Dr. Faisal Ali
Electronic government is a new phenomenon in the comportment of government which brings salubrious change in the performance of the organizations. The institution does bring expeditious disposal however in some of the departments neither it has the need nor it can be introduced owing to many rationales.
Electronic system can be effective in day to day business like that of banking, national data base, communications, airlines, railways and sea ports but in other departments that tackle the job of security, policy making, law and order, this arena can lead to dreadful consequences due to new developments in Information & Communication Technology (ICT) like that of computer viruses, Dark web, Tor and Software Reverse Engineering (SRE). All of the aforementioned contrivances can be utilized by cults of pan-demonism and hackers by avocation for malicious designs against a sovereign government in suitable climes. Therefore, the coeval birth of abstruse welter along with the extraordinary boom in ICT sector should be taken into consideration before implementing E-Governance in a branch with sophisticated mission.
Electronic governance comprises electronic administration, electronic services, electronic democracy and electronic business. The objectives for establishing a solid base for e-administration and e-services have been achieved largely after initiation of e-governance at Pakistan in 2002. As far as the e-democracy and e-business are concerned, much more is to be done for achieving the lofty goal of e-governance in these spheres.
The sowing of seeds of bio-metric voting system in Election Commission of Pakistan and introduction of e-government in Revenue department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by replacing Patwar system should be spearheaded without any delay. The province should emulate the Land Record Management Information System (LRMIS) of Punjab for iconic prestige.
The challenges faced by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for veritable implementation of e-governance are low ICT literacy rate, lack of essential regulatory framework, poor ICT infrastructure in some districts, corruption, lack of committed leadership, epileptic power supply and bureaucratic bottlenecks.
The only way forward in this regard is a purposeful leader willing to embrace e-governance as a matter of provincial policy, effective cyber laws and security, cheap and continuous access of public to internet after solving energy shortage, provision of effective funds for hardwares and softwares, establishment of community e-offices and above all, the complete abolition of investment with borrowed money and foreign aid. All of those issues are until and unless solved, the incantation for E-Governance in this province will always remain in pipe-dreams.
The path of self-reliance and flourishing IT industry in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be helpful in improving the position of Pakistan in E-Government Development Index (EGDI). According to 2014 E-Government rankings, Pakistan stood at 158th position in EGDI, lagging far behind war torn countries like Iraq and Yemen.
Today, the most opulent personalities of the world predominantly belong to IT sector. Furthermore, Cyber warfare and E-propaganda are part and parcel of 21st century. Therefore, it is concluded that the salvation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa depends upon the booming IT industry and free and fair E-Government.