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Paks big push in the IT world.

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    Paks big push in the IT world.

    About 6 months back BBC reported only 150 cities were connected to the internet. Atta claims 400+. Can anyone confirm this.

    IT to be country's biggest earner in 18 months: Atta

    By Aamir Ghauri

    LONDON: Pakistan's earnings from information technology services and software exports will become the country's biggest earner, beating income from textile industry within a year and a half, claimed Minister for Science and Technology Dr Atta-ur-Rahman on Sunday. Dr Rahman, who took charge of his ministry on March 14, 2000, told The News that he was satisfied with Pakistan's "catching up" job in information technology in the region against major players like India, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates and Singapore, and hoped the country "will soon gain a leading position in IT-related industries."

    The minister -- who was in London for a brief stay during which he met his British counterpart, Lord Sainsbury, and heads of various British universities to explore possibilities of joint ventures in the fields of science and technology -- listed many companies involved in providing essential IT services to western organisations. For one, he mentioned that over 70 companies are doing the medical transcription for US hospitals and soon it will be extended to legal transcriptions too.

    "Also we are establishing the world's largest call centre in Lahore which will employ 100,000 skilled workers when working to full capacity in a year or so," he said. Dr Rahman does not wear out telling about the improved figures of Internet users in Pakistan where people can log on any time at Pakistan State Oil's petrol pumps up and down the country in 415 cities and towns.

    A year ago this situation was true for only 17 cities, he said and added that in eight months, Internet would be universally accessible in Pakistan as compared to 10 years in India as stipulated by Prime Minister Vajpayee. With facts and figures sounding too good to be true, the minister said that Pakistan's IT earnings would beat country's income from the textile exports within 18 months. Working with only seven people "that includes our tea boy", Dr Rahman wanted to stay away from bureaucratic shenanigans. "Bureaucracy is like a black hole where projects and ideas only get dust," he said.

    He named industry giants like IBM, Cisco Systems, Oracle and Intel as aspirants to invest in Pakistan in near future. Other interested names include Lockhead Martin and Boeing etc. He also mentioned Chinese, Japanese and Malaysian companies as well "who are willing to invest in Pakistan" and claimed that only private investment would reach from $146 million this year to $440 million next year.

    Sounded like an iconoclast, Dr Rahman said that he aimed to bring the largest number of women in IT industry so that the over 50 per cent population of the country could benefit from the latest trends and technologies and vice versa. "I want to see sewing machines replaced by computers," he said.

    What about brain-drain of skilled people? Dr Rahman is not afraid of skilled people leaving the country. "People who go abroad create linkages with the parent country. We aim to produce around 50,000 graduates a year. If half of that number stays back, we will not have a problem," he said, but added that Pakistan would need around 40,000 skilled people working in the IT to earn a billion dollar in exports.

    He also talked about opening new IT universities, establishing strict standards for quality control to stamp out "substandard" institutions, national accreditation council to look into curricula and faculty eligibility. He said that the government would pay Rs 100,000 to 300,000 pcm to PhD teachers to come and impart education in the IT and science and technology fields. They would be posted in the cities of their choice, he said and added that a list of 26 willing candidates sent by Canada was being studied

    Looks good. I have been hearing good things about IT growth in Pakistan from various sources.

    Have they decided on opening new Universities or satellite campuses of existing universities so you have all the resources of an established system but get state of the art education as well?
    The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.


      The figure of 400.... Well I wouldnt be surprised if it were true, espacially for paknet. Most of the country is Fiber optic backboned. The yellow bricks you notice on the sides of intercity road, thats yur Optic Fiber Cable. and most exchanges are digital. So the only thing that needs to be installed are access servers. Which is not a VERY big deal. Unfortunately independent ISPs are still satellite based. and Local Bandwidth between cities is VERY expansive cuz the govt doesnt want ppl to run Voice over IP (Not legal in pk). If that hurdle is eliminated, it'll be an internet boom there. I think pk has around 170 Mbps of Bwidth (recent STM1 + existing BW) at the moment to US. thats pretty good for our current needs. (Telstra the biggest provider here has around 600).

      I believe that we have potential for Technology in general. Pakistanis are a very skilled nation. We should exploit that.


        >>the govt doesnt want ppl to run Voice over IP

        In the IT policy announced in 1999-2000, PTCL (the biggest hurdle in IT development in Pakistan) will get rid of this hang-up. In any case, PTCL's monopoly will end in 2002.


          Hmmm I didnt know that!!...... Last I checked few weeks ago it was still not legal


            Yeah its not. Not yet. As usual, PTCL is dragging its feet, saying it will deprive them of "billions" of dollars of revenue.

            What they don't realize is that all those net-to-net calls people are making won't automatically be diverted to regular phone calls. I don't think my cousin sitting in Karachi having an MSN voice chat will ever pick up a phone and call me if VoIP is disallowed. Its all bull. PTCL just creates such horror stories to drum up support for keeping progress in check. And thats why many IT professionals in Pakistan have repeatedly said that the biggest hurdle for IT development in Pakistan is PTCL and its unnecessary monopoly over telecommunications network.

