Digital Living

Government Websites in Pakistan: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Government Websites in Pakistan The Good, the Bad, the UglyGovernment Websites in Pakistan The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

When you think of government websites in Pakistan, the images that come to mind are archaic templates that have not been updated in ages, provide little/no useful information and have poor design or user interface. That is certainly not the experience that government websites provide today – with dedicated technology and web-design cells, the information is up-to-date, plenty, and the designs are simple and easy to navigate.

E-Governance Initiatives

There has been a strong movement for a shift towards e-governance from various quarters in the government – including the legislative branch as well as federal and provincial administrations. This includes providing easy access to the general public to the latest happenings in each government department, providing contact details and then providing access to databases for personalized information such as the “Case Status” check on the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s website.

Overload of Information

Examples of the kind of information available for the public interested in staying up-to-date is the live streaming service of Senate proceedings, transcripts of the debates, the country’s latest climate change policy, the bills passed in the parliament, who the President is meeting and the list goes on and on.

An example of the kind of information that is now publicly available and easily accessible is this document: a detailed transcript from a Senate debate – transcribed in both Urdu and English, even if the speaker shifts languages mid-sentence.

This doesn’t mean that everything and anything is available and up-to-date. For instance, Punjab Government’s website touts Transparency as one of the main sections of the website but the latest budget is not available,

Aesthetics

There is potential for re-design and improvement in the user interface aesthetics. Take the Sports Board website for instance – even though the website has photos, a live feed from its Facebook page and up-to-date information, the font and the overall aesthetics make it feel like a website from the early 2000s.

Or take this gem, if you scroll down a bit you can see the bright red and yellow “NEW” gifs blinking next to some news items.

Most of the government websites have the key personnel’s photos right at the start, on the top of the main landing page. That’s a bit disconcerting – these websites are supposed to represent institutions and what they represent and not the people who are temporarily in power. That information is important, but maybe not the first thing you want to be welcomed with.

Social Media

A lot more sites are now connecting their social media pages to the website. The young population in the country is increasingly adapting to the worldwide use of social media to stay updated with the world. Linking your Facebook or Twitter feed to your website is an easy strategy to integrate both in your web interface and also, perhaps, separate the news updates from the content-based websites.

The list below is not comprehensive by any means but a good introduction to the .gov.pk landscape of the internet.

List of Government Websites in Need of Re-Design

Directory of Federal Ministries and Divisions

President of Pakistan
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Senate of Pakistan
National Assembly of Pakistan

Government of Pakistan
Auditor General of Pakistan
Information Gateway

Supreme Court of Pakistan

Rector of the International Islamic University Pakistan
Pakistan Army
State Bank of Pakistan

Tourism Development Corporation Pakistan

Board of Investment

Office of the Chief Minister of Punjab

Islamabad Capital Territory Administration
Punjab Government
Balochistan Government
Gilgit Baltistan Government
Sindh Government
KPK Government
AJK Government
Government of FATA

Lahore High court
Ombudsman Punjab
Punjab Police
Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB)

Punjab Emergency Service
Punjab Board of Investment & trade (PBIT)
Punjab Small Industries Corporation (PSIC)

Pakistan Sports Board
Pakistan Cricket Board

Punjab Emergency Service
Punjab Law Online

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Muhammad Tayyab

    09/03/2015 at 10:50 pm

    I am a Graphic/Web Designer, If ganja is interested to improve his website… I’ll be available for him :D

  2. Nouman Nazim

    10/03/2015 at 5:23 pm

    Well, one of the biggest problem faced by the Government websites is security. At present there is no organization ensuring security of the Government Websites as well as data. Most of the Government websites are built upon old technologies and have not been updated since long. Also, most of the Government websites including pakistan.gov.pk have back-links to other local websites which makes no sense.

    During the Musharraf’s era, Ministry of Information Technology established Electronic Government Directorate to deal with automation of Federal Ministries besides departments working under Federal Government. Out of the 20 projects (software solutions) proposed, prepared, developed and acquired by the EGD after spending millions of rupees, 18 of them were never deployed resulting in huge loss of Public Money. EGD hired 1000’s of professionals back in time but most of them left due to non renewal of contact / non-payment of salaries by the Federal Government. I raised this issue in the Pakistan Governance Forum too but to no effect.

    And the biggest irony is that on behalf of Yum Solutions (https://yumsolutions.co) I contacted many different Government Departments and offered them free Web Design, Development, Social Media Management and Security Services but no one took that offer seriously as their heads won’t be able to again anything personally from free service.

    • PakWired

      10/03/2015 at 10:27 pm

      Nouman: I can’t agree more. Most of these sites have also been hacked a number of times but this isn’t the priority.

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