Heritage online: Punjab govt, Google join hands to promote history, culture

LAHORE: As Pakistan strives to promote a ‘soft image’ of the country despite being mired in terrorism, the Punjab government took an innovative step in this direction by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Google for promoting the province’s rich heritage on the internet.

A statement issued by the public relations arm of the Government of Punjab said the MoU was signed at the Arfa Software Technology Park on Monday where by the information technology (IT) giant would provide access to historical and tourist sites of Punjab on the internet.

The agreement was signed between Secretary Tourism Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik and William Fitzgerald of Google Asia, in the presence of Punjab Chief Minister Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif, Provincial Finance Minister Kamran Michael, Chairman Planning & Development, Secretary Irrigation, Chairman Information Technology Board and representatives of Google.

Speaking on the occasion, Shahbaz Sharif lauded the agreement with Google for cooperation in the IT sector, adding that access to Punjab’s historical and tourist sites via Google services will create awareness about the modern as well ancient parts of Lahore, highlighting historical and cultural heritage.

Shahbaz added that Punjab was a very important province with regard to tourism and hoped that the collaboration with Google would be meaningful in highlighting the heritage of the province as well as promoting a positive image of Pakistan in the world. He directed Chairman Planning & Development and Project Director Land Record Computerization to give a briefing to the Google team regarding steps taken by Punjab government during the last four years so that their assistance in these projects could also be sought.

Talking about how Google could help the Daanish School project, Shahbaz said that there were a number of government projects wherein Google could provide information to the people of the world, including the state-of-the-art Daanish schools, which were equipped with modern facilities for underprivileged students in the province and setting up of IT labs in more than 4000 schools of Punjab.

He also spoke about his recent laptop distribution project and that Google could collaborate with the government in this project too. Through this project, 110,000 laptops were being distributed on merit among deserving students, along with a WiFi network being installed in various campuses for these laptops.

Speaking on the occasion, Fitzgerald said that interaction between the Punjab government and Google in the IT sector was a good beginning and that the agreement was the beginning of further cooperation in thid sector.

He said that access to historical and tourist sites of Punjab on the website will promote awareness in the world about the cultural traditions and civilisation of Punjab.

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