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PM launches Digital Pakistan Programme
By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said that having achieved the economic stability, the government would now fully focus on the digitization of the government functioning to curb corruption, introduce digital payments and ease out public difficulties besides bringing transparency.
Addressing the launching ceremony of Digital Pakistan initiative here, the Prime Minister said his government should have started the program far earlier but during the first year, all of its focus remained on stabilizing the national economy that had been achieved finally.
The Digital Pakistan 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 Pakistan. It brings together multiple initiatives that the government has already kicked off, and identifies additional focus areas that the government would initiate in the coming months.
Minister for Information Technology Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Special Assistant to PM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, State Bank Governor Baqir Raza and Advisor to PM on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain also attended the event besides Tania Aidrus, a Pakistani expatriate who recently quit her job as Senior Executive in Google to lead the digitization initiative.
The Prime Minister said the digitization was vital particularly for the youth for their future employment and the entrepreneurs to set up their businesses without any hassle. It would in fact unleash the true potential of Pakistan’s youth population that could become strength for the country if they were given the opportunity.
Besides opening up the employment opportunities to the women of even far flung areas, the digitization would also bring e-governance in the country to help eradicate corruption that had taken roots even to the lower level in the society. Through digitization, the people would be able to carry out many of daily life tasks through their mobile handsets which would bring ease in their lives saving them from long queues outside banks or other government offices.
The Prime Minister told the gathering that e-governance had been introduced at Shaukat Khanum Hospital some 19 years ago that had ended the pilferage bringing transparency and smoothness in the functioning. He said some institutions were resisting the government’s digitization initiative but resolved that the government would accomplish the task without any delay. He said the government was also striving to promote e-commerce in the country by addressing the allied challenge of cyber security. The Prime Minister said after coming into power, the government was able to understand the challenges of governance and bringing about changes in its team, and referred to make huge changes in Punjab government what he called the “bloodbath of reshuffle.”
He said after a policy shift of joining foreign wars against dollars to a peacemaker, Pakistan had become internationally relevant and resolved that the country would play its role to bring unity among Muslim world.
The Prime Minister spoke high of Tania Aidrus and Raza Baqir who took difficult decisions of leaving their lucrative jobs in internationals institutions like Google and IMF just to serve their own country. He confidently assured them that their decisions would prove to be a turning point in their lives because challenging and difficult decisions, particularly those for a greater cause’ took the people to new heights. Contrarily, he said those seeking easy solutions, could never accept challenges or risks because their decisions were always self-centric.
He said consequent to the efforts by his economic team, the national economy had been stabilized including the rupee that had been under pressure because the previous government had maintained it artificially. However, now the foreign agencies like World Bank, IMF and Moody’s have also acknowledged the stability of Pakistan’s economy.
 
 
 
 
Top Google Exec quits job to lead Project
 
By Uzma Zafar
 
ISLAMABAD: A senior Pakistani executive of Google, Tania Aidrus has stepped down from her position at the tech giant to lead Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Digital Pakistan initiative. She has arrived in the country from Singapore to offer her service to the country’s digitalisation programme. Prime Minister Khan will inaugurate the digitalisation initiative titled Digital Pakistan this evening.
The inauguration ceremony will be held at the Prime Minister Office in Islamabad. Under the programme, correspondence between government departments will be done through digital channels instead of paper.
The prime minister had assigned the task of developing the programme to the Federal Ministry of Information and Technology in August. It completed the project within the stipulated time of three months.