Gilani seeks Google's help in tracking cross-border movement

Published: June 15, 2012

Prime Minister engaging with the Google delegation headed by Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. PHOTO: INP

ISLAMABAD: While relations with the US remain on a sour note, with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar declaring in Kabul earlier that both Pakistan and US governments had done a ‘terrible job’ at working together, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani sought to address the key issue of cross-border movement across the Durand line by reaching out to Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Emerson Schmidt.

Schmidt had called on the Prime Minister at the Parliament Chamber in Islamabad on Thursday to discuss a range of programmes and partnerships.

Gilani underscored the need for utilising technology to compile electronic data of cross-border movement between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which would in turn help tracking down terrorists.

The Prime Minister highlighted that over 40,000 people crossed the hundreds of kilometers long border on a daily basis and it was virtually impossible to keep a physical check at some locations due to the rough terrain despite presence of Pakistani check posts.

The Google chief said that building up and maintaining of databases through use of information technology was crucial to deal with security issues as well as law and order situation.

Universal Service Centres

Gilani sought Google’s help in establishing Universal Service Centres at union council levels throughout the country.

Schmidt was told that the Pakistan government was determined to set-up IT Centres in every Union Council as a measure for job creation as well as for promotion of Information Technology-related knowledge in the far-flung areas of the country.

He said that Pakistan had registered a 120 per cent growth in broadband adoption during past three years, with seven million users.

The Prime Minister maintained that Pakistan deeply acknowledged and recognised the efforts being carried out by Google for undertaking various community-based projects in the country.

ICT infrastructure

The Prime Minister said that the government was doing everything to facilitate Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector for effective delivery of ICT enabled services. He said that Government was making efforts for establishment of an information-based society in the country where true potential of such massive ICT infrastructure could be utilised.

The Prime Minister said that the government had rolled out several projects for promotion of higher education in ICT by establishing several ICT campuses and IT blocs. He asked Google Inc. to provide support in this regard.

The Prime Minister said that the government has spent billions of rupees to provide broadband Internet connections in Balochistan, Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa and in rural areas to extend state of the art facilities to the people.

Schmidt said that the demographic composition of the Pakistani population was a great national asset and the Pakistani youth was talented and eager enough to get acquainted with information technology, often on their own.

He assured the Prime Minister that his company was willing to help Pakistan to spread information technology throughout the country. He said that improved connectivity facilitated the youth in getting themselves gainfully engaged, which in turn was critical to combat extremist tendencies in society.

Partnering with Google

The Prime Minister said that he recently announced a Venture Capital Fund of US $10 million and would like Google Inc. to also contribute to it besides its Social Innovation Fund.

“I have, recently, directed the establishment of Universal Service Centers at Union Council level across Pakistan. The aim of these centers is to provide Government to Citizen and Government to Business services acting as an IT hub in rural areas. I would also like your support to make these centers successful,” the Prime Minister added.

Schmidt said that it was also important to formulate an economic development strategy.

Google has faced action from Pakistan, including threats of being blocked if it failed to cooperate in restricting access to objectionable content available on Google and its various services including video sharing social network YouTube, which was blocked in 2010. Pakistan has also sought cooperation from Google to clamp down on accounts operated for and by terrorists.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Ali
    Jun 15, 2012 - 5:37AM

    In his own dumbness the PM has forgotten that there are companies inside Pakistan that can achieve this task of service centers (bar cross border survillance ). He has also forgotten that Google is liable to give all and any data at just a single request from CIA. Why do we get ALL the legends as our leaders is beyond me. They should sell the country to the US once for all and be rich and wear expensive suits while the poor public rots.

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  • Chandan
    Jun 15, 2012 - 7:26AM

    Mr. Gilani Saab, people of Pakistan do not believe in Google. If they did, they would research before commenting fabricated stories.

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  • Jun 15, 2012 - 7:54AM

    Google and NSA has revolving doors. A ridiculous decision to take handing out National Security to companies like Google.

    Last time Pakistan took immigration software PISCES from Booz Allen Hamilton, a CIA front company, resulted in Yemeni, Algerian, Sudanese, Libyan terrorists and CIA goons unrestricted entries to Pakistan.

    If Google is so serious why not open Google offices in Pakistan and provide jobs.

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  • Jun 15, 2012 - 8:15AM

    At least something good from PM.

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  • Jun 15, 2012 - 8:18AM

    Google is an American company, uses American technology primarily. You are asking Americans to help you, give you jobs, create IT infrastructure, but bad mouth them whenever you get a chance? What duplicity and hypocrisy!

