May 24 - 30, 2010

Microsoft launched Microsoft Office 2010 in Pakistan at a ceremony held in Lahore in which the participants were briefed on the upcoming product portfolio which includes Exchange 2010, Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, Project 2010 & Visio 2010.

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif was the Chief Guest while Chairman Punjab Information Technology Board Dr Javed Ghani, Vice Chairman Punjab Board of Investment and Trade Pir Saad Ahsanuddin, Chairman Strategy and Innovation Unit Dr Zafar Iqbal Qureshi, Country Manager Microsoft Pakistan Kamal Ahmad and a large number of IT experts attended the ceremony.

Punjab Chief Minister said that government is paying special attention to the promotion of information technology in the province, as it is the need of the hour for speedy progress and development.

He said that foundation of a revolution has been laid in education sector by establishing IT labs in more than 4000 schools of the province and students of remote and far-flung areas are now benefiting from this technology. He said that introduction of IT in different sectors will not only result in good governance and improvement of efficiency of institutions but will also help eliminate corruption.

The Punjab Chief Minister said he was particularly delighted that Microsoft has chosen Lahore as the venue of the launch of its flagship product which reflects the growing confidence of investors and multinational companies in the polices of Punjab government and the measures taken by it to create an enabling environment for investment and business. He said that IT has transformed the world into a global village and this technology is playing an important role in the development of the countries.

He said that Punjab government is committed to promotion of information technology in the province and all out resources are being utilized for this purpose. He said that IT labs have been set up in as many as 4286 schools of the province in a record period of time at a cost of five billion rupees and this project has been completed with the cooperation of international companies in a transparent manner. He said that 32 lakh boy and girl students from Attock to Rahim Yar Khan are not only benefiting from this technology but also gaining latest information about the fast changing global scenario. He said that Punjab government is committed to putting Punjab on the global IT map by bridging the digital divide between the rich and the poor. He commended the role being played by Microsoft in this regard and expressed the desire for continued collaboration with the company.

He said that keeping in view the importance of information technology, a project was also evolved for the development of IT sector in the province in 1998 but due to the toppling of democratic government, the project could not be completed. He said that now a comprehensive project is again being implemented for promoting IT in the province with the collaboration of a leading software company of the world, Microsoft and 400 IT academies will be established through TEVTA in the province under the strategic partnership agreement signed with Microsoft. He said that the experts passing out from these academies will not only play an important role in strengthening IT industry at the local level but will also earn foreign exchange from abroad. He said that under this partnership, the Microsoft Company, besides setting up an Innovation Center in Lahore and imparting training in government departments, will also help establish e-government which will improve contact between the government and the public as well as save precious time of the people through online facilities.

The Chief Minister said that Pakistan is standing today on crossroads and there is a need for tireless efforts, commitment and dedication for progress and prosperity otherwise the consequences will be disastrous. He said that despite passage of 63 years, the common man is still facing a number of problems. He said that while an ordinary citizen is finding it difficult to make both the ends meet, he also has to run from pillar to post for acquiring justice and he has personally witnessed these hard facts during his visits to various areas of the province. He said that in order to resolve these issues, equitable distribution of resources and provision of all out facilities to the poor will have to be ensured so that they should also have a feeling that they have as much right over national resources as the elite classes. He said the present situation of the country demands that national unity should be promoted for foiling the evil designs of anti-Pakistan elements.

Expressing his serious concern over the Karachi incidents, the Chief Minister said that he was shocked over the loss of innocent lives in Karachi, the City of Lights. The Chief Minister also prayed for restoration of peace in Karachi.

Country Manager Microsoft, in is address, paid rich tributes to Chief Minister for his sincere and determined efforts for the promotion of information technology in the province. He also highlighted the measures being taken by Microsoft for promoting IT in Pakistan.