E-Governance law refers to the legal rules of administration, management and control, enforced by information communication technologies (ICT). In nutshell, E-Governance is the digitalization or electronification of governmental system and services which are accessible for the living community.
E-Governance defines the terms in which the legal and policy framework operates to achieve the goals and objectives of an organisation by electronic means. With the advent of Information Communication Technologies (ICT), e-governance has entered into the new sphere of globalisation. Once traditional government challenges such as freedom of expression, security, legislation, universal access, infrastructure and citizen rights are now directly linked to ICT.
Previously online and offline governance were treated as two distinguished spheres but with the emergence of ICT, this distinction has been blurred. Even though this overlap seems to retain the independence of both these spheres which face distinct challenges. In an effort to enforce solutions at a mass-scale, active government participation is integral. The E-Government initiative of Pakistan is setup to bring solutions to these challenges.
SCOPE OF E-GOVERNANCE IN PAKISTAN
The National Information Technology Board (NITB) is the leading in-charge of e-governance in Pakistan. As of 28 March 2022, 71+ websites have been developed and launched, 13,000+ basic IT training has been provided to government services, 68+ e-offices launched in ministries / departments and lastly, 1200+ government organizations of IT consultancy.
e-Governance generally considered as a wider concept than e-Government, since it brings changes in the way of general public access, relating to Government and to each other.
e-Governance means enforcement of process via electronic means in the interaction between:
- Governments and citizens
- Citizens and governments
- Governments and businesses
- Businesses and governments
- Internal governmental operations
OBJECTIVES OF E-GOVERNANCE IN PAKISTAN
e-Governance is not only providing information about the various activities and organisational units of the government but it involves citizens to communicate with governmental functionaries and contribute in the decisions-making processes.
- Enforcement of governmental rules and regulations online;
- Enforcing information relating to governmental plans, budgets, expenditures and performances online;
- Enforcing online key judicial decision likewise decisions on environmental protection etc, which is imperative for citizens and forming precedence for futuristic actions;
- Availability of contact details for local, regional, national and international officials online;
- Filing of complaints and recieving feedback from the citizens; and
- Availability of the reports of enquiry committees or commissions online.
E-GOVERNANCE LAW ENFORCEMENT IN PAKISTAN
e-Governance is a broader concept that deals with the whole spectrum of the relationship and network within the government regarding the use and application of information and communication technologies (ICT). e-Government is a narrower discipline deals with the development of online government services to the citizens and buisnesses such as e-Tax, e-Payment, e-Office, e-Taleem amongst many others.
E-Governance under the Electronic Transactions Ordinance, 2002
ELECTRONIC FORM (SEC. 3)
There shall not be any denial of document, record, communication or transaction on account of legal recognition, admissibility, effectiveness, validation, proof or enforceability on the ground that it is in electronic form and has not been attested by the witness.
WRITTEN FORM (SEC. 4)
Where any law provides that any document, record, information, communication or transaction shall be in written form deemed satisfied where the document, record, information, communication or transaction is in electronic form, if the same is accessible so as to be usable for subsequent reference.
ORIGINAL FORM (SEC. 5)
Where any law requires that any document, record, information, communication or transaction to be presented or retained in its original form shall be deemed satisfied by presenting or retaining the same if there is a reliable assurance as to the integrity thereof from the time when it was first generated in its final form and the presentation, thereof is capable of being displayed in a legible form.
RETENTION OF RECORDS (SEC. 6)
The documents, records or information which have to be retained for any specified period shall be deemed to have been retained if the same is retained in the electronic form provided the following conditions are satisfied:
- The information remains accessible so as to be usable subsequently;
- The electronic records is retained in its original format which accurately represent the information contained; and
- The detail which will facilitate the identification of the orgin, destination, dates and time of receipt of such electronic records are available therein.
ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES (SEC. 7)
Where any law provides that only information or other matters shall be authenicated by affixing the signature or any document shall be signed or bear the signature of any person, then such information or matter is authenicated by means of electronic signature or advanced electronic signatures affixed in such manner as may be prescribed by the federal government.
The federal government may prescribe:
- The type of electronic signature;
- The manner and format in which electronic signature should be affixed;
- The manner which facilitates identification of the person affixing the electronic signature;
- Control processes and procedure to ensures adequate integrity, security and confidentiality of electronic records or payment; and
- Any other matter which is necessary to give legal effect to electronic signatures or advanced electronic signatures.
NOTABLE E-GOVERNANCE PROJECTS IN PAKISTAN
In Pakistan, the main thrust for e-Governance was provided by the launching of National Information Technology Board (NITB). On 11th August 2014, Pakistan Computer Bureau (PCB) and Electronic Government Directorate (EGD) were merged to form The National Information Technology Board (NITB), commissioned by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoIT). The NITB aims to address the operational challenges of all government departments and Ministries. NITB specializes in key automation, design, development, and implementation of robust IT technologies to promote the e-governance culture in all public departments and holistically develop plans, technologies, and infrastructures to boost the performance of the public sector.
Click here to explore some of the projects launched by NITB to uplift and support the e-governance in Pakistan.