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ITCN Asia 2001

Pakistan emerges as an IT leader on the world map

Mar 26 - Apr 01, 2001

The warm response given by the world IT players as well as by local IT firms and the people in general to the grand gala of ITCN Asia 2001 has kindled the hopes for a prominent place for IT professionals from Pakistan.

Wong Jeh Shayan, Chief Executive Officer of CommerceNet Singapore Lte., the principal organizers and specialists of the ITCN Asia has also expressed his delight over what he said the tremendous response received from so many top IT and related companies.

Speaking on the eve of the ITCN Asia 2001, Wong said Pakistan stands a very good chance of becoming a leading nation in Information Technology.

He said that Karachi is the hub of economic activities of Pakistan being a port city it has the potential to play a leading role in the IT sector specially in this region as it's a corridor to the Central Asia, Middle East and South Asia.

Dr.Hafeez Shaikh, the finance minister for Sindh and the Chairman IT board, feels that as a result of subjective reports there were some misconceptions regarding Pakistan. The ITCN Asia 2001 would go a long way in countering that perception about Pakistan. He expressed the hope that media would also play a positive role to counter that perception against Pakistan.

The ITCN Asia 2001 is the second consecutive event hosted by Pakistan. The first was impressive show IDEAS 2000 where Pakistanís expertise in defence production had successfully drawn the world attention. As a result of holding IDEAS 2000 Pakistan may gradually make a respectable place for exports of defence products.

ITCN Asia 2001 basically IT show by organizers to show strength of IT awareness in Pakistan. Whatever Pakistan achieves out of the exhibition in terms of export orders for software or the local vendors for hardware, the fact remains that it will certainly convey the message regarding IT potentials of Pakistan and also help drawing a future course of action in the field of IT.

Some quarters have expressed their concerns that ITCN Asia 2001 may have a clash with another global IT event i.e. CeBIT 2001 currently going on from March 22-28 at Hanover Germany.

They were of the feeling that before finalizing the schedule for ITCN Asia 2001, the timings of Hanover exhibition should have been taken into consideration to have better results.

Pakistan has launched some large projects such as e-governance and automation; it is yet to be seen how share of these projects goes to the international companies and the local companies operating in Pakistan. It is however not a matter of real concern as in both the cases whether the lion's share of the huge projects in Pakistan goes to local or international companies, Pakistan IT base would grow stronger in either case. The ITCN will also help in giving a direction to the universities in Pakistan for producing graduates in accordance with the international demands. Most of the institutes so far are imparting IT knowledge in the IT disciplines which have gone obsolete elsewhere. The exhibition may help them to modify the course lines for the students in IT sector.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ata-ur-Rehman, Federal Minister for Science and Technology has said that government initiatives in the field of information technology, having support of the entire nation, will not be reversed.

Dr. Ata said that all IT projects and their PC-1 proposals are being approved for a period of five year so it will ensure sustainability of all the new ventures in IT sector.

He said that IT plan evolved by the government is mainly directed towards poverty alleviation and special attention is being paid to the training of women folk in rural areas through distance learning programmes.

Elaborating the government target for exploration of possibilities in the IT sector, the minister said that e-governance programme has been initiated under which most of the government transactions and public dealings will be handled on-line. On implementation, this programme will allow payment of government taxes through the web-site and for depositing utility bills, income tax, property tax, motor tax etc. as well. People would not be required to go one office to another for payment of their dues, as the e-governance will facilitate them to get their job done while sitting at their PC in their homes.

Yet another e-commerce system is being placed for which new laws are being formulated while bank's are also devising a mechanism for digital signatures to carry on on-line transactions. He disclosed a year ago only eight to ten mega bytes of bandwidth was available in the country. Now the bandwidth is being expanded from 10 to 230 megabyte from April this year.

Due to bulk purchase the Internet bandwidth in Pakistan has become the cheapest as compared to other countries in the region. The price of bandwidth has been brought down to $3000 Mb from $100,000 Mbs.

India has announced a 10-year programme to spread Internet across the country while Pakistan has covered almost 90 per cent of its population and 350 villages, towns.