Proposing Pakistan Vision 2015, the expert underscored that adoption of ICT technologies into development process and governance can dramatically bridge the widening development gap on a fast track pace. The country has failed to turn the opportunity of exceptional technological advancement into socio-economic development in society especially for millions of poor living in rural areas.
Ammar Jaffri, renowned ICT expert and former Additional Director General, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Islamabad spoke at the seminar on ‘ICTs for all: Pakistan vision-2015’ organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday.
Brig (Retd.) Mohammad Yasin, SDPI Senior Advisor, Center for Capacity-building and Study Group on Information Technology and Telecommunication chaired the proceedings. He said, Pakistan has made rapid progress in ICT sector in the recent past as Information Technology has been deeply penetrated into today’s life. “However, at the moment, teledensity in Pakistan is largely restricted to urban areas, showing a significant digital divide, and the country has to go a long way ahead covering the far flung areas such as Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, and other remote areas of the country” he added.
Mr. Jaffri spoke on ICTs role in growth and development and termed it as an important instrument for bridging economic and social divides and reducing poverty provided that right policy measures and enabling environment were in place. He was of the view that Pakistan has not been able to effectively use ICT for development despite achieving exceptional progress in the areas of teledensity, internet growth, computer and mobile phone usage. He said, Pakistan has a huge potential and can still take advantage of ICT revolution in development process if it makes a road map about the use of ICTs for all in the areas of education, health, agriculture and governance.
He presented his roadmap of ‘Pakistan vision 2015’ for ICT growth through which the country can catch up with world that can produce skilled and motivated force of young ‘agents of change’ in Pakistan. Sharing details of the plan, he recommended formation of ICT Commission of Pakistan, to streamline and guide all interventions in coordinated manner and suggested appointing ICTs ambassadors and subject specialists for sector such as e-health, e-education, e -governance, e-agriculture and economic empowerment at national level.
Mr. Jaffri also advocated for turning villages into e-villages, where rural people must be provided with technology and education and provided with services related to health, education, livelihood, agriculture and matters related to governance on their computers. He called for establishment of ‘Pakistan telecentre academy’ that can serve as a knowledge centre for provision of content & application development and training. Talking of capacity building, he urged to consolidate all free sources of knowledge and training programs on the web especially inURDU and ensure their access to people in need. He concluded by emphasizing on replicating successful international initiatives on ICTs for development in Pakistan.