Eric Schmidt, Chairman Google, Quietly Visits Pakistan

Prime Minister engaging with the Google delegation headed by Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman and ex-CEO of Google, quietly landed in Pakistan yesterday to meet senior leadership of the country, we just got confirmation from the sources.

While his visit is kept hidden from media for reasons not known to us, Eric is likely to fly back today.

Sources tell us that this two day visit was primarily focused on bettering company’s relations with Pakistani government, which remained bumpy over the time.

It is unclear so far if Google will issue an official statement on Eric’s visit to Pakistan or not. It maybe recalled that Eric Schmidt is Executive Chairman of Google and his visits to countries around the world is part of company’s efforts for strengthening relations with governments.

Through state run news agency we know that Eric Schmidt yesterday met Prime Minister, Mr. Yousaf Raza Gillani in Islamabad.

Express Tribune, while carrying APP’s report, has said that Gillani sought Google’s help in tracking cross-border movement across the Durand line.

The Prime Minister highlighted that over 40,000 people crossed the hundreds of kilometers long border on a daily basis and it was virtually impossible to keep a physical check at some locations due to the rough terrain despite presence of Pakistani check posts.

The Google chief said that building up and maintaining of databases through use of information technology was crucial to deal with security issues as well as law and order situation.

In a strange move, Gilani sought Google’s help in establishing Universal Service Centers at union council levels throughout the country. Government is planning to auction this project under the umbrella of USF.

Bypassing all the necessary modalities and auctioning procedures, Mr. Gilani offered Google setting up of Universal Service Centers which probably could be better done through local firms.

We are not even sure if Google can provide hardware, software, maintenance and trainings for such a project.

The Prime Minister maintained that Pakistan deeply acknowledged and recognized the efforts being carried out by Google for undertaking various community-based projects in the country.

Google has faced action from Pakistan, including threats of being blocked if it failed to cooperate in restricting access to objectionable content available on Google and its various services including video sharing social network YouTube, which was blocked in 2010.

Pakistan has also sought cooperation from Google to clamp down on accounts operated for and by terrorists. Having said this, it must be noted that Pakistan has rarely contacted Google for content removal requests or for acquiring information of Google users.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK