ISLAMABAD - For infrastructure development of Information Technology and telecom in under-served and un-served areas of AJK and GB, the State Minister for IT Mrs. Anusha Rahman Khan called on the Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Ch. Muhammad Barjees Tahir.

The State Minister for IT apprised the Federal Minister that the telecom operators providing telecommunication services in AJK and Gilgit Baltistan are depositing USF contributions with PTA in accordance with their licence terms.

This amount has to be utilised for provisioning of telecom services to un-served, underserved areas of AJK and GB. Mrs. Anusha Rahman apprised the Barjees Tahir that in order to use this amount, a mechanism needs to be formulated; however, despite multiple requests from MoIT in the past, this matter remained pending for the last many years. Hence the Federal Minister involvement is now requested to actively look into the outstanding issue for a resolution.  PTA officials and Universal Service Fund Company also apprised the meeting that the main reason why this contribution has not been utilised. They said AJK and GB had to either incorporate a USF company or evolve some other viable mechanism for this contribution. Unfortunately, this has not been done to date, thus the funds remain parked with PTA, and requiring intervention at Ministerial level.

The Barjees Tahir regretted the neglect of those responsible in the past and assured his full support in helping expedite resolution of the matter so that this contribution could be used for the welfare of the people of AJK and GB at the earliest. A committee comprising of officials from Ministry of IT & Telecom, Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and GB, Universal Service Fund Company and PTA was constituted with a direction to submit a report within 10 days for the formulation of mechanism in this regard.