The youth should play their role in leading the country out of the multiple challenges facing it, Governor Muhammad Sarwar said on Monday. He was addressing the 21st convocation of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) at the Iqbal Auditorium. “Pakistan faces major challenges in the form of energy crisis, water scarcity, low agricultural productivity and poverty. Our youth should help the country deal with these challenges,” he said.
Calling the youth, the engine of growth, the governor urged the students to get education with dedication and come up with innovative ideas to help the country progress.
“Our nation has been gifted with tremendous natural resources. It is our duty to utilise them,” he said. Sarwar said that it was heart-rending to know that half of the country’s population was living below the poverty line.
“The agriculture sector can play an important role in poverty alleviation. The UAF scientists should expedite their efforts to cope with the challenge of food insecurity in the country,” the governor said.
“The government is taking revolutionary steps for the uplift of the agricultural sector. We are focusing on a white revolution to improve the quality and quantity of milk. Bio-energy is also gaining importance,” Sarwar said.
He also praised the services of Sartaj Aziz, the adviser to the prime minister on national security and foreign affairs; Shamasul Mulk, the former Wapda chairman; and Dr MS Swaminathan, an Indian agriculture scientist credited with introducing green revolution in his country.
Honorary degrees were conferred on Aziz, Mulk, and Dr Swaminathan.
At the event, 1,297 students got bachelors, 1,390 master’s, 209 MPhil, 19 MS computer sciences and 82 PhD degrees.
Speaking on the occasion, Aziz said that Pakistan had great potential in the agricultural sector. “We should try to double the agricultural production in the next 15 years in order to feed our ever-increasing population,” he said.
He said that academic research could move the country towards prosperity.
“Food insecurity and global warning are the areas of concern for our country,” he said.
Mulk praised the UAF for its efforts to increase agriculture production.
Dr Swaminathan said that being the first agricultural institutions in the subcontinent, the UAF had played an important role in decreasing hunger. “The UAF Vision 2030 will prove a hallmark in bringing green revolution in the region,” he said.
UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that the UAF had initiated 32 new demand-driven programmes in the last four years. “A Confucius centre has also been set up at the campus, where Chinese cultural and language courses will be offered,” he said.
“The university also houses a satellite unit of a German-funded International Center for Development and Decent Work to fight against global hunger and poverty through research and education,” he said.
He said that the Australia-Pakistan Agriculture Sector Linkages Programme (ASLP) had proved a successful model in cooperation and partnership. “The ASLP is working to help dairy, mango, and citrus industries,” he said.
The governor also laid the foundation of the UAF main gate, which is being redesigned and reconstructed.
At the event, the governor’s birthday was also celebrated. The governor distributed cheques among students of the Laboratory Girls High School who had achieved academic distinction.
Rabia Faridi, a student of UAF nominated for delivering a speech in the coming UN General Assembly session, spoke on the issue of women empowerment.
Registrar Chaudhry Muhammad Hussain led the academic procession and Examinations Controller Shafqat Iqbal conducted the proceeding of the convocation.
Australian Deputy High Commissioner Paul Molloy, Agriculture Secretary Ali Tahir, Arid Agriculture University VC Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad and other dignitaries from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan were also present.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2014.
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