We live in the 21st century, and technology is no hoax to this era. It, without any incertitude, is an integral part of life in every possible field, be it economic, social, political or domestic. Globally, technology plays an indispensible role in the development of life, in creation of wealth, and in real economic expansion. However, in Pakistan technology plays a rather challenged and minimalistic role as compared to its role globally.
The radical boost that the Information Technology (IT) industry has received in a short span of time is a fact that cannot, and should not, go unnoticed. Information technology has become a central part of everyone’s life nowadays. All our major networks can easily be connected with the help of IT. Be it a transaction of money for huge fiscal purposes or online shopping for pleasure-seeking, all it takes is one key press on our smart phones or laptops, and we can transact huge sums of money from any part of the world with the help of e-commerce. IT has given an unprecedented boost to online businesses around the world. Internet is the major forum that people throughout the world use and advertise their products on.
Apart from the innumerable benefits that technology offers to the masses globally, it is inevitable to understand how technology has proved to be a backbone for a number of countries. In 2011, Google’s marketing executive, an Egyptian-born, 29-year-old Wael Ghonim found a startling image of an Egyptian man who was mercilessly beaten and killed by the police. Thereupon, in 2010, Ghonim created a Facebook page, “We Are All Khaled Said,” provoking nationwide protests for justice. Ghonim’s opinions strengthened a nation which unified in its search for freedom and justice. This evidently displays the social importance of technology on a global level.
However, in Pakistan, technology faces a lot more challenges than it does internationally, and its role is not discreetly predominant either. In today’s world, where enterprises in software technology are at peak, and immensely successful ideas like Snapchat or Instagram are helping nations like Italy or US earn billions, but Pakistan lags far behind many countries and has a share of only 0.9 percent of the global IT industry. Even countries like the Philippines and India are developing their IT industries on a fast track and they are already for ahead of us.
In spite of all these challenges, the role of technology in Pakistan is not completely regressive and is helping Pakistani society in its evolution for the better. Socially, technology is bringing about enormous impacts on Pakistan, as the concept of ‘free internet’ is crossing boundaries, sects and making its way in every household, making the Pakistani society increasingly aware of the issues they confront and giving them a forum where they are able to discuss these contentions on a larger scale. These discussions over cyberspace, might not always be healthy, even then they kindle a sense of nationhood within our youngsters, making them aware of the need to protect their rights as citizens.
Furthermore, technology is not only affecting, by and large, the youngsters of Pakistan who are emerging more unified as a nation, the IT industry is making tenacious efforts, and is establishing itself in sectors like banking, government, health and education. The digitalization of land record is being done. Recently, the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Shahbaz Sharif, started communicating with administrative officials through video link, and the recent development of Arfa Software Technology Park in Lahore, are all examples of the resolute efforts that exhibit the inevitability of e-governance, bringing about a better integration in the system. The IT industry is also developing itself in health sector where better scientific tools and equipments are being used in hospitals in order to provide better medicare and to increase the life expectancy rate.
In recent years, the introduction and expansion of technology in the education sector is also being witnessed. Universities like Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) and Virtual University (VU) are the ones known for their use of IT. Both institutions are using internet and TV as a medium of education.
However, even with all this persistence, Pakistan has a long way to go in order to be at par, or even comparable, with the IT markets of other countries in the world. The IT sector must be given a proper industry status in the country and facilities should also be provided in order to promote entrepreneurial initiatives, research projects and patent laws so as to make their way in the global market.
Nevertheless, in this unipolar world, technology is indeed helping Pakistan emerging as a country that is on its way to development, nurturing our society and brining about a steady change that is essential for any state and nation to head towards salvation.