IT and Telecom, Shoaib Siddiqui, has revealed that the government will launch Pakistan’s version of WhatsApp – a project of the ministry of PSDP (Planning, Development & Special Initiatives), next year. “NITB has issued tenders to develop WhatsApp’s Pakistani version and will complete the project by the next year.”, he said in an interview with Urdu News.
The secretary also urged the IT industry’s stakeholders to remain calm in the wake of the proposed tax amendment laws during a visit to Quetta and other federal secretaries. The secretary’s remarks were part of an interview he gave to Urdu News as part of the federal secretaries’ visit to Balochistan. “The federal secretaries have been tasked to improve the communication and understanding between the federal government and the provincial Balochistan government.”, the IT ministry had said about the visit.
Acknowledging the need for a payment gateway, the IT secretary said that digital payment systems had become the need of the hour since there is an uptick in the public demand for measures in this regard. “Talks have been undertaken in this regard with the State Bank to pave the way to float RFP (tenders), and once the bids come in, the situation will become clear.”, he added.
While speaking about the data protection laws during the interview, the secretary stated that, for years, data protection laws took a back seat. Still, the incumbent government has taken active measures in this regard. A draft has been prepared for data laws, presented to the cabinet, and subsequently to the Parliament for approval. Discussing the law further, he said, “Every individual’s data carries sanctity, and the proposed law will ensure its sanctity while also ensuring that no one can exploit a person’s data without his or her consent.”