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
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
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.