“SCO’s Youth-Led Innovation: Reshaping Gilgit Baltistan’s Tech Landscape”

In an era where information technology (IT) and freelancing hold undeniable significance, Pakistan has proudly secured its place among the top four nations in the world in the digital freelancing and online labor index. Statistics from 2023 highlight Pakistan’s lucrative position, having amassed over 500 million US dollars in the freelancing sector, a testament to the country’s prowess in this domain. With 15 major software technology parks and over 125 leading IT companies nationwide, Pakistan stands as a beacon of technological progress.

However, until four years ago, Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) was yet to witness substantial strides in the domain of information technology. The region’s potential in IT and freelancing remained untapped. It was during this crucial period that the Special Communication Organization (SCO) emerged as a catalyst, not only maintaining telecommunication services but also spearheading unparalleled measures to promote the IT sector in GB.

SCO’s commitment to expanding the IT industry and uplifting freelancing led to the establishment of groundbreaking Software Technology Parks (STPs) in Gilgit and Skardu. These STPs served as pivotal milestones, offering over 1,000 job opportunities, training for 3,000 IT students, and generating substantial incomes, marking a significant leap in the region’s technological landscape.

The creation of Pakistan’s first Freelancing Hub in Gilgit, housing 14 IT companies and 45 individual freelancers, set a new benchmark for collaboration and innovation. SCO’s collaboration with AKDN resulted in the Hunza Innovation Center, a cutting-edge STP in Nasirabad, Hunza, providing top-tier facilities to empower the youth in remote areas.

Moreover, SCO’s vision extended to the farthest corners of GB, establishing IT labs and Mini IT centers in Frano, Narr Khaplu and Skardu, ensuring that the benefits of IT reached every nook and corner of the region. These initiatives aim to connect local youth to online platforms, enabling potential employment through freelancing. Similar initiatives are underway in regions like Doodo Shall (Diamer), Chilas, Yasin, ChatorKhand, Karimabad, Nagar District, and Phander Gojal. These projects will pave the way for progress for the youth residing in these remote areas. The actions taken by SCO to spread the web of information technology and establish an IT hub in
Gilgit-Baltistan are not only providing a new impetus to the field of IT but are also empowering local IT experts and freelancers to earn a substantial income.

Furthermore, these IT parks are proving to be instrumental in creating skilled individuals for GB in the context of CPEC and facilitating low-cost business services for local industries.

SCO’s initiatives are not just about technological advancements; they symbolize a brighter, more prosperous future for GB, empowering communities and steering the region toward unparalleled progress and well-being.

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