Bids are soon to be invited for software technology parks to be set up as build-own-operate (BOO) projects. Managing director of the government’s Private Software Export Board (PSEB), Shahid Mir, says the parks would have earth stations for satellite link-up with other countries.

The first is to be set up in Islamabad and the second in Karachi. The government will lease out space in a large building to software companies and provide them with telecommunications links via a dedicated satellite earth station.

The plan follows the unveiling of an incentives package on 16 October aimed at attracting foreign investment in an export-oriented software industry. Approved by the cabinet, the package includes tax and duty exemptions and financial support. It will allow foreign investors up to 100 per cent equity ownership and will exempt all equipment used exclusively for software export business from all duties, taxes and surcharges. Information & Broadcasting Minister Khalid Ahmad Kharal says the package is aimed at putting Pakistan ‘on the map of significant software producers of the world.’

Mir says the PSEB is making progress on drafting strict laws to check copyright violations. Pakistan is being assisted in the formulation and implementation of the copyright laws by International Intellectual Property Alliance of the US.