PAKISTAN & CONTRIBUTION OF KALIA GROUP
"Information Technology is the language of
21st century and without learning it no progress and prosperity is now
By Hanif S. Kalia (FCMA)
May 21 - Jun 03, 2001
The past 20th century can be dedicated to
Industrial Revolution whereas the current 21st century is being
revolutionized by Information Technology as it is speedily
transferring the global face to new dimensions with altogether a
different approach. Very soon, all our day-to-day activities will be
governed by IT, whether it be entertainment, education, trade or
finance. It is now deeply realized that:
" Information Technology is the language of
21st century and without learning it no progress and prosperity is now
Role of "IT" to achieve two major
History has shown that economic strength is as
important as a strong defence for an honourable survival of a nation.
Both these ingredients are becoming increasingly
dependent on I.T. Therefore promotion of IT is absolutely crucial for
survival of Pakistan in this new millennium.
Economic progress & prosperity :-
The commerce is moving towards e-commerce and
e-business. And soon almost 80% of business would be carried out
electronically, which means global opportunities and global
competition. If our economy and business doesn't prepare itself for
this impending transition it will not be just left behind it will be
antiquated and eliminated.
Building a nuclear deterrent was land-mark and a
blessing of God. But we can't rest here. Application of IT is taking
the military and defence to new dimensions. If we fail to keep head
with these advances then everyone can imagine what will happen.
Moreover, advancement require research &
development & that require economic strength which we have seen
will not be possible without joining the IT revolution.
Therefore, both pre-requisites for honorable
existense are IT dependent and to achieve both these objectives we
have to make the most of the ongoing IT revolution and avail the
opportunities being offered by the IT waves sweeping across the world
to our benefit in stabilizing Pakistan's economy & ensuring
progressive prosperity for all futures to come. Therefore, Pakistan
must develop INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY. This opinion is based on the
following facts & figures:
India has become a major IT player and was able to
increase its defence budget in two years by 41% (27+14) because its
software exports have gone upto $ 6.2 billion. At this juncture, a
question arises that "what shall happen when its exports would
increase to around $ 50 billion a year by 2008 or so? And what
alternate we would have been left with except to accept India's
dominance over our souls?"
There is no doubt that Pakistan has great potential
in developing IT, which was also accepted by the participants of ITCN
ASIA 2001 Seminar. Dr. Toh See Kiat, Member Parliament - Singapore,
said that Singapore is hub of all IT activities in the South Asia
region & there is lot of potential for Karachi to become another
hub in this region.
Four key sectors/factors to achieve the desired
(1) To overcome the existing economic &
foreign exchange crisis and (2) to survive with honour &
dignity, I suggest that close coordination & cooperation among the
following four key sectors can bring about a tremendous change through
Information Technology in our country. These four sectors are:
* Government Sector
* Private Sector
* Non Government Organization (NGO(s))
* Role of government sector:
We believe the role of the government is that of
"Facilitator" but is very essential and multi-dimensional in
nature. One can easily visualize that it is only the
"Government" that can facilitate the entire
"operation" of economic revival & sovereignty making use
of the its vast machinery & resources to formulate effective
output oriented policies and its sound implementation so as to achieve
the aim/mission. In this connection the suggestions are:
Establishment of Full-fledge Federal IT Ministry:
We must remember that IT is a multi-dimensional
subject. Councils, committees, or task forces may not work in this
matter. If we really want to go ahead in this field then, we must have
a proper planning, infrastructure & far reaching policies. This is
possible only if we have a full-fledged and independent IT Ministry at
Federal and Provincial levels on the lines similar to that of India.
There, the IT ministry is working with all the necessary powers vested
in it, so as to keep a vigilant eye on all the dimensions of this
While formulating a separate ministry on federal
and on provincial level, separate secretariat/departments are also
required to be formed. These departments will remain in touch with
concerned business houses, manufacturers, suppliers, exporters &
vendors to gather information, register complaints or note activity so
as to be coordinated & then communicated to the Minister of the
said department. This will help in creating One-Window operation.
