Aug 04 - 10, 2008

Lack of proper communication system and non-utilization of modern skills and equipment in the field of Information Technology (IT) is the biggest challenge being faced by the Muslim World.

Dependency on foreign communication networks and lack of achievement in modern technology and advanced scientific knowledge do not allow the Muslim World to make a breakthrough in the global arena, experts said this while talking to PAGE with reference to IT and Muslim World.

According to them, Muslims at the international level represent 1/4th of the world's population, possesses 70 percent of world's energy resources and 40 percent of the global availability of raw materials, but the collective OIC share in global trades is barely 6-7 percent. The human development indicators are among the lowest in the world. In today's globalized world, economic strength determines the status and position of a bloc or a country in the comity of nations.

They said that Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the financial wing of the OIC, created to promote economic cooperation between Muslim states, has maintained a low-key profile. The IDB should not only proactively promote major infrastructure projects such as Telecom and IT but also provide funding in this regard.

They said the idea of a real Islamic common market especially with regard to telecom industry has always appealed to Muslims all over the world. Although, religion is a common bond among the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), there are several missing links for effective and adequate economic cooperation between them, they said.

Now-a-days, communication plays a vital role in confidence building process among all nations and governments and therefore one of the prime responsibilities of all the Islamic States in the present milieu is to encourage public sector for research and investment in the field of IT as much as possible, they added.

About the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), they said it is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations which has membership of 57 states spread over four continents.

''The OIC is the collective voice of the Muslim world and responsible to safeguard and project the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world," they said.

They further said the OIC was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco on 12th Rajab 1398 Hijra (25 September 1969) as a result of criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. Over the last 38 years, the membership has grown from its founding members of 30 to 57 states. The Organization has the singular honor to galvanize the Ummah into a unified body and have actively represented the Muslims by espousing all causes close to the hearts of over 1.5 billion Muslims of the world. The OIC has consultative and cooperative relations with the UN and other inter-governmental organizations to protect the vital interests of the Muslims and to work for the settlement of conflicts and disputes involving member states. In safeguarding the true values of Islam and the Muslims, the organization has taken various steps to remove misperceptions and have strongly advocated elimination of discrimination against the Muslims in all forms and manifestations, they added.

The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Mohammad Ali Mian said that the Telecom and IT sector had been widely identified as a major potential area of growth. The sector had been undergoing restructuring and reform for last one decade. This is creating new opportunities of investments, he said, adding that during the last few years some of the developing countries in Muslim World, including Islamic Republics of Iran and Pakistan have made concentrated efforts for achieving viable success in the field of IT which is still continuing.


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