By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Nov 13 - 19, 2000
Khurram H. Kalia, an emerging young entrepreneur
has the ambitions to carve a respectable place for Pakistan especially
in the world Information Technology. Khurram son of Hanif S. Kalia, an
outstanding personality from business community of Pakistan, prominent
businessman has his dreams to bring an IT revolution in Pakistan. He
has already proved his guts and grip over the subject by demonstrating
his natural talents and knack in the field of IT. Beside his
contributions in development of "virtual university
software" Khurram carries various distinctions to his credit. He
developed a full-fledged proxy server with support for screening
material by name and content type and caching of frequently visited
sites. This project was developed in Java. A hybrid C/Pascal compiler.
Fully object oriented design developed in C++, with support for all
major functionality and constructs. Online Banking based on Citibank.
A distributive database with the backend in Oracle and front-end in
Active Server Pages and Developer 2000. It had online component and
the head office component and the branch components. A full-fledged
simulation of the pipelined DLX processor developed as a
multi-threaded application in JAVA. Projects report on Windows 95 in
Urdu. This was a complete exhaustive report starting from the
feasibility study to the project schedule including the team
structures and resource utilization and even a quality assurance
manual. He also developed a complete Accounting package for Khanani
and Kalia foreign Exchange in FoxPro.
He broke all previous records when he graduated
with the highest CGPA in the entire history of the Foundation for
Advancement of Science and Technology (FAST), the oldest and the best
computer science institute of Pakistan. His CGPA was 4.00, which means
that this record is unbreakable and thus he proves himself as the best
computer science graduate from Pakistan. He qualified for 5 gold
medals by securing maximum result in all the 31 subjects that make up
the six semester's curriculum of FAST.
PAGE: Did you receive job offers from abroad
in view of your outstanding achievements in the field of IT?
Khurram: "Having an unshakable faith in
Almighty Allah, I turned down all good offers received from foreign
companies and preferred to run my own company Kalsoft. I have all
faith and confidence that despite all economic odds currently faced by
the country I decided to serve my motherland and Inshallah will
achieve my targets.
PAGE: Keeping in view the ground realities
what are the factors which inspire you to beat the giants in
competition especially when our neighbouring India has already gone
far ahead in IT field?
Khurram: "We have many things better
than India. Our graduates are in general, more intelligent than those
of India are. So far computer science is concerned their intelligence
is well accepted throughout the world. What we have to do is simply to
inspire our graduates by providing them the means, which they are
lacking in general. Our graduates have the potential to gain the rest
by themselves. Qualitywise, our intelligent asset is already better,
moreover, recently, the interest in IT is rising sharply and a lot
more students are taking it up as a career choice and a lot of small
and medium sized institutions are cropping up all over the country.
PAGE: Would you identify the areas which
improvement is required for development of a strong IT base in
Khurram: The government must be more serious
towards giving up infrastructure. In India even a few private sector
companies have their own IT Parks. We don't have a single one and this
is possible to achieve only with full government support. Another
problem area is the brain drain from Pakistan. Our youth get out of
the country as soon as they get any qualification of even meager
nature in this field. Though they start earning good income abroad but
their progress is suffocated. In developed countries they usually
remain confined to the posts of programmers or so. The natives whom
they would never like to give to people belong to other nations
naturally hold top positions.
PAGE: Do you think that our private sector
has the potential to go far ahead in IT field in near future.
Khurram: No reason to be pessimistic. We
have good quality of intelligent asset. A number of institutions are
working for their training. FAST, IBA, LUMS, UIT, Sir Sayyed, GIK etc.
are already in the field. Further processing of this human raw
material is on. One more point is that we have now been left with no
other alternative. India's only software exports are to the tune of $5
billion while our total exports come to hardly a bit more than $8
billion. By exploring potentials and carrying a serious programme for
human resource development the Information Technology is the field
which has capability to enable Pakistan to survive and grow
economically at a much faster rate. The difference between India and
Pakistan is however very vast. They have already developed huge
software export houses. Even a smaller house has strength of 3000-4000
programmers. We have started from the scratch, however a steady pace
and approach would certainly lead us to the destination, he expressed