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It all started back in 2005, when APC provided travel support to one of the representatives from Bytes For All Pakistan to participate in the Tunis phase of World Summit on Information Society. It was such a great learning experience, providing us with the opportunity to meet and network with the APC staff and its members gathered in Tunis from all around the world. This interaction also helped build mutual trust between APC and Bytes For All, Pakistan for long term partnership.
In 2006, APC conceived and seeded a small but an extremely important initiative as part of which the Pakistan ICT Policy Monitor network was established. The network objectives outlined at its inception were:
to highlight and capture ICT and development related campaign issues in Pakistan and register civil society perspective to those issues.

  • to work as a bridge in between ICT and development professionals, technologists, policy makers, academia, media and larger civil society.
  • to launch policy advocacy campaigns around various ICT policy issues in the country.
  • to work as an information gateway for ICT and development communities in Pakistan.

This was first time ever in the history of the country that civil right organizations got themselves connected to the ICT policy space in the country. This network not only helped CSOs but all other stakeholders to raise their voice on ICT policy issues, as the usual practice being policy making in isolation without any inclusive or participatory approaches. At that time, Pakistan already had a dormant policy document and unimplemented IT Action Plan. This state of affairs helped the network a great deal to build its advocacy campaigns and engage with the policy makers at highest level with collective voice on issues of concern. Since 2006, the network has covered a lot of ground and currently enjoys the reputation of being the only and most inclusive ICT Policy space in Pakistan. The discussion group has 252 members representing all different stakeholders throughout the country.

We can claim with pride that this small initiative helped a great deal to mainstream civil society perspective to ICT policy debate in the county. In addition, it also helped attract many different research projects including review of Pakistan ICT Policy, Internet Censorship and Surveillance issues, Gender mainstreaming in ICT Policy processes and Privacy issues in the cyberspace to mention a few. It was because of this network that .PK ccTLD included one of its members as civil society representative to its advisory board.

- Shahzad Ahmad, Bytes For All Pakistan, Pakistan, May 2009

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