Pakistan’s First Electric Car

“As a nation, we don’t have much time. We have wasted so much time already. Now is the answer for everything in Pakistan, we have to do it now. I want to see a change in Pakistan in my lifetime”, says Dr Khurshid Qureshi as he speaks about the need to invest in large-scale innovation projects in Pakistan. 

Dr Khurshid Qureshi is the Founder and Chairman of DICE Foundation, a US-based volunteer-run organization focused on leveraging the experience of expatriate Pakistanis to help drive innovation back home.  DICE is building Pakistan’s National Innovation Basket, an array of mega-projects – the highlight of which is to produce an indigenous electric car from the country.

VCast sat down with Dr. Qureshi to talk about DICE’s work in bridging gaps in industry and academia, and what the electric car project can do for Pakistan.

One of Dr Khurshid’s motivations is to see Pakistan as a fully developed country in his lifetime which he works on achieving through his work at DICE.

DICE operates by focusing on finding people with passion, energy and time who can invest their brain power towards making Pakistan a technologically advanced country. On its vision for developing Pakistan’s first electric car, DICE recognizes the talent that Pakistanis have and the skills they have acquired while working in car manufacturing companies in the US, and they are bringing together their expertise of building subsystems of cars to create an electric car for the country – the intellectual property of which is going to be owned by Pakistanis. For Dr Khurshid, Pakistan making its own electric car will pave the way for further strides in innovation across industries for the country. 

For a country to indigenize technology, people who have expertise in specific areas need to be mobilized and brought together. This can be applied to all industries such as textile, agriculture and medicine. In order to bridge innovation gaps in our ecosystem, Dr Qureshi believes what’s needed is aligning and promoting collaboration across various ministries and departments in the interest of Pakistan.

“You begin with the ends, and not with the means. All these ministries, these industries are the means. We need to begin with the end product in mind, [or the end goal] which is to bring prosperity to Pakistan”, says Dr Khurshid, as he talks about the gaps in the present-day innovation systems of the country. Pakistan’s interest needs to be prioritized over personal gains. Dr Qureshi believes for innovation to come forth, and for Pakistan to develop its own electric car all the stakeholders need to be aligned, with all the related ministries and departments working together in sync to provide the means to reach that end goal.

For people working towards a similar vision, Dr Khurshid’s advice for those looking to work in Pakistan is to have a well-defined goal, a vision and then set your ego aside, otherwise you’re very likely to get tangled up in the day-to-day frustrations that come with working in the country. “Because of open access to the internet, to Youtube, and Google, our kids are becoming very smart. They have knowledge and data in their hands, and many of them also know how to use it”. Dr Khurshid believes there is massive potential in the Pakistani youth, and when asked what drives his optimism for the country, he is extremely hopeful that they are going to be the greatest strength for Pakistan going forward.

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