The Times Higher Education's (THE) Asia University Rankings 2017 publication includes seven Pakistani institutions in the top 300, five of which are new entrants, according to a press release.

Quaid-i-Azam University received the highest ranking among local institutions, placing in the 121-130 cohort, joined by COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, which places in the 141-150 band.

The editor of THE, Phil Baty said, "It is fantastic news that Pakistan has more than tripled its representation in this year’s list of Asia’s best universities, taking seven places, up from two last year. COMSATS Institute of Information Technology is the only new entry to make the top 200 (in the 141-150 band)."

“However, the two established Pakistani universities have dropped places, despite the fact that their overall scores had not declined since last year; Quaid-i-Azam University drops from 101-110 to 121-130, while the National University of Sciences and Technology slips from 121-130 to 151-160.", Baty added.

"Their decline is due to other leading Asian universities improving at a faster rate and increased competition in the table; the ranking now includes 300 universities, up from 200 last year," he explained

Speaking on the standard of higher education in the country Baty said, "Higher education enrolment in Pakistan has increased significantly (from 280,000 students in 2002 to 1.3 million today), and 47 per cent of these are women (compared to 36pc 10 years ago), according to data from the World Bank. But, only around 10pc of the country’s university-age population go to university, which is much lower than the equivalent figures in India and Sri Lanka. Despite this, reforms have made the establishment of universities much easier, resulting in a trebling in the number of higher education institutions since 2000."

Other Pakistani institutions making the list are the National University of Sciences and Technology, placing in the 151-160 range, and the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, making it to the 201-250 bracket. Bahauddin Zakariya University, University of Karachi, and University of Lahore all placed in the 251+ ranks.