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An interview with Business Development Manager, Microsoft Pakistan

By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Dec 11 - 17, 2000

Microsoft, the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing, has come to Pakistan obviously for commercial interests yet its large-scale operations would naturally help developing a strong Information Technology base in this country.

Jawwad Rehman, Business Development Manager, Microsoft, elaborating future plans of Microsoft Pakistan told PAGE that Pakistan has an ample scope as well as the potential to emerge as one of the world's leading IT players.

The young looking Jawwad was really impressive when he dialated upon the subject with full command and maturity. Describing IT as the cutting edge technology, Jawwad observed that it seems to be the economic saviour of the developing countries like Pakistan provided all cards are played well in accordance with the need of the hour. Unfortunately, education sector, which provides the basis for development and strengthening all human values, has been the most neglected area in Pakistan. We have to take immediate corrective steps in this area to consolidate our resources especially by carrying out the human resource development plans seriously. Citing examples of various outstanding Pakistanis, Jawwad said that they have proved that they are second to none in their individual capacities. Unfortunately, we failed to make it true collectively as a nation for obvious reasons of neglecting the most important area i.e. 'investment in human resource development' which pays back more than any area of investment. Jawwad said that Microsoft has strongly recommended to the government to bring about fundamental changes in the curricula aimed at producing a crop of graduates capable to achieve the cherished goal. Acknowledging the outstanding personality of Dr. Attaur Rehman, the Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Jawwad said that the minister is putting his best to change in the education sector. He has asked to Microsoft to submit proposals for making amendments in curricula especially for students in IT sector. We are in constant touch with the minister and giving final touches to our proposals.

Replying to a question about brain drain from Pakistan, Jawwad said he does not believe in putting any check on the people leaving Pakistan for better prospects. It is their right, neither we can nor we should think to put a ban on people. In effect educated people leaving for abroad for employment help Pakistan in various ways. They are not only a good source for home remittances but play the role of the most effective ambassadors for the country as compared to the official diplomats. They do the job of public retaining hence delivering the goods for image building of the country, which is the real marketing concept. Since we are producing a very little number of quality graduates their outflow is quite negligible, Jawwad remarked.

Spelling out the role of IT for economic uplift of the country, Jawwad feels that the sector has the strength to outclass all existing sectors contributing in Pakistan's exports including the textile sector, the core of the job is to achieve market related expertise. Proposals to be submitted would also provide guidelines for developing infrastructure for quality software houses and labs all around the country.

He however pointed out violation of intellectual property rights as one of the nuisance for the international investors especially in the field of IT. Initially we are not concerned for violations by the individuals. At least the public sector organizations and business houses taking commercial advantages of the Microsoft products should acknowledge and are morally bound to pay for that. Pakistan besides providing legal cover and enforcement of the laws for protection of the intellectual properties is required to create a culture at grass-roots level against any sort of violations either against intellectual or other sort of properties. Creation of such an atmosphere is of vital importance to invite international investors in this country, Jawwad observed.

Microsoft Pakistan, recently announced the launch of a technology guarantee programme offering customers purchasing any version of Microsoft BackOffice Server 4.5 software products or Microsoft Small Business Server 4.5, a free upgrade to either the full package or version upgrades of BackOffice Server 2000 and Small Business Server 2000, respectively.

This offer is a real bonus and it will allow local firms access to the latest technology at minimal cost, thus helping them realize their full potential and move their business forward.

This programme is designed to safeguard business customers from technological obsolescence and help them take advantage of full-featured technology solutions in a highly cost effective manner. Furthermore, with no cost upgrades providing servers that belong to the Net family, business will step closer to Microsoft's vision of computing anyplace, anytime and on any device.

Beside Pakistan, this offer is also valid in Bahrain, Cyprus, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The offer only extends to customers who make an initial purchase on or after the 15th of November 2000 and until the 31st of January 2001.