Formulation of IT Policy & Implementation:
The government may draft out a consistent/feasible
IT policy keeping in view the present circumstances/future needs and
ensure its implementation. For the achievements of the desired
results, following points may be incorporated:
Inbuilt Strength & Flexibility:
The policy should be of such nature that could
withstand any pressure and contingency that arises in future. For this
we suggest that the appointed personnel should have related
background. The policy should be revival at regular interval and
modification should be carried out to keep it in line with the changed
Consistent & Transparent:
The policy should be clear, un-biased and favorable
for all concerned regardless of the magnitude, so that nobody feels
any disadvantage of sort. All efforts made in this direction, small or
large must be given its due acknowledgement.
Time Frame for Action Plan:
The governmentt action plan must have a time frame
and may be divided into:
*Short term plan of two to three years duration or
immediate actions one after the other.
*Medium term plan to immediately follow short term
plan for next 5 years for fighting contingencies & consolidating
*Long term plan spanning over 15 to 25 years
duration for monitoring, control & providing permanent solutions
to achieve the target.
While pursuing for promotion of IT & software
Industry, the government may provide such infrastructure where every
citizen can have hassle free access without incurring much cost. It
has been noted with concern that whenever such policies/infrastructure
are established they create more inconvenience to people rather than
encouragement. So far the development of Indus Technology Park &
Cyber City at Karachi, where 90% of IT manpower lies, awaits its
implementation. Such frustrations can only be eliminated through sound
Although Communication & Computer Technology
both are inter-related and integrated to IT but communication is more
vital as without which concept of Global Village cannot be achieved.
Therefore, emphasis may first be given to PTCL services which at
present are not upto the desired standard. Priorities be laid to
improve upon its services, may it be through privatization or foreign
collaboration. Excellence in PTCL services based on latest
technologies will automatically help us acquiring/developing more
software to train our manpower with ease and quality. Secondly this
will help us in creating an environment whereby we may attract more
foreign assistance. For example, renowned companies like Microsoft and
Oracle are active in our country under certain agreements. They are
ready to provide our masses necessary training in all areas related to
this technology. These companies may also be assigned the task of
training our educators/teachers/instructors as well so that their
quality contribution thereafter can enhance & accelerate the pace
of development of IT in Pakistan.
Finance is the essential ingredient for achieving
overall progress. A large number of persons having creative and
productive ideas just cannot capitalize because of lack of liquid
resources. If they are given a helping hand through scheduled banks
and DFIs, they can contribute much towards national prosperity. In
this connection, the example of Pak Libya Holding Company can be
cited. They are inviting talented IT related persons to come forward
with their ideas and feasibility reports. Needless to mention that
Pak-Libya is a financing company, which has diverted its certain funds
for this purpose. Local Banks should be encouraged to implement
similar schemes (like microfinancing scheme) as is the case for
Copyright Acts & Related Laws:
Only few multinationals IT companies have
implemented their copyright acts in Pakistan. Microsoft is an instant
example. However, pirated CDs and softwares are being freely
manufactured and sold in Pakistan. This is a total violation of World
Trade Organization's intellectual property rights just because of lack
of copyright laws allowing fake software manufacturers to go
scot-free. The government should include strict copyright laws for its
IT policy to apprehend those indulging in this practice. Other IT
related laws and rules like checking of cyber crimes etc. should be
enforced as early as possible.
Personal Computers (PCs):
PCs may be subsidized in order to attract more
people to take advantage of IT. PC should be priced in the range of Rs.
5000/= so that it is within reach of an average income individual.
Computer Training Curriculum:
Computer training may be started from the very
initial stage i.e K.G. so that the new generation develops an aptitude
for IT & its execution. For this matter computer training be made
compulsory subject in the curriculums.
Role of private sector:
The role of Private Sector is that of a "Key
Player" in any game & can very easily be defined through
*Keen observations of the game - "development" taking
place all around.
*Contribute & get contribution-"investment".
*Learn new techniques - transfer of technology".
*Keep on improving-"research & development".
*Earn name & fame - 'profit & prosperity".
Not only Private Sector is very keenly observing
the revolutionary developments taking place through this technology
but a number of ventures belonging to local entrepreneurs are already
in the field. It is estimated that some 400 companies have either
started their operation or are in the process of starting the business
solely or in collaboration with certain world-renowned high-tech
But the question is "how far the private
ventures can go in the absence of infrastructure or financing by the
government"? Any amount of investment or efforts from Private
sector is not enough. The government has to come forward with all
facilities & incentives it can offer to Private sector.
