GILGIT: Prime Minister Imran Khan today unveiled the plaque at a ceremony in Chinarbagh, Gilgit to lay the foundation of Hunza’s first Information Technology (IT) Park located in Nasirabad, Hunza. The event was attended by Asad Umar, Federal Minister Planning and Development, Ali Amin Khan Gandapur, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Major General Muhammad Shahid Siddeeq, DG Special Communications Organisation (SCO), Colonel Imran Mansoor, Sector Commander SCO Gilgit, Hafiz Sherali, President, Ismaili Council for Pakistan, Akhtar Iqbal, CEO Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan (AKFP), Air Commodore Waqar Ahmed, Director Operations and External Affairs, AKFP, Hammad Bin Abdul Khaliq, Joint Director Incubation, Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) and Osman Nasir, MD, Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB).
Established jointly by Special Communications Organization (SCO) of the Government of Pakistan and the Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan (AKFP), the IT Park in Hunza will provide state-of-the-art infrastructure with un-interrupted power supply, high-speed internet facility and a co-working space for small and growing businesses, start-ups, freelancers, and chamber of commerce.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, while highlighting the opportunities in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), said,
“I am pleased to witness the recent remarkable developments in the communication & information technology sector, which is reflected in the development of mobile services such as the launch of 4G and broadband services, as well as digital solutions related to cloud-based data centers, and these are all indicators of very positive progress in the region.”
Major General Shahid Siddeeq, DG SCO informed the participants about multiple projects of SCO in the region which include the China Optical Fiber Link, Fiber-to-Home Service, Satellite Communications for Remote Areas, Cloud-based Data Centre, Incubation Centre and IT Parks. Talking about the foundation of the IT Park in Hunza, he mentioned that SCO aims to create a web of such IT Parks which “will provide the youth an opportunity to stand on their feet and bring revolution in the software industry.”
The IT Park will strengthen cooperation between SCO, AKF and other Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) agencies with the shared objectives of sustainable socio-economic development of GB through reliable internet and telecom infrastructure. It will enable the youth of GB to prepare for the digital-driven future of work opportunities in areas such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and other emerging areas. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services and global software solutions from such IT Parks will boost local economic development in GB.
Highlighting the significance of the IT Park in GB, Akhtar Iqbal, CEO, AKF Pakistan, said, “the future of work is evolving fast, driven by exponential technological changes. GB has the potential to capitalise on the rapid changes by strengthening IT infrastructure which will act as the building block for digitally transforming the region’s economy.”
Strengthening the IT infrastructure will open access to increased knowledge for developing digital competencies and lead to global networking and collaboration for remote work, online marketplaces and other national and global business opportunities.