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  • M Hussain
    Jun 15, 2012 - 8:41AM

    Our PM it seems is confused and has very little idea if any about what he is talking about.
    Google cannot do a real time tracking of individuals across the border. May be NADRA can do this job a lot better but one needs to have high resolution satellite up in the air which Pakistan does not at present have.
    Google please excuse our PM

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  • Ali
    Jun 15, 2012 - 9:07AM

    The man needs to grow up… Google going to take up a mega project while multitudes of talented and unemployed youth of Pakistan left to yearn in their cataclysm, Don’t know up to when??

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  • Truth
    Jun 15, 2012 - 9:14AM

    Great. Its a need of time, while living in globalized world to use high-tech system of vigilance….nothing bad..in fact it will speed up regional diffusion…

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  • Malatesh
    Jun 15, 2012 - 9:16AM

    Pakistan is pretending that it dont know anything about cross border movement.
    If Google release cross border movement to public (including Wazirestan to Afghanistan and POK to democratic Kashmir) then for sure all Google products will be banned in Pakistan.

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  • Zavia
    Jun 15, 2012 - 10:39AM

    Pakistan can tap a 10-15 Billion outsourcing marketplace in next 05 years with ease. We need to market IT services and resource along these lines. Lets not be invest our energies to import IT services, instead focus on Export.

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  • Jun 15, 2012 - 11:34AM

    @BruteForce:
    Well I am not against technology, knowledge, science, trade, business nor America. Currently America is run by International banksters using round table groups, circumventing US constitution using various bills and EOs. They have robbed their people of jobs, savings and put them deeper into taxes and debts, similar to most of the world. Even Americans are fed up with them.

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  • Adeel
    Jun 15, 2012 - 1:41PM

    Afgan-Pakistan boarder control Andriod app ..Thats all PM is asking form Google

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  • Jun 15, 2012 - 1:59PM

    All the parties must understand that the only end to Pakistan’s misery is long term investment in education just like what India did with IIT. Engineering universities must be setup nationwide with top-notch faculty and merit based admissions. The entry test should be one just like that of IIT and it should evaluate candidate’s logical and analytic abilities.

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  • Its (still) Econonmy Stupid
    Jun 15, 2012 - 2:59PM

    Once again non state actors will bid for state actors.

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  • Expatriate
    Jun 15, 2012 - 3:15PM

    Why take so much trouble.Save time and money where they are needed most.DURAND LINE is an artificial line drawn by British colonial rule in 19th century which has never been accepted by afghanistan .JUST dismantle the imaginary line and you will see no crossing at all.

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  • Wahab Khan Afridi
    Jun 15, 2012 - 7:29PM

    atleast with the help of technology PM is trying his best to eliminate terrorism. why muslims are always moaning about Western technology, why do they not realise that the military hardware we use is 80% western, the medical technology we use is all western so whats wrong in using Google to eliminate this mess. thats a good step PM, we should grow up and think mature now if we want to progress. this extremist mindset needs to be changed which was unfortunately planted by General Zia ul Haq and CIA durring soviet war and we are suffering because of that now

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  • Jun 15, 2012 - 7:52PM

    Pakistanis are making a significant voluntary contribution to Google offerings like Google Maps. It makes perfect sense for Google, a global giant, to be interested in Pakistan because of its young demographics which Schmitt described as a “great asset”.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/11/online-digital-maps-petaluma-to.html

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  • Ali
    Jun 15, 2012 - 8:03PM

    There had never been the border between the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. So people movement cannot be restricted. Instead Pakistani government should keep aside from arrogant and war mongering policies of USA and Saudi ideologies, to reduce the fever of Talibanization and to convince the people that they are not jockeys of USA.
    Moreover Google has nothing to do in this regard. $10million should have been spent on our own IT infrastructure.Recommend

  • Haroon Rashid
    Jun 16, 2012 - 5:53PM

    Google is a company, with its own objective and interests. Particularly the privacy which is very important to a client is absent at Google. Google is making serious investments in the developing and emerging markets. Google Map for example where Google team will digitise the map either on the surface or in the air. But mapping our country will provide all data to Google which will share the data with the intelligence agencies, and clients. Hence trusting Google on this is not a good idea. Payment system Google Checkout, Google Un-manned car, and providing free web sites to individuals, SMB, in Pakistan to develop their own web sites, which Google has done in India. Why not in the sub-continent means Pakistan.

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  • Muhammad Adil
    Jun 17, 2012 - 11:52AM

    Good initiative has been taken by our chief executive Gilani..I truly appreciate Google’s interest in this regards. Now its our turn how to utilize this opportunity to tackle the security problems and as well looking forward to enhance our IT market.

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  • Haseebullah
    Jun 19, 2012 - 6:13PM

    The money that PM might be investing in google for this project,if he pays the same money to some pakistani company i am sure they can build a cross border surveillance system or better yet put a satellite in orbit.

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