HILINKS: PAKISTAN'S FIRST INTERNATIONAL PORTAL

 

An interview with Viqar Abidi, Chairman, hilinks.com

By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Apr 17 - 23, 2000

Air Commodore (Retd) Viqar Ahmed Abidi, S.J., S.I. (M), was commissioned in Pakistan Air Force on January 4, 1959, graduated from Air Force Staff College in 1976. He did his Post Graduate in Resource Management from USA. He became Director of Automation Pakistan Air Force in 1982 and remained in this position till 1989. During his tenure, massive computerization and networking was done at various air bases.

After the retirement he joined Shaheen Systems, a software house which developed a hospital management software for Alexander Hospital of Virginia, USA. In 1991 he was appointed general manager ICL Pakistan. He also established Global Net, an ISP in 1997. He was the first convener of the Computer Society of Pakistan, NWFP. He has represented Computer Society of Pakistan at various meetings abroad.

"We are proud to have launched Pakistan's first ever international portal. This portal like others in the Cyber world will offer a variety of services. Besides, providing the usual services being offered by others, it will also provide news, information on business, education, science, entertainment and healthcare, etc." This was a brief introduction of hilinks.com by Viqar Abidi, Chairman, Hilinks Pak (pvt) Limited. Following are the excerpts from an exclusive interview of Abidi with PAGE.

While many other portals provide general information about Pakistan, it was felt that the Pakistanis living abroad as well as living here want not only more information but also require a platform for interaction with fellow countrymen. This portal was launched on March 14, 2000. They also want a vehicle to engage in e-commerce. The immediate advantage of accessing hilinks.com is that the person will be able to get the maximum required information from one source and there may not be a need to visit a large number of web sites. We wish to transform Pakistan into a e-society. you can see our press digest with ssubject wise brief giving news and views of all major publications.

A portal is defined as a gate or a grand entrance. The portal in the Cyber space is exactly that to a Cyber colony, all good things grouped together. We all know the famous yahoo in fact, without which our Cyber lives would have been fairly complicated.

The portal has been launched in response to the government's desire of putting Pakistan on the world map of e-commerce. It is now for the Pakistani business community to convert their e-dreams into reality. The hilinks.com is the first ever electronic platform for the Pakistanis on the internet, whereever they may be in the world. It is an opportunity for them to compete with the rest of the world on an equal footing.

The primary consideration of hilinks.com is to offer worldwide free services to bring people on to the web site. In the first phase services like free e-mail, free chat, free greetings, free classified advertisements have been offered. There will be various links. The UK link, specific to Britain, has been in operation. The US and the Middle East links will be introduced shortly.

Launching of this portal was not an easy job. We wanted to be the first as well as have the most comprehensive contents. We made a compromise by launching it with a little lesser data and we are still in the process of adding new details. Apart from the designing of the portal, the real task is to keep it most up to date. The sponsoring directors have put their own money and real and substantial contribution has been made by PODF. While we will be providing most of the services free of cost, our real income will be from advertising and shopping malls etc.