Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday inaugurated Pakistan’s first Technology Special Economic Zone and National Science and Technology Park (NSTP), laying the foundation for expediting work on technological advancement in the country.

The event was held National University of Sciences and Technology’s (NUST) Jinnah Auditorium, with Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa also in attendance. The COAS is the chairperson of the NUST Board of Governors.

According to a statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the NSTP would be the first of its kind platform in Pakistan and would help catalyze knowledge economy.

The ISPR said NSTP had been launched “under the overarching theme of INNOVATE PAKISTAN – a platform designed to synergise researchers, creators, investors, implementers and end users of technologies to transform innovative ideas into successful products and services, while promulgating a culture of entrepreneurship in Pakistan”.

It said the program would also go hand in hand with the recently launched “Kamyab Pakistan” program, which aims at offering maximum avenues of development to the youth of Pakistan.

The technology park would provide a platform for more than 40 companies, which would include start-ups as well as small-medium enterprises. It will also house established digital companies, the Radio Pakistan added.

During his address at the launch event, PM Khan said all traditional systems of economic progress had been upstaged by new and enormously improved “Knowledge Economies”, which translated in to the collective sum of “its intellectual capital, research and innovation prowess and edge in technological advancements”.

Besides the knowledge park that would hopefully become a safe haven for innovation and technological prowess in the country, the government recently initiated a key program aimed at transforming governance. Last week saw the launch of Digital Pakistan program, a flagship program to digitalize the various elements of the government and move towards a total e-governance to limit corruption. Key targets of the Digital Pakistan program include:

Access and Connectivity: To ensure every Pakistani has access to the internet.

Digital Infrastructure: To enable the youth to use smartphones for constructive purposes.

E-governance: To digitize intra-government communications and correspondence, introduce paperless governance, and to digitize government services for public to increase efficiency.

Digital Skills and Literacy: To help tech graduates secure relevant jobs.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship: To provide an enabling environment for start-ups to flourish.

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