ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will soon see the establishment of a Civil Drone Authority after Prime Minister Imran Khan's approval on Saturday.
The authority will regulate and control all unmanned aircraft in the country and put in place an institutionalised mechanism for the further growth of the sector.
The Authority will be empowered to decide on the licensing, import, manufacturing, examination and issuance of drone permits. It will also impose fines and penalties, including the cancellation of license and registration, and initiate legal proceedings under the prevailing civil and criminal laws if required.
It will develop standards for manufacturing, operations, training and research and development of such aircraft.
Technical guidance to the industrial sector to facilitate domestic manufacturing will also be provided by the Authority.
Headed by Secretary Aviation Division, the composition of the Authority includes senior level representation from PAF, Civil Aviation, Defence Production, Interior and Ministry of Science and Technology.
It also includes representative each from the federating units including Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
Three eminent experts of the field will also be members of the authority.
Prime Minister Imran Khan in his remarks stated that employing drone technology for commercial, research and development, agricultural and other peaceful purposes was "the need of the hour".
He observed that the establishment of a drone authority will not only fill the existing vacuum due to non-availability of laws to regulate this important sector, but will also be instrumental in the promotion and domestic production of this critical technology.
He said that effective use of drone technology in various sectors will help in resource optimisation and better service delivery.
The prime minister has directed that the process of legislation for establishment of authority be completed on priority.
The bill will be introduced in the Parliament after its approval by the Cabinet.
Speaking of the development, Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said that the authority is "another milestone achieved".
He said that the focus is on agriculture drones and police drones and spoke of an initiative to establish a "disruptive technologies authority" that will pave the way for 3D printers and a full-fledged robotics industry in Pakistan.
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