PM links country’s prosperity with industrial development

ISLAMABAD, Sep 30 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday stressed upon promotion of information technology, cyber connectivity and digitalization because Pakistan’s future was linked with adoption of these latest modes of science and technology.

He was addressing at a signing ceremony for award of Rs 1.28 billion contracts by Universal Service Fund (USF) to cellular companies for provision of voice and high speed mobile broadband data services in areas of Balochistan and Sindh.

The contract signed between USF and Jazz will cover the areas of Khairpur, Sukkur and Ghotki in Sindh, whereas the areas under the contract signed between USF and Ufone include Bolan, Jhal Magsi, Ziarat and Kalat in Balochistan.

Terming the signing of contracts as ‘good omen’ for the country, the prime minister observed that it was in line with their government’s vision of uplifting the most backward, poor and deprived areas of Sindh besides different impoverished areas of Balochistan through a network of internet connectivity.

Imran Khan regretted that lopsided development in the country had affected these areas.

He said the MoU would lead to wider connectivity in these remote areas, thus paving a way for development and prosperity.

He cited construction of Karakoram highway in Gilgit Baltistan which had connected inaccessible areas and helped in improving the standards of living and educational facilities.

The prime minister said majority of the people in those areas also wanted provision of e-learning and distance learning facilities through the use of mobile phone services.

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The adult literacy could be achieved through spread of internet system. Such connectivity would be vital for the fifth industrial revolution, he opined.

Referring to lack of facilities in the education and health sectors, the prime minister said the country had witnessed dual systems for the elitist class and the poor.

These systems were enforced to safeguard the interests of rich class while entirely neglecting the poor segments of society, he said, citing the global money laundering network which protected the powerful class.

The economic disparity across the world always led to this class difference as evident with the plight of poor migrants who faced ordeals while eking out to the rich countries, he added.

The prime minister observed that during the 60s, Pakistan had been a fast developing country and even countries like South Korea and Malaysia regarded it as their role model, but now they had excelled in different fields leaving behind Pakistan in terms of development and progress.

He said Pakistan had the second largest young population in the world which possessed ‘a vibrant potential’, and stressed that IT ministry should work further in tapping the IT skills.

The prime minister said setting up IT parks was also significant step by the ministry as it would have positive impacts upon the country’s exports.

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Minister for Information Technology Syed Amin ul Haq said his Ministry through USF was committed to bridging the digital divide by development, deployment and uptake of Information Communications Technology (ICT) initiatives to make a real difference in people’s lives.

He informed that through the contracts, around 2.4 million people in 1146 mauzas of Bolan, Jhal Magsi, Ziarat, Kalat, Khairpur, Sukkur and Ghotki districts would be provided High Speed Mobile Broadband services, covering an unserved area of 34,660 sq.km.

He said the projects had the potential to impact important areas such as healthcare, communications, agriculture and transportation.

He said the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication would continue to undertake more challenging and productive programmes in future including establishment of IT Parks, including the ones to be opened in Islamabad and Gilgit in near future.

The project of manufacturing and assembling of 3G and 4G mobile phones in the county as approved by Cabinet and Economic Coordination Committee is also in the offing, while launch of triple bundle in Gilgit Baltistan is in completion phase, he said.

Earlier, the prime minister witnessed the signing of two contracts inked by CEO USF Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary, CEO Jazz Aamir Ibrahim and CEO Rashid Khan.

Federal Secretary for IT and Telecommunication Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui and senior officials of USF, Jazz and Ufone were present.