Infrastructure, deregulation and education key to ICT better future in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani ICT entrepreneurs have recently called for infrastructure upgrade, regulation easing and education uplift to fully unleash the potential of Pakistan’s ICT industry and sectors closely related to it.

This revelation came from a panel discussion on Pakistan’s ICT industry at the Belt and Road (BRI) Report Publishing Event held here, according to a report published by China Economic Net (CEN),

At the event, a group of four panelists elaborated on the vital role of enhanced infrastructure, a healthy dose of regulation, and education in ICT in powering ecommerce, smartphones and music industry.

Kamran Pervaiz, director of corporate affairs of, a Pakistani ecommerce giant, said while 2% of the Pakistani retail sector has gone online, this lags far behind India and China, which reaches 50% and 53% respectively.

“We need common infrastructure… and the Internet to enable ecommerce,” Kamran noted, adding that infrastructure upgrade is more needed in rural areas.

This view was echoed by Sufian Ahmad Ch, head of marketing of Xiaomi Pak. “The technology is not accessible for everyone, even now more than 50% of the population doesn’t have access to 4G or doesn’t have smartphones.”

Syed Muhammad Naqi, CEO of DCode, a Pakistani smartphone brand born after Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s 2020 policy to promote local manufacturing of mobile devices in Pakistan.

Syed noted that despite its relative advantage in software prowess, Pakistan is plagued by a lack of hardware and infrastructure. Once the infrastructure is ready, “we can do the next level of CKD (complete knock down), SKD (semi knock down) and all the other things.”

Excessive regulation poses another challenge. “Over-regulation can kill sometimes,” claimed Yahya Farid Khwaja, CEO of Freebird Music, a leading music company in Pakistan.

He shared that Pakistani music artists have a 30% market share in the Indian music industry, but their revenues go to the Indian government rather than Pakistan due to unnecessary regulation.

“In order to compete (in the global stage), and in order to improve our infrastructure, we need to be regulated a little bit rather than more regulated,” echoed Syed.

A lack of technical education also hurts. Commenting on the development of the hardware sector in ICT industry, Syed said that “We’re lacking hardware engineers…Your information technology cannot move forward without the support of the hardware engineers.”

Organised by the KASB KTrade Securities to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Belt and Road (BRI) Report Publishing Event also witnessed participation from Fawad Hasan Fawad, federal minister for Privatisation of Pakistan, and Hassan Daud Butt, former CPEC Head. –INP