Promotion of IT

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PRIME Minister Imran Khan has directed for prepara tion of a roadmap based on timelines within a week related to promotion of information technology sector, including establishment of special technology zones and issuance of 5G Spectrum. Chairing a meeting regarding promotion of information technology in Islamabad on Friday, Imran Khan said promotion of information technology is a priority of the government as it is future of the country. It is, indeed, an era of information and communication technologies as these have become engines of knowledge society and knowledge economy. ICT has not only become a central part of everyone’s life but also playing crucial role in overall socio-economic development of a country. It is rightly believed that through information technology we can transform our population into an asset and earn hugely in terms of foreign exchange. Information technology is growing and expanding in Pakistan but it is also a fact that we have not achieved much progress if seen in the context of prospects and potential of the country in this regard. Pakistan has a long way to go in order to be at par, or even comparable, with the IT markets of other countries in the world. A good start was made when prominent scientist and scholar of the country Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman was Minister for Science and Technology but the tempo was lost with the change of the Government. Continuation of those policies would have made Pakistan a leader in the IT world and not just a user of information technology, which we are at the moment. In order to make a difference, the Government will have to focus on areas like quality of IT education and research and development. It is encouraging that great names in the sector like Microsoft are willing to cooperate with Pakistan and possibilities of cooperation were explored time and again but so far no worthwhile practical step has been taken to exploit this opportunity. In accordance with Pakistan Vision 2025 and the Digital Policy of Pakistan 2018, the ICT industry size is targeted to reach $20 billion by 2025 but the vigour needed to realize the ambitious target is not visible. Major policy changes, significant investment in ICT infrastructure and extensive facilitation of the industry are required to move towards that end.