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IT role crucial to uplift less-developed areas: PM

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday said the role of Information Technology is crucial in uplifting the less developed areas through connectivity.

Speaking at the signing ceremony for award of contracts by Universal Service Fund for provision of voice and high speed mobile broadband data services in Balochistan and Sindh, the prime minister said, “Digital Pakistan is our future and by concentrating on the IT sector we can enhance our exports.”

He admitted that Balochistan has been neglected for a long time and suffers from worryingly high levels of poverty.

He said that the area from where Sui gas was supplied to all over the country is itself extremely underdeveloped and is no better than one from the stone ages.

“This lop-sided development has a very negative impact on society,” he said.

He also said poor nations become poorer when all of the nation’s wealth is parked into rich countries and despite money laundering laws in place, only rich countries are protected, while the poor are not.

“The result is economic migrants going by ship, drowning in the seas, carrying their children with them. Then these [rich countries] put up fences and walls to keep them out,” he continued.

PM Imran Khan said that the result of this kind of inequitable and unjust development is then borne by societies.

Speaking of Pakistan, he highlighted how the general populace remained neglected due to the cropping up of English medium schools, who ran their affairs in a business-centric manner.

“Unfortunately, the system has been such that a small section of society gets an English medium education and the rest of the society gets neglected.

“The government’s Urdu medium schools used to produce the best intellectuals of Pakistan but then slowly English medium schools started opening up everywhere with a view for money making and government schools were left behind,” the prime minister said.

Speaking of countries like Malaysia and South Korea, Imran Khan said that there was a time when Pakistan was a role model for other countries. “We were left behind due to elite capture,” he said.

Speaking of the signing of the memoranda of understanding, he termed it a “very positive” development.

“We thought of connecting the most backward areas with other areas. Connectivity is a great driving force to raise the standard of living of people from such areas.

He pointed out how Gilgit-Baltistan was completely cut off from the rest of the world until the Karakoram Highway was built.

The Prime Minister noted that due to connectivity, Hunza valley’s literacy rate is higher than in most parts of Pakistan.

He said that the advent of the mobile phone also changed how people approached education. He said that even domestic workers now know full well how to operate mobile devices and have social media accounts of their own.

Imran Khan said that in the next age, known as the fifth industrial revolution, better connectivity — 4G and 5G — will play a great role and have a great impact on development.

“The virtual education concept has caught on. Now we have got the idea due to COVID-19 that areas where it is difficult to have good schools or send teachers — in remote areas — we can have a virtual education system.”

Now our conferences are also virtual. The UNGA meeting was also held virtually, he added.

“Every crisis gives us an opportunity and this is a terrific opportunity to reach out to those areas where kids have not gotten an opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that that all available resources will be utilized in further for strengthening strategic capabilities to preserve sovereignty of the country. 

The prime minister stated this during his visit to the Ground Station, SUPARCO late Wednesday night.

He was briefed about SUPARCO’s achievements in developing indigenous capabilities in space, science and technology and its contributions towards strengthening national security as well as socio-economic development of the country.

During the visit of various technical facilities and interaction with SUPARCO’s engineers and scientists, the Prime Minister reiterated that all available resources will be utilized in further strengthening strategic capabilities to preserve sovereignty of the country.

He emphasized that Pakistan’s nuclear and strategic capability is safe and secure under the robust command and control system. 

“We shall continue to strengthen our strategic capability to safeguard our vital national interests,” he added.

While recognizing the significant role of space technology, he assured requisite support for expansion of space based services and infrastructure to give impetus to the National Space Programme-2047 for socio-economic.

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