KARACHI: Chairperson of the Task Force on Technology Driven Knowledge Economy, Dr Attaur Rahman expressed on Wednesday grave concern over the decline of education, science and technology sectors in the Muslim world. Not a single organisation associated with the Muslim world has been conferred the Nobel Prize as yet, he said.
He was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 5th Science and Technology Exchange Programme (STEP) International Conference on ‘Health Challenges of Communicable (CDs) and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), organised jointly Pakistan and Iran. The event was held at University of Karachi’s (KU) International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) on Wednesday. Nearly 500 scientists from over 40 countries attended the international conference.
According to Dr Rahman, who is also former Higher Education Commission chairperson and the former federal minister for science and technology, the prime minister’s Task Force will determine paths of progress and innovation in education, science and technology to develop a ‘technology driven knowledge economy’ in the country.
The challenges of this century required Pakistan to drastically change its strategy for socio-economic development, he said adding that natural resources had lost their importance and it was now the ability of nations to manufacture and export value added goods that determined their state of development.
He claimed that it was solely for this reason that Singapore with a population 40 times less than Pakistan’s had exports worth US$330 billion which was 15 times higher than Pakistan’s US$24b. Singapore has no natural resources but the exports per citizen in Singapore were 600 times higher than the exports per citizen in Pakistan, said Dr Rahman.
Referring to Iran’s economic progress, he said that the Muslim world, including Pakistan should follow the path of development created by Iran during the on-going economic sanctions.
Also present on the occasion were KU Vice Chancellor (VC) Dr Ajmal Khan, ICCBS Director Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary, Iran Nanotechnology Research Centre Director Prof Rassoul Dinarvand, Adviser to Iran Women Affairs Minister Zeinab Hamidzadeh, Nadira Panjwani from Iran, Dr Humaigra Jahan, Consul-General of Islamic Republic of Iran in Karachi Ahmad Mohammadi, consul-generals of Thailand and Turkey, Hamdard Foundation President Dr Sadia Rashid, Hamdard University VC Dr Syed Shabibul Hasan, Dr Imtiaz Bashir, and other national and international dignatories.
Dr Ajmal Khan welcomed the guests from Iran and other countries to the conference. He concurred with Dr Rahman and asked the relevant authorities to allocate more funds for the promotion of science and technology.
Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary highlighted that Pakistan was dealing with the spread of diseases such as hepatitis, among others, and needed to focus on its health sector to prevent the spread of diseases in the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2019.