ISLAMABAD: Taking notice of persistent electricity loadshedding in Karachi, President Dr Arif Alvi directed the K-Electric on Wednesday to ensure an uninterrupted supply to the metropolis.
“The president expressed concern over loadshedding in the city, which has made lives of the people miserable,” said an official handout issued by the Presidency after Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar called on Dr Alvi.
The president, who himself belongs to Karachi, said the situation was going from bad to worse as residents of the city were already groaning under exorbitantly high tariffs in these trying times.
Dr Alvi assured Mr Akhtar that he would ask the quarters concerned to take measures to improve Karachi’s electricity supply.
Mayor Waseem Akhtar discusses problem with Alvi in Islamabad meeting
Earlier, Mr Akhtar sought the president’s assistance in the matter so as to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity to Karachi. He also requested the president to ask the authorities concerned not to increase electricity charges in Karachi.
Waseem Akhtar apprised President Arif Alvi about problems being faced by the people living in Karachi.
Earlier during the day, President Alvi said at a signing ceremony that the country had immense potential in the field of digital economy and digital education. “I hope that progress in digitalisation will help offset the adverse impact of coronavirus on our economy,” Dr Alvi said at the contract signing of high-speed mobile broadband projects for Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur districts at the Presidency.
The project aims to provide high-speed mobile broadband services in an area spread over 14,000 square kilometres in Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur. It will benefit two million inhabitants.
The Universal Service Fund has already provided such facilities in an area with a population of 29 million. It recently launched an optic fibre programme to connect union councils in the country.
The president emphasised the need for giving priority to development of fast data communication modes and exploring vast opportunities in such areas.
“We have bright prospects of thriving in digital economy, digital education and digital finance and are heading in the right direction to cope with challenges during the current pandemic,” President Alvi observed.
“E-commerce and e-trade could prove a stimulus towards expansion of economy due to fast financial transactions,” he added.
The President said the future highway to success was all about gathering information based upon the internet and making it accessible to all.
Dr Arif Alvi praised the education ministry for adopting the latest modes of teaching through television to address the challenges faced by students residing in towns with either low-speed internet or with no access.
He recalled that the country’s first public sector Virtual University was set up in 2004, offering education at rates lower than regular institutions.
The State Bank of Pakistan, he informed the audience, was working on a plan to launch digital payment system across the country in October.
President Alvi said access to information through digitalisation would provide a strong platform for women to help them make professional progress.
“Digital information can help eliminate ‘elite capture’ of resources,” Arif Alvi observed, quoting a book, Capital and Ideology, by French economist Thomas Piketty who defined education and health as the two top areas in this perfidy.
The president said Pakistan was resisting elite capture through reforms, but the French economist had pointed out that inequality had risen in India from 2014 to 2018.
President Alvi stressed the need for proper “right of way” policies for broadband and mobile companies so that they could sort out matters related to installation of signal towers in places where landlords raised objections.
Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications Syed Aminul Haque said the government was committed to promoting the country’s capacity to develop a competitive IT sector and industry.
He said the provision of 3G and 4G services to far-flung areas in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan would be ensured in future.
Qatari ambassador meets president
The new Ambassador of Qatar to Pakistan, Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrehman bin Faisal Al Thani, called on President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday.
“Pakistan attaches importance to its ties with Qatar and wants to transform existing relations into a robust political and economic partnership,” the president said.
He said Pakistan offered enormous investment opportunities and Qatar should take advantage of the emerging opportunities.
Dr Alvi urged the international community, including the OIC and Muslim countries, to play their role in grant of the right to self-determination to Kashmiris. The president appreciated the role of Qatar in hosting the Afghan peace talks.
The ambassador said his country was ready to invest in the Gwadar port.
Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2020