Top Scientists Deplore the State of Science & Technology in the Country
Science is the foundation of economy. Inspired by historical recommendations of the 1965 Meeting of eminent scientists of that time in Swat, chaired by President Ayub Khan, the Pakistan Academy of Sciences convened a meeting of top scientists of the country on 9th July, 2015 at the Academy’s headquarter in Islamabad. The Meeting in Swat, organized jointly by Pakistan Academy of Sciences and National Science Council, had made 20 recommendations for the development of S&T, including a salient recommendation of allocating 2% of GDP for S&T in the federal budget. After a lapse of 50 years, in 2015 it was noted with a serious concern that most of those recommendations were not heeded to till today, resulting in deplorable state of S&T and, hence, of the national economy. The leading experts believe that investing upto 3.5% of GDP in science, technology and innovation can be “the game changer” to help alleviate poverty, reduce inequalities, increase income and improve health. Therefore, the top scientists of the country observed with serious concern that a meager allocation of 0.2% of GDP for S&T in the federal budget has resulted in deplorable state of S&T. To improve upon this situation, it was unanimously urged that the budget allocation for S&T must be enhanced to 1% of GDP immediately.
The top scientists also resolved to launch an effective media campaign to educate the public and decision makers about salient achievements of scientific organizations and thus about the crucial need and benefits for allocating 2% of GDP for S&T in the federal budget. The Meeting also urged the Government to always appoint an eminent scientist as Federal Secretary of Ministry of Science & Technology, instead of a bureaucrat; to appoint an eminent scientist as Advisor Science to Prime Minister, with the status of Minister, for easy access to the decision makers; and reviving the National Science Council which has got redundant since the past 50 years.
A resolution was adopted unanimously to save NARC Islamabad from the land mafia. The Prime Minister was asked to turn down the CDA summary for conversion of NARC’s 1400 Acres research farm in to a housing scheme at the cost of national food security; rather CDA must be directed to immediately extend the NARC land lease for 90 years.
The meeting was participated by President of Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS), Dr. Anwar Nasim; Secretary General of PAS, Prof. Dr. Zabta K. Shinwari; Vice President of Islamic World Academy of Sciences, Prof. Dr. M.D. Shami; Coordinator General of COMSTECH, Dr. Shaukat Hameed Khan; Advisor (Science) COMSTECH, Prof. Dr. Qasim Jan; Executive Director of COMSATS, Dr. Imtinan Qureshi; Chairman of Pakistan Science Foundation, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ashraf; Chairman of Pakistan Council for Science & Technology, Prof. Dr. Anwar-ul-Hassan Gilani; Chairman of PARC, Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad; and President of ECO Science Foundation, Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro.
The top scientists resolved to work tirelessly under the umbrella of National Science Complex. It was decided to meet once every three months to review the situation and formulate future line of action.