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Promotion of technology crucial for country’s development: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the promotion of information technology, cyber connectivity and digitalization essential in the development of the country’s backward areas.

The premier was addressing at a signing ceremony for the award of Rs. 1.28 billion contracts by Universal Service Fund (USF) to cellular companies for the provision of voice and high-speed mobile broadband data services in areas of Balochistan and Sindh, according to a press statement.

The contract signed between USF and Jazz will cover the areas of Khairpur, Sukkur and Ghotki in Sindh, whereas the areas under the contract signed between USF and Ufone include Bolan, Jhal Magsi, Ziarat and Kalat in Balochistan.

Terming the signing of contracts as a ‘good omen’ for the country, PM Imran observed that it was in line with his government’s vision of uplifting the most backward, poor and deprived areas of Sindh besides different impoverished areas of Balochistan through a network of internet connectivity.

He said the MoU would lead to wider connectivity in these remote areas, thus paving a way for development and prosperity.

the prime minister cited the construction of the Karakoram Highway in Gilgit which had connected inaccessible areas and helped in improving the standards of living and educational facilities.

He said the majority of the people in those areas also wanted the provision of e-learning and distance learning facilities through the use of mobile phone services.

Citing to the lack of facilities in the education and health sectors, PM said the country had witnessed dual systems for the elitist class and the poor.

These systems were enforced to safeguard the interests of the rich class while entirely neglecting the poor segments of society, he added, citing the global money-laundering network which protected the powerful class.

He said the economic disparity across the globe always led to this class difference as evident with the plight of poor migrants who faced ordeals while eking out to the rich countries.

PM Imran observed that during the 60s, Pakistan had been a fast developing country and even countries like South Korea and Malaysia regarded it as their role model, but now they had excelled in different fields leaving behind Pakistan in terms of development and progress.

He said Pakistan had the second-largest young population in the world which possessed ‘a vibrant potential’ and stressed that the IT ministry should work further in tapping the IT skills.

On this occasion, Minister for Information Technology Syed Amin ul Haq said his Ministry through USF was committed to bridging the digital divide by development, deployment and uptake of Information Communications Technology (ICT) initiatives to make a real difference in people’s lives.

He informed that through the contracts, around 2.4 million people in 1146 mazes of Bolan, Jhal Magsi, Ziarat, Kalat, Khairpur, Sukkur and Ghotki districts would be provided High-Speed Mobile Broadband services, covering an unserved area of 34,660 sq.km.

He said the projects had the potential to impact important areas such as healthcare, communications, agriculture and transportation.

 The Ministry of IT and Telecommunication would continue to undertake more challenging and productive programs in the future including the establishment of IT Parks, including the ones to be opened in Islamabad and Gilgit in near future, he added.

The project of manufacturing and assembling of 3G and 4G mobile phones in the county as approved by the Cabinet and Economic Coordination Committee is also in the offing, while the launch of the triple bundle in Gilgit Baltistan is in the completion phase, he said.

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