Role of non-government organizations (ngos):
Certain projects, which can not be initiated by the
government because of its limitations such as establishment of
computer centres, computer institutes & universities are also
found not feasible by the Private sector as it does not find any
profit incentive in such projects. Under such circumstances the NGO's
may come forward and play their role in providing such institutions on
large and small scales duly supported by the government as well as the
philanthropists from the society. Such NGOs and other private sector
organizations should be encouraged and their resources augmented by
offering scholarships and donations.
To a great extent the NGOs are already playing
their role and have gone much ahead in this direction, but the main
handicaps is the infrastructure, which hinders their pace of progress.
However, The Memon Community has done a lot in this field. The Memon
NGOs have played constructive role & were able to contribute in
the areas of (1) Computer Education Improvement Programmes (CEIP)
at school level and (2) Urdu Tutorial for computer Applications
Role of media:
What is most lacking in our society is the
awareness towards the importance of this technology. This calls for a
comprehensive campaign through electronic as well as print media as
their effectiveness cannot be denied. It can go a long way in bringing
about awareness among the masses by giving prominent coverage to all
the activities being carried out in the field of Information
Technology. It can inspire the youth for adopting this technology as
career and publish/broadcast/telecast various informative articles and
write ups. It can provide guidance to the masses, advice solutions to
the problems they face in their day-to-day business. It can also
update the knowledge of the students and professionals by publishing
the new breakthroughs in this field. It is now high time to have
Radio/ TV channels dedicated for this purpose.
I firmly believe that coordination of all the four
key players i.e. Government Sector, Private Sector, NGOs and Media is
very essential to have the desired results. Kalia Group, honoring its
social responsibilities is striving to promote IT in Pakistan, by
offering maximum assistance & taking necessary actions towards
coordination of all the above mentioned four sectors.
Role of Kalia Group in promotion of it:
Kalia Group is a fast emerging group having
diversified business activities with a num,er of companies to its fold
such as Kalia Corporation, Kalia Sons, Kalia Computer Service, KalSoft,
Kalvault & Kalpoint.com etc., working in the fields of currency,
finance, export and of course Information Technology. Kalia Group is
endeavoring to bring awareness regarding among IT revolution. It
particularly encourages the youth as well as the elders of the society
toward this new but fast growing technology dominating all facets of
The Kalia Group has strongly vouched and supported
the government call in popularizing Information technology in Pakistan
and in this regard we have activated all our resources. To achieve
this mission, the Kalia Group has launched its efforts on four fronts
i.e. Social, Commercial, Socio-Commercial and Media.
On social front, Kalia Group is doing its best for
the promotion of IT technology through its own registered social
welfare organization i.e. KOORDINATION GROUP commonly known as KRG.
This organization, headed by myself came into existence a couple of
years back, so as to attain (in scheduled phases) the unique
objectives in the field of education, housing and other welfare
activities. The first objective is to educate and train the citizens
in general and Memon Community in particular so that they become
successful IT professionals. IT, being the panacea for all social,
economic and political problerns, has been selected for the lst phase.
IT education and training is therefore our first priority with
emphasis on job orientation.
To fulfil the commitment made in this respect, a
result oriented committee on Information Technology for KrG has been
formulated. Leading IT professional Mr. Abdul Ghaffar Memon with 35
years experience is the Chairman. Mr. Iqbal Kasbati, a senior
Chartered Accountant and Mr. Khurrum H. Kalia, a Gold Medallist from
renowned IT Institute of Pakistan Managing Software Development as
Director KalSoft alongwilh many others well known experts and
professionals of this field are the members of this committee
The role of KrG is being appreciated for following
*The establishment of Sir Adamjee Institute of
Technology (SAIT) through Pakistan Memon Educational and Welfare
*The Ladies wing of KO-ORDINATION Group under the able Chairpersonship
of Mrs. Mumtaz H. Kalia for increasing the awareness among women
folks, girls schools & colleges.
*The Scholarship Committee, under the chairmanship Mr. Owais S. Kalia
is providing scholarships, grants and computers to the needy and
deserving students of Memon Community on Qarz-e-Hasna following the
principle "Charity begins at home".
