ISLAMAABD - Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is mulling hard to promote e-commerce sector in the country, ignoring the implications of online transactions.

In a latest attempt in this direction, the regulator has announced to organise a workshop on mobile banking at its headquarters next week. According to officials, the workshop would aim to bring global and local insights from the branchless banking industry.

“It will support the evolution of a policy and regulatory environment that fosters a dynamic industry that contributes to national policy objectives”, PTA official said.

Experts will share their thoughts on potential for mobile money industry, digital commerce and policy and regulatory environment, he explained.

He said case studies from Pakistan, Tanzania, Kenya, Philippines and India on mobile money, digital commerce initiatives and regulatory principles along with challenges and opportunities to digitize payments in Pakistan will also be discussed during the workshop.

PTA’s plans seem ambitious to many, who believe the present national scenario is not fit for online transactions. “The implications of e-commerce are far more devastating than its benefits,” said an official of Cyber Crime wing, an affiliate department of Ministry of Interior. He said his office was the only department working against cyber crime but they were facing acute shortage of resources.

He pointed out that cyber criminals were so innovative and hi-tech that despite spending huge money and implying sophisticated equipment, many developed countries find is hard to protect even most sensitive websites from hackers.

He warned that without securing consumers, e-commerce could be devastating.

“It is easy to cut and paste policies from the Internet. You (PTA) are promoting e-commerce but have you told your consumers, where they should go in case of any complaint and what they should do if someone loots them?” he asked. Neither we have any agency to do the job (of protecting consumer) nor any relevant laws, he pointed out.

PTA said it was not the mandate of the regulator to respond to the consumer complaints.

It is pertinent to mention here that hundreds of residents have fallen victim to income support programme mobile scams, but PTA failed to stop the cheat despite tall claims.