Over 18 significant IT projects which are in the final phase, would bring a pleasant surprise for the people

Aug 15 - 21, 2005

The cutting edge information technology, which is taking roots even in the lowest strata of society, is sure to weed out all conventional ills created by the lethargic, inefficient and corrupt elements.

Mustafa Kamal, provincial Minister for Information Technology, though apparently youthful but with sharp and discerning eyes, told PAGE that over 18 significant IT projects which are in the final phase, would bring a pleasant surprise for the people at economic and social fronts of the province.

Introduction of e-policing has been initiated in view of making the police-citizen relationship easier as compared to time consuming procedures while dealing with the police.

In fact, the automation was being introduced at all levels in the province of Sindh which is bound to eliminate the nasty and time consuming procedure and the much talked about nuisance of file movements usually causing unnecessary delays in the most urgent matters.

Having a clear vision about the things, Mustafa Kamal expressed the hope that Karachi will soon be a focal point of the foreign investment in the information technology.

When his attention was drawn towards the flow of investment towards upcountry especially in Lahore, the minister with a smile on his face observed that actually we were lacking in self-projection, otherwise things are happening in Sindh as well. He pointed out that the province was lacking in proper and aggressive marketing of potential, quality human resource and strategic location of Karachi. He, however, was quick to add that things are quite different now and Karachi is going to be the hub of investment in the Information Technology project. He explained that our neighboring country India is at least 10 years ahead of Pakistan in the field of IT, which is a known fact. Now is the time that the Indian market has come to a saturation point. The foreign investors have no choice but to look towards Pakistan for establishment of call centers business due to various reasons including the excellent and neutral accent of the people in Pakistan. He cited the example of Middle East and the Far East region where the accent of the people does not suit to call center business. He disclosed that the World Trade, one of the largest group in call centers, has chosen Pakistan for setting up the call centers in Pakistan and one of the projects is going into operation from midnight of August 14 to mark the Independence Day in a befitting manner.

The information technology in Pakistan is likely to be beneficial for the current state of affairs, which is leading towards better understanding and relations between the two countries. Because of the saturation of the industry in India, outsourcing will flow towards Pakistan, he expressed the hope.

Mustafa Kamal expressed his dissatisfaction over the failure to take care of information technology in a proper manner. He strongly recommended that IT should be taken out of the domain of the Education Department and be associated with the Department of Technical Education.

The provincial IT ministry has undertaken a project to impart a 6-month market oriented training to batch of 1000 students with a view to help out people in their efforts to become earning members of the family in a respectable way. He said depending on others for donations or doles would do nothing except adding to the strength of beggars.

Replying to another question regarding ban on voice over Internet portfolio which is freely available in rest of the countries, the minister after taking a pause observed that it's a matter of demand and supply. With the demand growth the cap will be removed from voice over hopefully in near future because the country has almost attained a level where this should be allowed, he agreed.

He referred his recent visits to UK and US where he successfully sold out his ideas for attracting foreign investment in Pakistan in the field of information technology.

Currently, the Indian market is on saturation. Taiwan, Middle East and China have the accent problem, luckily Pakistan, Bangladesh and India have neutral accent and they are fit for call center business. "We have succeeded in attracting investment in call centers, and one of the major achievements is the operation of the largest call center in Karachi from Aug 14," he reiterated.

The 57-year-old manual system has been replaced by automation at the Chief Minister House, Governor House, Sindh Secretariat and the Police Department.

Now the CM and the Governor houses are linked with all districts. The senior provincial offers would have to travel all the way from their districts to Karachi to have a meeting with the CM and other officials. But now things are just a click away and they can be conferencing on computer with all their day to day issues. This will save time and will help take timely decisions over the issues confronting the people. IT would certainly bring a change in the working style of the officials and the life style of the people at all levels, Kamal said.

So far over 15,000 Sindh government employees have been given IT training while 7000 more are under training. The skilled manpower will certainly help develop a new culture in the provincial government offices, he expressed the hope.