Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) has been ranked among the top 100 varsities of Asia by the Times Higher Education (THE).
QUA broke into the top 100 of the Asia University Rankings 2018 after improving on its previously held ranking in the 121-130 band.
The next Pakistani varsity on the list is the Comsats Institute of Information Technology, which jumped up to 125th place from the 141-150 band it was in in the last ranking.
In all, THE's latest rankings features 10 Pakistani universities, up from seven in 2017, much of which was due to the expansion of the list, which now facilitates 350 plus universities.
The list, however, is dominated by Chinese varsities, who make up for at least 20 per cent of the listing. Tsinghua University is China's highest-ranked institution.
The National University of Singapore, however, held on to the overall number one spot on the index after improving its scores in almost all areas.
Other Pakistani universities grabbing a place on the list are: National University of Sciences and Technology (162), University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (251–300), Bahauddin Zakariya University (301–350), University of Lahore (301–350), University of Peshawar (301–350), PMAS Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (301–350), University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore (301–350) and Government College University Lahore (351+).
Phil Baty, the editorial director of global rankings at Times Higher Education, congratulated Pakistan for having 10 universities on their list but also highlighted a 'lack of research environment' in Pakistan's educational system.
“It is a fantastic achievement that Pakistan now has 10 universities in the Asia rankings and that its two leading universities have risen up the table. But the country’s poor research environment, not helped by a lack of funding, is preventing the nation from fulfilling its higher education potential.
“Research must be made a priority if a country wants to stand out from its competition on the world’s largest continent.”
In South Asia, India led the rest with 42 representatives — up from 33 last year.
The ranking's top 100 universities have 21 entrants from Muslim countries, including the 10 from Pakistan.
Baty also explained why some of Pakistan’s finest institutions — such as the Lahore University of Management and Sciences (Lums), the Aga Khan University, the National University of Modern Languages (NUML) and the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (GIKI) — miss out from their list despite doing a stellar job in Pakistan.
"Lums and GIKI both participated in the THE rankings' data collection process but are not ranked as they do not yet meet the publication threshold," he said. "Neither Aga Khan University nor NUML participated in the process.
"We require that universities who wish to participate in the THE World University Rankings teach undergraduates and publish sufficient research — at least 1,000 papers in the preceding five years and no fewer than 150 per year."