By Badar Minhas

TECHNOLOGY FORESIGHT exercise is still under process in Pakistan for the past many years. Despite the conception of the project in 2004 and revision in the year 2007, the project was actually, really and practically started in the year 2009 when the basic resource to do any sort of work was hired to work towards the goals and objectives defined in the project document approved by the Planning Commission. Still the efforts of the authorities need some appreciation that the work at least started despite the ban at that time to hire HR (don’t know what was the reason and still-self imposed ban is there to continue smooth working).
Now, most of the team’s middle level management is on the job, though not doing TF but still so-called on the project, and the work on Biotechnology Foresight is on its way to completion. Just before this health foresight was started and is expected to come up with solution for Pakistani Health Sector.
Media was contacted to highlight the solutions and TV channels replied that solutions oriented programmes are not the public demand, management was tried to be convinced that we need more resources of all sort in addition to the involvement of the champions and decision makers in the TF process. But the reply was highlighting the lack of time with the authorities to participate in such good programmes with no self-interest for them, health panel was formed and insisted to try to influence the departments. However, the issue was the lack of political will having no focus on issues of the nation but of political warfare in the country and now it is going to end despite the panel members are willing to continue the work but the problem is lack of funds, interests of some to show off the successful completion despite no goals achieved appropriately, some forces are against such a constructive work which is trying to build consensus on national issues.
Just now, after reading the developments in the health sector in US and other developed countries in the west, feelings of considering our TF Health sector as naive are strong. It is in infancy as they are working on computer codes which can manage the dosages and heart beat (pace maker) we are still in resolving issues of vaccines, legislative matters, doctors’ issues and diseases rather than focusing these hardcore Technology Foresight issues. Focus in the West is to come up with open source medical technologies so that cost of writing lengthy codes of programmes in medical devices can be copied and amended as per your requirements. It is expected to reduce the cost as well as increase the non-faulty behaviour of technologies in medical science.
The web portal of medical colleges was checked for knowing the projects being undertaken in R and D sector there. It was learnt that no research is going on in medical field in medical universities/colleges or if there is any, then it is very naive rather than focusing on hardcore technology foresight and issues related to new technologies introduction in social infrastructure.
The above para demonstrates that all such organizations, which are to make Pakistan independent of developed countries from where we import tech, are very passive. It sounds like the workers there are having impediments to work from tech developer country to tech dependent. We need to highlight the TF and make the slogan of this work (expected to be an organization in near or far future conducing Foresight for nation and world) as Drive Techno-Economic Liberty. This is the step we need to take so that TF can be an OK exercise rather than an exercise which is typically PK foresight plan.

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