As fresh Pakistani engineers start leaving their country on Washington Accord visas one wonders whether back home Digital Policies are being framed which could be sealing their jobless fates.
Let’s check the numbers. If half of Pakistanis generate only 5 MB of Data in one day on government run Digital Pakistan then it would amount to 500 million MB in a Day. This is half petabytes per day. This will only keep growing. All this data, it’s processing and it’s related networking will possibly be run on equipment which will only add to the import bill if Pakistan doesn’t manufacture it’s own servers. It would also traverse imported networking routers and switches which would add to the import bills if Pakistan doesn’t manufacture it’s own network equipment. All of these would also be put in Data centers which could be using Racks and Cabling possibly all imported.
How many jobs will imported servers, imported switches, imported routers, imported racks, imported DC HVAC and imported Data Center cabling produce ? And what will be the import bill of these Digital Pakistan backend items ?
Another aspect of these imported items is their lack of Cybersecurity from a National Security perspective. If it’s imported and all plug and configure only with unknown hardware and unknown software it will be considered a black box and totally insecure in terms of Cybersecurity.
A further aspect of these imported items is that each item comes with support contracts in case they fail and have a problem. These are very expensive support agreements with their manufacturers and will add to running cost and yearly import bills.
Now consider that a while back the aeronautical complex in Risalpur launched its own tablet, the PAC PAD Takhti 7. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/PAC-PAD_Takhti_7. How did that happen and why can’t we make our own Digital Pakistan equipment. How is it possible that Pakistan can make parts of JF-17 thunder and indigenously manufacture multiple types of missiles and also make a nuclear bomb but not make it’s own servers, routers, switches, DC HVAC and DC Cabling ?
Much of these IT equipments are now open sourced. Servers, Routers and switches under OCP and there is MIPSOpen and multiple open source Network Operating Systems. Positive results are really possible in case solid effort is made for local manufacturing. At least Cybersecurity mandates that the Hardware assembly and Software assembly and their System Integration is carried out within Pakistan. This will create Jobs and reduce the import bills too.
Let’s hope for the best.