Digital Pakistan

February 11, 2020

Prime minister Imran Khan has said that ‘Digital Pakistan’ is need of the hour and it is an important initiative for the youth of the country. He said, “We will also bring e-governance to Pakistan that will help address issues of the masses.” He expressed these views while addressing launching ceremony of ‘Digital Pakistan Vision Project’ in Islamabad on Thursday. He maintained that e-governance will help eradicate corruption from the society. He said the vision sets Pakistan’s digital ambition and has been designed for the government and the private sector to work towards a digitally progressive and inclusive country.

Realising the significance of information communication technology, Prime Minister Imran Khan has spearheaded a massive plan to digitise the government to fight corruption and facilitate the public, besides stepping towards open government. At a ceremony to mark the Digital Pakistan initiative, he said that after having stabilised the economy, the government would digitise the government functioning by offering proactive government services to ease out public difficulties besides bringing transparency as there is no doubt that durable economic stability is impossible to achieve without curbing corruption, as the modern world white crimes are hard to detect without the efficient use of technology.

The Digital Pakistan is a fine concept by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, but it would be worthwhile to mention the services of the Punjab Information Technology Board under Dr Umar Saif to digitise government matters. It was, in fact, the efficient use of android technology from 2012-16 that defeated dengue virus and ghost schools.

Furthering the digital steps, the Khan government has rightly set the course towards digital ambitions for both the government and private sectors. Under the plan, multiple initiatives have already been kicked off, while several others have been identified to be executed in the coming months. The most promising thing is that the government is open to involve anyone who can take the digital agenda further, and the inclusion of Tania Aidrus, a former Google employee, to the government team vouches for the fact.

In fact, it is Tania Aidrus who is spearheading the ambitious digital dreams. She was the star speaker at the ceremony where she unveiled the five strategic pillars of the programme: access and connectivity, digital infrastructure, digital skilling and literacy, e-government, and innovation and entrepreneurship. She is confident about the success of the digital scheme as her message to sceptics was: it is not the question if we will succeed or not, or but how quickly we will reach the goal post. She may face bureaucratic and financial challenges, and it is the duty of the government to facilitate her to achieve the objectives. The stage is set for digital literacy and connectivity as the easy availability of smartphone has already revolutionised connectivity and whistleblowing. It is time to break bureaucratic hurdles for digital payments and automation of government matters such as tax payments, access to information and democrisation of society. Aidrus needs to build a good team, and people like Umar Saif and several others who leapfrogged hurdles to establish digital context in government affairs should be taken onboard. 

The stage is set for digital literacy and connectivity as the easy availability of smartphone has already revolutionised connectivity and whistleblowing.