‘Promotion of IT can fulfill SDGs’

DM Monitoring

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday said inclusion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 in Pakistan’s national development agenda was reflective of its political commitment to ensure an across-the-board uplift of its people.
Addressing at the launch of 4G broadband services in the Multan and Khanewal districts, the foreign minister said Pakistan in pursuance of SDGs had adopted certain areas on priority basis including hunger eradication, health and fitness, quality education and economic growth.
The Universal Service Fund (USF) under the Ministry of Information Technology awarded a contract Rs 154 million to Jazz for providing high-speed mobile broadband services in Multan and Khanewal districts of Southern Punjab.
The foreign minister said information communication technologies (ICT) and global connectivity were important to enhance human development, eliminate digital divide and build knowledge societies.
Qureshi said promotion of ICT could prove helpful in poverty alleviation by making markets digitally accessible for farmers and improve food security.
He said the efficient use of information communication technology was an effective measure to combat the COVID-19 situation by raising awareness campaigns through mobile networks, data collection and analysis, epidemic geo-fencing, and vaccination records.
He recalled that during the coronavirus pandemic, the government gave away Rs. 203 billion to 15 million poor families through digital cash system under the Ehsaas Emergency Programme. The foreign minister said ICT could help achieve the SDG in education sector by opening up avenues of knowledge for students in remote areas with limited resources. In this regard, he mentioned the e-education portal set up by the Ministry of Education for distant learning.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Federal Minister for Information Syed Amin Ul Haque witness the signing of contract of the launch of 4G broadband services in Multan and Khanewal districts, here at the ceremony held in Islamabad.
Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Amin Ul Haque said his ministry through USF had contracted projects worth Rs 6.5 billion to provide high speed internet to the 3.8 million people in Southern Punjab. These include six high speed mobile broadband projects and three optic fiber cable projects. He said a total of Rs 708 million would be spent for provision of high-speed broadband services in districts of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalnagar, which would benefit 2.6 million people in 846 villages.
Similarly, he said, in Dera Ghazi Khan Division, the districts DG Khan, Layyah, Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur would be provided broadband services with Rs 141 million besides Rs 4.47 billion to be spent on three projects related to the laying of optic fiber cable.
Amin ul Haque said with completion of these projects, an area of about 2,000 sq. km would be connected with optic fiber cable and provide fastest broadband services to 393 villages with a population of over 0.85 million.
On the occasion, CEO USF Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary with CEO Jazz Aamir Ibrahim inked the contracts for provision of broadband services in South Punjab.