Federal Minister for IT Syed Aminul Haq said that Rs 5 billion is being launched on various projects. He said, “we turned the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity.” He said that IT exports have increased by 40% in the last six months. The cement industry has grown by 5% and textiles by 12%, but IT exports have grown the most and are expected to reach 2 billion US Dollars in the next few years.
Minister IT said that during the COVID-19 crisis Ministry of IT was behind the NCOC, which also developed all the websites, video link portals, and mobile applications. He said that National Incubation Centers have been set up in Lahore, Peshawar, and Islamabad. It is also in the final stages to set up incubation centers in Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Mardan, and other cities. IT parks are also being set up in different cities. On the 25th of this month, the foundation stone of a Software Technology Park is being laid in Chak Shehzad Islamabad. It will consist of 12 floors, 2 floors underground. The cost of this project is 88 million USD and it will be completed in 3 years.
Syed Aminul Haq said that it is often said that there is a connectivity problem in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. He said that most of the funds are allocated to Special Communication Organization (SCO). GSM networks in Gilgit-Baltistan have been upgraded to 75% and around 350 towers have been upgraded to 4G in Gilgit-Baltistan. Moreover, 92 towers are being installed on Karakoram Highway to provide facilities to tourists and villagers around KKH.
He also said that National Incubation Center costing 34 million is being set up at Karakoram International University Gilgit. The general impression is that other telecom operators are banned from operating in Azad Kashmir and GB. In Gilgit Baltistan and AJK, there is no ban on Jazz, Telenor, Zong, and Ufone. He said that it is not commercially viable for telecom operators as one village is far from other villages in GB and AJK so the companies do not work. There are no restrictions from the Ministry of IT, he said. However, he did not explain why 4G licenses were not being given to private telecom operators in Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir. So far, only SCOM has received a 4G license, while no private company has received a 4G license yet.