*KO-Ordination Group has planned to publish a weekly column captioned
as "IT-WORLD" in Gujrati, Urdu & English to update the
masses and youths in particular regarding IT, career guidance and
training. It is necessary to mention here that IT-WORLD is already on
the website of "KalPoint.com" which is also providing
various free public services since 23rd March, 2000.
*KO-Ordination Group has also formed an "Employment
Committee" headed by Mr. Sikandar S. Kalia as its Chairman. This
free service is also being put on the website "KalPoint.com"
specifically to attract foreign employers to the benefit of our
As mentioned earlier, Kalia Group has well
recognized & accepted the challenges of the 21st century and is
therefore endeavoring to master Information Technology. Having this
vision focused, the Kalia Group has entered into a new era engaging
all spheres of Information Technology through KalSoft (Pvt.) Ltd. - a
software house in commercial sector.
KalSoft is engaged in developing quality softwares
both for the local and foreign markets. KalSoft's main concentration
is toward exporting quality software that not only earns precious
foreign exchange for the countty but also promotes Pakistan as an
emerging player in the software market.
KalSoft is a company managed on progressive lines.
It is rapidly growing and cultivating clientele on national as well as
international level. It has already signed three MOUs worth US $80
million. The detailed break up is as following:
*MOU with eS2R of U.S.A for software export worth
US $ 50 million.
*MOU with E-Commerce gateway of Singapore for software export worth US
$ 20 million
*MOU with Euro Software Park Netherland for software export worth US $
Apart from creating IT awareness in the country,
KalSoft provides employment to young and qualified professionals.
Presently KalSoft has an excellent team of professionals who are keen
to learn new technology and attain cutting-edge performance in
KalSoft offers Business Software Development and Web Development.
KalSoft believes in flexibility and adaptability. The prominent
features of the software tools and technology being used at KalSoft
*Java using JDK 1.2,
*WML for WAP
*Microsoft SQL Server
*RMI (Remote Method Invocation)
*IIS and Microsoft
*Visual Basic 6.0 and Visual
*Cold Fusion 4.1
KalSoft is also in the process of achieving
universal quality levels of CMM-I, II and during the year. There are
only 41 IT companies in the world, which have acquired CMM-V, KalSoft
will have the honor to be the first in Pakistan. Implementation of
ISO-9001 is already completed and KalSoft is ready for External Audit
for ISO 9002.
On Socio-Commercial front, Kalia Group has
established a socio-commercial organization named as "KalPoint.com".
and is now, without any doubt, the largest interactive Website in
Pakistan spread over more than 20000 pages and is providing free
public services in more than 20 fields/sectors including Prize Bonds,
Foreign Exchange, em@il, Real Estate, Employment, Matrimonial,
Automobiles, Running Business etc. and a lot of information from
education to showbiz. Of course, a successful attempt to put an ocean
into a bottle and this can only be truly realized through visiting
this website as seeing is believing. It is noteworthy that presently
most of the commercial transactions are done B2B and B2C, whereas,
"KalPoint.com" has taken a leap in this field & has
introduced the concept of C2C. Its prime objective is to create
awareness in developing IT concepts in our beloved country PAKISTAN.
Kalia Group has again taken the initiative in this
regard for publishing a weekly column -
IT WORLD, a bilingual column (Urdu and Gujrati) being regularly
published in the leading newspapers and magazines of the community. It
encompasses latest news and views regarding IT. Mr. Munaf S. Kalia is
heading MEDIA COMMITTEE.
Moreover, IT WORLD as mentioned earlier, is
Pakistan's first IT E-zine being one of the category of "KalPoint.com"
having comprehensive coverage regarding latest news and views in
English language. It is playing an important role in creating
awareness about Internet & E-Commerce in particular and IT in
The end results of the above mentioned efforts are
very promising and encouraging. Kalia Group, therefore, is further
accelerating its activities, of course, with the co-operation of the
enterprising philanthropists of the Community & other
organizations. Having full faith in Almighty Allah, we are very
optimistic that Inshallah our Government, the Private Sector, the
NGO's & the Media will play their due role in acquiring excellence
in Information Technology, thereby, ensuring a prosperous future with
honour & dignity for all Pakistanis.