'Court decisions worsened relations with tech companies': Fawad urges judges not to hear cases about IT sector

Published February 17, 2021
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry addresses an international conference in Rawalpindi. — DawnNewsTV
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry addresses an international conference in Rawalpindi. — DawnNewsTV

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said on Wednesday that the tech industry in Pakistan had been hurt by state policies and court decisions, including worsened relations with Information Technology (IT) companies, as he urged judges to desist from hearing cases pertaining to technological matters.

The federal minister was addressing a a two-day International Media Conference at the Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi. He said past decisions of the state and the courts, particularly those in 2014, had dealt a blow to Pakistan's relations with digital and tech companies and hindered the progress of the industry in Pakistan.

The federal minister said that he had urged judges in his meetings with them to not hear cases pertaining to the technology or digital sector. He said the country needed to prepare itself for the future and foreign investment could only be attracted through altering state policies. He suggested that technology companies should be invited for the training and skills development of Pakistan's students.

The federal minister also lamented the over-regulation of students by the state and said, "why do we try to become parents of every child; leave some things to the parents for them to do".

He said students should be given the freedom to choose what to wear since their thinking differs. "We can't force one thing on another, let the people decide."

He also laid particular emphasis on students, especially females, to pursue education in the fields of science and technology. "We have to keep a very close eye on how technology is shaping the world [and] how it will shape the media and our lives."

The federal minister said the rapid pace of technological advancement could be seen in how the speed of transportation had increased and how modern forms of communication on social media applications were rendering emails and mobile messaging obsolete. He said decisions taken by the government needed to be made after accounting for upcoming changes in the next 10-15 years.

"These are the areas we have to look at, which future markets are coming and which are going."

He pointed out to the eventual redundancy and unemployment that car mechanics would face once electric vehicles (EV) overcame combustion engines in Pakistan. He said the country didn't have an EV policy when he assumed his ministry but it had now been introduced.

Passed on June 10, 2020, the new policy was originally approved by Prime Minister Imran Khan in November 2019, with the goal of cutting air pollution and curbing climate change. It aimed to bring half a million electric motorcycles and rickshaws, along with more than 100,000 electric cars, buses and trucks, into the transportation system over the next five years. The goal is to have at least 30 per cent of all vehicles running on electricity by 2030.

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