ISLAMABAD: As it proceeds with the plan to convert a proposed ladies club in Sector G-10 into an Information Technology (IT) Park, the Capital Development Authority on Tuesday held an “open house” on the premises to “unveil its vision” for a dedicated IT space in the federal capital.

The move to convert this building into an IT park has not found much support among women in the capital, who said there was already very limited space in the city for women and the proposed club had hoped to address that. But there has been no word by the CDA about the fate of the facility initially planned to cater to the women.

“The women have been deprived of the proposed club before its inception,” said Bushra Bibi, a resident of Sector G-7. She said there was no such facility for women in Islamabad, which was a source of grave concern for her. The structure of the club building was completed in 2010, but the CDA kept it abandoned for over a decade apparently due to lack of funds. Last year, the CDA board decided that the building would be used to establish the technology park instead of a women’s club.

In a bid to address concerns expressed by women, the CDA spokesperson said that it would facilitate them at the F-9 Citizen Club, also known as Gandhara Club.

Civic body hosts open house to woo investors; spokesperson says women to be facilitated at F-9 club

He said G-10 was an ideal place to establish a tech park because of its vicinity to educational institutions, IT firms, as well as the telecom tower.

To a query about an exclusive space for women, the spokesperson said that ladies would be provided facilities in Gandhara Club (F-9 club) which would cater to both men and women. Asked if that facility would be exclusive for women, he said: “No, it will be for all.”

Last year, the CDA said it had decided to make the citizen club functional at the earliest.“We have the F-9 Citizen Club building, so we will set up a club in that building where both male and female members will be provided with the best facilities,” the CDA said last year.

‘Visionary plans’

According to a press release about the open house, the CDA and the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) jointly hosted an event to unveil their “visionary plans for an IT park in Islamabad”.

Attended by key stakeholders from the IT industry, the event emphasised the pivotal role of IT parks in driving innovation, economic growth, and technological advancement in the region.

CDA Chairman Muhammad Ali Randhawa along with representatives from various IT organisations shared insights and perspectives on the significance and potential of the proposed park.

The press release said: “The CDA chairman affirmed the commitment of the authorities to collaborate with industry stakeholders, regulatory bodies, and investors to ensure the successful establishment and development of the IT park.”

He said the CDA was dedicated to providing the necessary infrastructure and regulatory support to make the IT park a “nucleus of innovation, creativity, and economic prosperity”. Mr Randhawa stressed the importance of creating a dedicated space for technology-based businesses, start-ups, and professionals to collaborate, innovate, and flourish.

Meanwhile, CDA member technology underscored that the proposed IT park in Islamabad was a “strategic initiative that will attract investment, create job opportunities, promote research and development, and contribute to Pakistan’s digital transformation”.

The PSEB director highlighted the “pivotal role” of such centres in enhancing the country’s IT exports, and global competitiveness, and supporting the growth of the industry.

The open house included site discussions and visits, providing attendees with insights into the vision, objectives, and timeline for the IT park project. Participants engaged with industry experts, government officials, and potential collaborators, exchanging ideas and exploring partnership opportunities.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2024

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