US-based IT professionals want to return home: Atta MoST receives 50 applications from Pakistanis living in US in past 10 days -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

US-based IT professionals want to return home: Atta MoST receives 50 applications from Pakistanis living in US in past 10 days

DUBAI- There has been an overwhelming response to a campaign to attract Pakistani IT professionals based in the US because the expatriates living there for decades do not feel comfortable after the September 11 events and want to return to Pakistan.

The Ministry of Science and Technology has received 50 applications from Pakistanis living in the US in the past 10 days. If selected, they will work on contract basis on monthly emoluments ranging between Rs 100,000 to Rs 250,000. The ministry had placed advertisements in leading US newspapers inviting Pakistani professionals to offer their services.

Minister for Science and Technology Prof Attaur Rehman stated this while addressing the Pakistani community at a meeting organized by the Dubai-based Pakistan Professionals Forum.

Earlier, he received the ISESCO 2001 Science Award “in recognition of his meritorious achievements in the field of chemistry” by the Morocco-based Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization at a Ceremony in Sharjah. The award carried a cash prize of $5,000.

The minister told the community that Pakistan’s budget for science and technology had surged from Rs 120 million last year to Rs 6 billion this fiscal year (July 2001-June 2002) and would increase further by half-a-billion to one billion rupees in the next fiscal year. The increase in the funds had led to substantial progress in the areas of new opportunities such as IT, biochemistry, nano-chemistry, and composite materials, he added.

Prof Atta said that the overseas Pakistanis had played a key role in shaping the IT policy of Pakistan.

He said that within a year seven IT universities would start functioning in the country and work was underway on distant learning programme for IT, while a major programme of e-governance was coming up. He said that although bureaucracy was a major hurdle, as a result of the government policies investment in the IT sector would increase to $500 million a year in the next I5 months, surpassing the textile sector. He said that IT laws would be placed before the cabinet in three to four weeks. In a year’s time, Pakistan would have its own communications satellite in the location of 38 degrees east, he added.

The minister said that Pakistan needed to acquire technology from all sources. He said that his ministry had started 150 major projects in a year in the fields of science and technology.

He gave the details of the various projects, especially in the field of education for which 70 per cent of the ministry’s budget had been allocated.

Prof Atta, who took the ministry’s charge on March 14, 2000, said that he would leave the ministry on October 12, 2002, and therefore, his aim was to make the momentum irreversible after he left. He said that for enhancing the country’s Gross Democratic Product (GDP) Pakistan had adopted a policy of diversification and value addition in agriculture, and the diversification of industry. The four pillars of Pakistan’s economic growth were higher education, technical expertise, linking research and development to economy, and industrialization, he added.

Atta said that so far there had been no complaints of corruption at the high level in Pakistan although there may have been reports of corrupt government functionaries at the low level.

Source: The News