Federal Secretary, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, Mr. Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui inaugurated a Two-Day International Workshop on ICTs for Development: Mainstreaming the Marginalized organized in Islamabad by the COMSTECH Inter-Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT). While speaking at the occasion, Mr. Siddiqui said that the current government was pursuing a massive digitalization program in order to promote transparency and make public departments service oriented. He said that the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan had always underscored the importance of ICTs in governance and since Pakistan had a high potential for technology disruption by virtue of its young population, the subject was ever more pertinent. He also called on INIT and COMSATS University to promote the soft image of the country through international capacity building events.
Prof. Tim Unwin C.M.G, who is also UNESCO Chair in ICT4D, and Emeritus Professor of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK, delivered the keynote address. Prof. Unwin said that aside from an increased focus on Climate Change and other conventional focuses of the Sustainable Development Agenda, there was a need to develop baseline data to monitor progress on the quality of life.
He said that e-waste is one of the pressing problems and there is an emergent need to change consumption patterns while talking about technology adoption. Similarly, he called for employing devices which have a tendency to be repaired or upgraded rather than one time use only.
Prof. Dr. Raheel Qamar, Rector COMSATS University Islamabad and President INIT said that data was evolving professional practices and creating redundancy in conventional jobs. There is a need for changing the skill set of current professions in order to draw maximum benefit from emerging technologies and artificial intelligence. Dr. Raheel Qamar also said that youth must focus on future technologies and the entrepreneurial potential of these technologies in order to benefit Pakistan. He said that Information is being created at an unprecedented scale, it is our duty to learn how to convert it into useful knowledge, particularly lawyers, doctors and service sector professionals will be the most impacted in the coming days.
This Workshop is part of a series of capacity building events held across the Muslim world by the COMSTECH-Inter-Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT), hosted at COMSATS University Islamabad in Pakistan. This workshop builds on the efforts of INIT to promote diffusion of ICT related technologies as well as for creating an impact on the marginalized communities in Pakistan.
The Executive Director INIT, Dr. Tahir Naeem while speaking at the occasion said that the workshop series had successfully created sub-networks of professionals committed to bringing forward innovative solutions across member countries of INIT.