Declining from the rank of 148 in 2018 to 153 in 2020, Pakistan’s position in the UN E-Government Development Index (EGDI) is indicative of our inability to evolve with the world around us. The lower rank further points towards a clear failing on part of our digital sector to maintain standards. In light of this, improving upon them seems to be a farfetched goal. It is vital that an investigation is carried out to uncover why progress is not being achieved and what solutions can be employed.
Outside of monitoring e-governance, the EGDI also tracked our Online Services Index (OSI), Human capital Index (HCI) and the Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII). Taking all these factors into account, the ultimate conclusion reached is that Pakistan’s lack of funding, fragmented approaches and digital illiteracy are problems that plague the digital sector. Due to this, official operations cannot be altered in accordance to the changing global environment and evolving threats to governments and the masses.
Online government services remain subpar, at best, in city centres and rural areas are deprived of any technological assistance. In fact, our telecommunication infrastructure is such that they do not have access to mobile facilities or the internet even. Data privacy is violated rather frequently judging from the number of times the FBR has been hacked. The situation becomes bleaker when we consider that the people of Pakistan do not possess the digital skills needed to bring about development. These are basic requirements that must be fulfilled before we explore avenues of expansion.
Starting from allocating a higher budget, the government must create a comprehensive policy to tackle this ever-looming issue of failing to digitise. The building blocks must be laid down through constructing basic infrastructure, educating the people, spreading awareness about the need to evolve, creating a framework for e-governance and employing the expertise—even if it means importing it—needed to lay the foundation for a better future.