Kamil F. Hasan, Country Manager, Intel Pakistan
Corporation, joined the company in August 1997, as Channel Manager to
set up the Channel operation and a distribution network in Pakistan.
With an extensive background in Information Technology and sales,
Kamil was the prime choice for this portfolio. Later on he was
promoted as the Area Sales Manager and then as Country Manager. Prior
to joining Intel, he was Sales Manager at ABM Data Systems. He is a
member of Board of Governors of COMSATS and Info-Tech Sub-Committee of
the American Business Council. He graduated from the Institute of
Business Administration with a Masters in MIS in 1998. A Bridge
enthusiast, Kamil represented Pakistan in the Junior Championship as a
non-playing Captain and Manager in Hamilton, Canada in 1997.
PAGE: How do you evaluate the overall IT
awareness in Pakistan?
Kamil Hasan: It is very heartening that the
GoP is giving concerted attention to promotion of Information
Technology (IT). However, in my opinion, two areas that are very
important need more attention. It is true that people living in urban
areas, particularly Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, are able to fully
appreciate what computer can do. But in rest of the cities people
still do not understand the benefits they can draw by using computers.
Unless a massive programme is launched throughout the country,
excluding the above mentioned cities, Pakistan will not be able to
exploit the real potential of IT.
PAGE: What efforts are being made by local
vendors to improve computer awareness and literacy?
Kamil: I will fully acknowledge the efforts
being made by the hardware and software marketing companies in
Pakistan. In 1997 only two exhibitions were held in two cities. As
against this till May this year three mega exhibitions have been held.
Intel alone has gone to Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Quetta, Hyderabad and
Peshawar. In the past, during the exhibitions, visitors only used to
collect brochures. Now people want to discuss specific issues with
vendors. However exhibitions are not the proper place to discuss
specific issues. There the two parties make a contact and subsequent
discussions have to be held in respective offices only. I will also
add that visitors should not expect immediate replies to their
quarries for two reasons: 1) the staff at the stall may not be
competent enough to provide the satisfactory reply and 2) since so
many people visit the stalls, it is not possible to give due attention
to each visitor. We have to develop the habit of following up the
I strongly believe that the level of awareness and
computer literacy is exceptionally high, though limited to a few
cities for the time being. It is evident by nearly 50 per cent growth
in hardware import. It is often said that 70 per cent of total
computers imported go to corporate sector and only 30 per cent to home
users. In my opinion the share of home users should be higher, as in
other developed countries. Unless the population of home-based
computers increase substantially, we will have less computer literates
at corporate level.
PAGE: How can Pakistan make the best use of
Kamil: I will quote the example of Intel
while talking about e-commerce. Now bulk of the business is done
through this mode. It was possible only because, earlier the clients,
living in different time zones had to wait for days to get the reply.
Now they can do business 24 hours a day at their own convenience. The
same will also go true about Pakistani exporters in particular if they
implement e-commerce. However, it must be kept in mind that the
infrastructure needed for e-commerce in Pakistan is not as efficient
as in many developed countries. Therefore, it is the PTCL which has to
take the lead in providing the most efficient infrastructure. Two
areas which need immediate attention are bandwidth and charges.
Availability of low bandwidth increases down loading time and higher
tariff pushes the cost of data transfer. The point must be addressed
on priority basis, if Pakistan wants to get its due share in global
software export market. However, I will reiterate my point that unless
Pakistan makes the best use of IT in its core industries, it will not
be able to get a bigger bite in software export. Therefore, the target
should be to produce people who are capable of using computers
efficiently and not those who have the expertise to develop software.