From e-policing to token tax payments and birth/death certificates, residents of Islamabad get a one-stop online solution, an app, for multiple government services

Raymond Alexander, a telecom sector engineer, downloaded the recently launched City Islamabad App on his mobile phone a few days ago and quickly tested it by applying to pay his annual car tax. He was successful.

“I heard about this app from the district administration and social media. It was easy to download and user-friendly. It took 8-12 hours to get myself registered for my request. The very next day they asked me for the options to pay the money. I selected Easy Paisa cash, paid my car tax within a few minutes and got the confirmation message,” Alexander tells The News on Sunday (TNS).

Prime Minister Imran Khan formally launched this app, prepared by NITB (National Information Technology Board) in consultation with Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration on March 26 to provide basic government services to Islamabad residents. Residents of Islamabad can download this app after providing their CNIC details as proof of residence in the city.

City Islamabad App is an innovative platform providing 43 online services that include e-policing, emergency assistance, and services relating to computerized national identity cards, domicile certificates, passports, arms licenses, vehicle registration, token tax payments, and birth/death certificates. In addition to this, smart phone users can also book appointments with government officers via the app. The app also includes a City Guide to help users navigate the city. Earlier, the ICT, with the help of NITB, had also launched an app called Drust Daam (right price).

“[The] app will also allow rapid response by the Administration to shortages of goods including vital medical supplies,” tweeted PM Khan when the government launched it at the end of March stressing that given the coronavirus outbreak, the app is the need of the hour.

“We started working on this app in December on the persuasion of the ICT administration. Initially, it was for a few essential services but later the higher-ups took further interest in it and urged the NITB to add more services including requests for getting land transfer receipts called fard from the land records department,” says Sarmad Sohail, a business analyst with NTIB leading the digital solutions team. Sohail played a major role in developing the app. “So far,” he says, “the app has been downloaded for more than 27,000 times.”

“We urge Islamabad residents to register with this app and use it to save their time and energy,”

“The app has become even more useful during the current Covid-19 pandemic as people are restricted to their homes.” He says the NITB and ICT administration aim to launch a campaign to create awareness about this app after the pandemic is over. He says PM Khan has shown interest in launching similar apps in the provinces, at least in big cities. He believes that such apps will end the inconvenience of having to wait in long queues and making numerous trips to government offices. “After a trial period in Islamabad we will introduce this service in other cities as well,” he says.

“This is a step towards participatory governance to facilitate citizens. It is an easy platform to apply for several government services. It provides services to the citizens by digitally transforming the ICT services, Police, Excise and Taxation, Capital Development Authority, City Guide, with various features within each section,” he says. He says the app will also help in work-load management. In Islamabad, a city with a higher literacy rate, more people are likely to use it than elsewhere.

Alexander says it would have taken him nearly an entire day to go to the Excise Department and pay his car fee. “This made my work so easy and saved me time and money. I encourage people to use this app so that we come to know about the good and bad points of this app,” he says, adding, “Given the ease with which I could deposit my car tax, I have now applied for domicile certificates for my children through this app and hope to get them soon.”