            Thankfully this will end in 2002. Presently you can download data by using satellite but upload has to go through PTCL's network due to national security concerns. Beat that!


              Originally posted by Peacemaker:
              >>the govt doesnt want ppl to run Voice over IP

              In the IT policy announced in 1999-2000, PTCL (the biggest hurdle in IT development in Pakistan) will get rid of this hang-up. In any case, PTCL's monopoly will end in 2002.

              interesting .... here in india the monopoly for VSNL ends on the same date!!

              congrats to you guys !!



                thats good to hear. I think its great to abolish monopoly of these dinosaurs. I do have concerns that deregulation may not always work properly and there has to be some kinda accountability. Even if we take US example, the long distance companies have engaged in almost everything to screw customers over. Here in Illinois for local service Amerittech had a virtual monopoly and is now forced to pay fines to consumers if it does not meet service limits.

                Without going into national debate here. There is corruption in the country, so are we taking consumers as sacrificial lambs to the greedy corporations? and if there is a watchdog group, who is it..the government..which is another issue or an induswtry association...can you say "cartel"

                Our country like our nieghbour is leapfrogging technology, but we need to ensure that correct policy and procedure are in place to protect the consumers.

                May this be the start os a new era

                Rudra, congrats to you guys too.
                The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.


                  Hey Fraudia thanks pal !
                  Yes I do agree both the public and private sector have their limitations.. I think that a free economy is not advisable for both countries as long as the social fabric and political arena is unstable. Me thinks that the internet, if not commercially exploited, will be another waste of resources. What do you think about this?



                    World's largest IT calls centre being set up in Lahore: Science Minister
                    .......LONDON : Federal Information and Technology Minister Dr Ata-ur-Rahman has said in connection with the world class infrastructure, we have now hundred percent fibre backbone from Peshawar to Karachi. He said Pakistan itself is developing its fibre and as far as the universal internet access in concerned. In August last year, the facility was available in just 29 cities but now by the grace of God it is available in 415 cities and villages.
                    .......Ata said moreover, world's largest IT call centre is being established in Lahore at an area of 1,700 acres of land, in the beginning 10,000 employees will get jobs and later on 100,000 people will work in it.
                    .......He said we are establishing seven IT universities, five of them will be in the public sector and two in the private sector.
                    .......The said the computer science departments throughout the country are being strengthened and each and every computer science department in each university were given a grant of Rs 40 million.
                    .......He said similarly, the projects to impart training to women have also been launched in all over the country.
                    .......The minister said Pakistan State Oil (PSO) would set up 1,800 internet kiosks at its petrol stations as to provide the facility to the far-flung areas of the country.
                    .......Ata-ur-Rahman said if he is farmer, he could go to an internet club at a petrol pump and get information that which variety of fertiliser should be used on land and at what time it should be irrigated.
                    .......He said if he is a student of a small school then he can go to an internet kiosk at a community centre and get information from an information tool, which he cannot get from some other book locally available. -PPI
                    .......Copyright 2001 PPI (Published under arrangement with Pakistan Press International)



                      Your point is probably among the top items of discussion in some think tanks right now. This leapfrogging ability may cause issues for countries which have access to technology but do not have a correct legislation based system set in place to guarantee service limits, consumer rights as well as impact on other facets.

                      The good thign is that unlike in past, I think the senior officials in both India and Pakistan understand this. I dont know of specific measures being taken though.

                      The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.


                        Hey I think its nothing wrong eith PTCL in pak its the wrong policies.
                        Moreover its not PTC that doesn't want VoIP
                        its the govt cuz they r getting a good amout of revenue from PTC as its the only company in public sector thats in profit.
                        Well there is nothing wrong about being curious of slimmimg of revenue cuz of VoIP.
                        evey country upto my knowledge didn't allow that in the beginning but later allowed that.
                        Moreover PTCL engineers r doing great.Fibre optic,internet,ISDN etc its all due to the hard work of PTC.As there is no univ providing majore in such areas PTC engineers are sent abroad for training for amonth or so and they do great job back in the country.Remember its the PTC's Ufone
                        that brought down the mobile connection prices so low that even a normal student can afford that(1200RS for connection and 500 RS card that can go upto 6months is a revolution) Now PTC is programming to do such things step by step in order to compete te private sector that will come in 2002.
                        Even now in calling cards and net the private sector is working s well ptcs calling cards are grabbing the market too.
                        And PTC will compete the private sector as a private company as it will soon be privatised.
                        With 66%of the work force being under matric u can imagine how many professionl engineers r working in PTC even then its doing just great and the main thing is that they r getting better and better day by day as they know they have to compete with the private sector and that itself being privatised.PTC is a giant.u come and see
                        telecom companies here in arab countries with such huge budgets and govt support
                        (and tell u they suck--no tech)
                        Yes there is one ting PTC has blossomed due to Atta sahib and tell u hes a great man.
                        PTC has a program to set-up an IT univ too
                        on its own land where the working professinal can give lectures too .
                        I think u got the point.I think(upto my knowledge)PTC has a great potential and the govt and policy makers r making a mess of it.
                        But from the journey from TNT to PTC this company has done a great job in just a no of years.Hope that it will continue its stride.