Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) organized a day long workshop with Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI), Korea and stakeholders from both public and private sectors of Pakistan’s IT industry to kick off the feasibility study for a new state-of-the-art IT park in Islamabad.
STEPI consortium from Korea consisted of five entities including Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI), Sangmyung University (SMU), Office of Civic Solutions (OCS), ANSE Technologies, and Baum Architects.
The consortium included experts in different areas including infrastructure design, IT park and urban design, IT park operations, IT park architecture, ICT security facilities, and economic and financial analysis. Hence, this is one of the largest group of foreign experts which has ever visited Pakistan for a feasibility study of an infrastructure project.
The workshop was attended by participants from both Korea and Pakistan. Local participation came from Ministry of IT, PSEB, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Science & Technology, IT companies, and universities.
The workshop started with an opening address from MD PSEB, Mr. Asim Shahryar Husain, who welcomed all participants to the workshop and stated that IT parks can change the dynamics of the IT industry of Pakistan and can position Pakistan as a leading player in the global IT industry.
Dr. Hung Kook Park from Sangmyung University was the facilitator for the workshop. The workshop was broken up into five groups for brainstorming sessions. The workshop started with each group picking a topic and then selecting top problems related to that topic. This was followed by identifying causes for each problem and their solutions using a fishbone methodology.
Giving her congratulatory speech at the workshop, Minister of State for IT & Telecom, Ms. Anusha Rehman, said that it is her vision and passion to launch state-of-the-art IT parks in Pakistan to change the dynamics of the IT industry of Pakistan. Pakistan has a lot of IT talent and potential but that potential has not been utilized fully on a global scale because of lack of proper infrastructure for the IT industry at present.
She said that majority of IT companies are operating out of residences at present and there is a need for new high tech office space with backup power, bandwidth, business centers, training centers, incubation centers, and research centers. Hence, there is a huge requirement for state-of-the-art infrastructure in Pakistan from the IT industry so that companies can upscale their resources and capacity for mega-projects and Pakistan can achieve its real potential in the global IT industry.
The minister mentioned that government’s focus is to provide an enabling environment through infrastructure such as IT parks to IT entrepreneurs and IT companies so that they can grow and nurture their business and products to their true potential both locally and globally.
She said that her vision for IT parks is that they should be a complete ecosystem with office space, incubators, accommodation for foreign visitors, gymnasium, lakes, biking trails, and not just raw office space. An IT park should be a seat of learning and technology where there is exchange of knowledge and information between professionals and students. She said that she wants to do the ground breaking for a new IT park in Islamabad next year followed by IT parks in Karachi and Lahore.
MD PSEB mentioned that PSEB has land for IT parks in all three metros and has been waiting for this opportunity for the last many years. However, it is because of the minister’s vision and passion that the feasibility study has finally started.
MD PSEB mentioned that IT parks are like software factories where IT companies generate new exports for Pakistan by providing software and IT services to both foreign and local clients. PSEB had arranged meetings of Korean team this week with different stakeholders including IT companies, universities, CDA, Nespak, and Planning Commission followed by a day long strategy workshop with all of the stakeholders.
The minister thanked the Korean team for visiting Pakistan and emphasized that both ministry and PSEB will extend full support to the Korean team in their mission of building new IT parks in Pakistan. She hoped that the feasibility study would be completed in six months or less so that loan agreement can then be signed between Korea and Pakistan for design and construction of a new IT park by next year.