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SDGs inclusion in national agenda ensures sustainability: Qureshi

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said that inclusion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 in Pakistan’s national development agenda was reflective of its political commitment to ensure an across-the-board development of its people.

Addressing the launch of 4G broadband services in Multan and Khanewal districts, the foreign minister said Pakistan, in pursuance of SDGs, had adopted certain areas on priority basis, including hunger eradication, health and fitness, quality education and economic growth.

The Universal Service Fund (USF) under the Ministry of Information Technology awarded a contract of Rs154 million to Jazz for providing high-speed mobile broadband services in Multan and Khanewal districts of Southern Punjab.

Qureshi said information communication technologies (ICT) and global connectivity were important to enhance human development, eliminate digital divide and build knowledge societies, adding that the promotion of ICT could prove helpful in poverty alleviation by making markets digitally accessible for farmers and improve food security.

The efficient use of information communication technology was an effective measure to combat the Covid-19 situation by raising awareness campaigns through mobile networks, data collection and analysis, epidemic geo-fencing, and vaccination records.

He recalled that during the coronavirus pandemic, the government gave away Rs203 billion to 15 million poor families through a digital cash system under the Ehsaas Emergency Programme.

Information communication technologies could help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal in the education sector by opening up avenues of knowledge for students in remote areas with limited resources. In this regard, he said, the Ministry of Education has set up an e-education portal for distant learning.

Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Amin Ul Haque said that his ministry through the Universal Service Fund had contracted projects worth Rs6.5 billion to provide high-speed internet to the 3.8 million people in Southern Punjab. These include six high-speed mobile broadband projects and three optic fibre cable projects.

A total of Rs708 million would be spent for the provision of high-speed broadband services in Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalnagar districts, which would benefit 2.6 million people in 846 villages, he said.

Similarly, the telecom minister said in Dera Ghazi Khan Division, the districts DG Khan, Layyah, Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur would be provided broadband services with Rs141 million, besides Rs4.47 billion would be spent on three projects related to the laying of optic fibre cable.

Haque said that with completion of these projects, around 2,000sq-km would be connected with the optic fibre cable and provide fastest broadband services to 393 villages with a population of over 0.85 million.

On the occasion, Universal Service Fund chief executive officer Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary and Jazz chief executive officer Aamir Ibrahim signed the contracts for the provision of broadband services in South Punjab.


Republic Desk

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