Report on the Delegation of the .پاکستان (“Pakistan”) domain representing Pakistan in Arabic Script to National Telecommunication Corporation
17 January 2017
This report is a summary of the materials reviewed as part of the process for the delegation of the .xn--mgbai9azgqp6j (.پاکستان) top-level domain. It includes details regarding the proposed delegation, evaluation of the documentation pertinent to the request, and actions undertaken in connection with processing the delegation.
The “PK” ISO 3166-1 two-letter country code from which the application’s eligibility derives, is designated for use to represent Pakistan.
The domain under consideration for the delegation at the DNS root level is “پاکستان.”. This is represented in ASCII-compatible encoding to the IDNA specification as “xn--mgbai9azgqp6j”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+067E, U+0627, U+06A9, U+0633, U+062A, U+0627, U+0646.
In Urdu language, the string has a transliteration equivalent to “Pakistan” in English. The string is expressed using the Arabic script.
Chronology of events
Beginning early 2008, the Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) of Pakistan held multiple workshops and meetings regarding the Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) for Pakistani Languauges. These included a first workshop held in April 2008 on particular character set choices for local languages of Pakistan and a second workshop held in May 2009 on finalizing language table and implementation details for IDNs in Pakistani languages.
The MoIT also formed a Main Technical Committee constituted of relevant local Internet community stakeholders which held the first main IDN ccTLD Committee meeting in October 2009. Three sub-committee meetings were also held later in 2010 addressing technical, language table and policy issues.
Following the above workshops and committee meetings, on 25 October 2010, an application was made to ICANN’s “IDN Fast Track” process to have the string “پاکستان” recognized as representing Pakistan in Arabic script.
On 7 January 2011, a review by the IDN Fast Track DNS Stability Panel found that the applied-for string “presents none of the threats to the stability or security of the DNS identified in Module 4 of the Fast Track implementation plan, and presents an acceptably low risk of user confusion. The request for the “پاکستان” string to represent Pakistan was subsequently approved.
More workshops and meetings were held in the following years by the MoIT and Main Technical Committee addressing various issues including local content development, design of a single Pakistani Languages Keyboard, finalization of draft policy guidelines and selection of a IDN ccTLD registry manager.
On 3 June 2015, the Main Technical Committee agreed to appoint the National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) as the registry manager for the .پاکستان IDN ccTLD. NTC was created under the Act of Parliament in 1996 (Pakistan Telecommunication Re-Org Act 1996), and has acquired license per Telecom Legal and Regulatory Framework of Pakistan to establish a comprehensive setup of telecommunication infrastructure and Domain Name System (DNS) for provision of telecom, data and Internet services.
On 30 July 2015, the Ministry of Information Technology commenced a request for the delegation of پاکستان. as a top-level domain. The request was temporarily closed while the requestor remedied some deficiencies. On 22 April 2016, NTC then submitted a new ticket to continue the delegation request.
Proposed Sponsoring Organisation and Contacts
The proposed manager is National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC). It is based in Pakistan.
The proposed administrative contact is Miraj Gul, Director of NTC. The administrative contact is understood to be based in Pakistan.
The proposed technical contact is Muhammad Kashif Fayyaz, Divisional Engineer of NTC.
Evaluation of the Request
The top-level domain is eligible for delegation as the string has been deemed an appropriate representation of Pakistan through the ICANN Fast Track String Selection process, and Pakistan is presently listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.
Government support was provided by Ejaz Ahmed, Section Officer, Ministry of Information Technology.
Additional support letters were provided by the following:
- Wahaj us Siraj, Convener, Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan
- Naveed Haq, Chapter Development Manager, Asia-Pacific Internet Society
- Sher Afgun Khan, System Analyst, National Information Technology Board
- Saif Ur Rehman Korai, Director Projects, Pakistan Software Export Board
- Sohaib Saleem, President, Internet Society Pakistan Islamabad Chapter
The application is consistent with known applicable laws in Pakistan. The proposed manager undertakes responsibilities to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner.
Based in country
The proposed manager organization is constituted in Pakistan. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be a resident of Pakistan. The registry is to be operated in Pakistan.
The application does not involve a transfer of domain operations from an existing domain registry, and therefore stability aspects relating to registry transfer are not relevant.
The application is not known to be contested.
The application has provided information on the technical and operational infrastructures and expertise that will be used to operate the proposed new domain.
Proposed policies for management of the domain have also been tendered.
PTI is tasked with coordinating the Domain Name System root zone as part of a set of functions governed by a contract with ICANN. This includes accepting and evaluating requests for delegation and transfer of top-level domains.
A subset of top-level domains are designated for the local Internet communities in countries to operate in a way that best suits their local needs. These are known as country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs), and are assigned to responsible managers that meet a number of public-interest criteria for eligibility. These criteria largely relate to the level of support the manager has from its local Internet community, its capacity to ensure stable operation of the domain, and its applicability under any relevant local laws.
Through the IANA Services performed by PTI, requests are received for delegating new ccTLDs, and transfering or revoking existing ccTLDs. An investigation is performed on the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and, the requests are implemented where they are found to meet the criteria.
Purpose of evaluations
The evaluation of eligibility for ccTLDs, and of evaluating responsible managers charged with operating them, is guided by a number of principles. The objective of the assessment is that the action enhances the secure and stable operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.
In considering requests to delegate or transfer ccTLDs, input is sought regarding the proposed new mangaer, as well as from persons and organizations that may be significantly affected by the change, particularly those within the nation or territory to which the ccTLD is designated. The assessment is focused on the capacity for the proposed manager to meet the following criteria:
- The domain should be operated within the country, including having its manager andadministrative contact based in the country.
- The domain should be operated in a way that is fair and equitable to all groups in the local Internet community.
- Significantly interested parties in the domain should agree that the prospective manager is the appropriate party to be responsible for the domain, with the desires of the national government taken very seriously.
- The domain must be operated competently, both technically and operationally. Management of the domain should adhere to relevant technical standards and community best practices.
- Risks to the stability of the Internet addressing system must be adequately considered and addressed, particularly with regard to how existing identifiers will continue to function.
Method of evaluation
To assess these criteria, information is requested from the applicant regarding the proposed manager and method of operation. In summary, a request template is sought specifying the exact details of the delegation being sought in the root zone. In addition, various documentation is sought describing: the views of the local internet community on the application; the competencies and skills of the manager to operate the domain; the legal authenticity, status and character of the proposed manager; and the nature of government support for the proposal.
After receiving this documentation and input, it is analyzed in relation to existing root zone management procedures, seeking input from parties both related to as well as independent of the proposed manager should the information provided in the original application be deficient. The applicant is given the opportunity to cure any deficiencies before a final assessment is made.
Once all the documentation has been received, various technical checks are performed on the proposed manager’s DNS infrastructure to ensure name servers are properly configured and are able to respond to queries correctly. Should any anomalies be detected, PTI will work with the applicant to address the issues.
Assuming all issues are resolved, an assessment is compiled providing all relevant details regarding the proposed manager and its suitability to operate the relevant top-level domain.