Muslim world’s lagging behind in science bemoaned

Published February 28, 2019
Prof Rassoul Dinarvand speaks at the conference.—White Star
Prof Rassoul Dinarvand speaks at the conference.—White Star

KARACHI: At the opening ceremony of the 5th Science and Technology Exchange Prog­ramme (STEP) International Conference at Karachi University (KU), speakers expressed concern over the alarming decline in the sectors of education, science and technology and called for united efforts to change this dismal situation.

The event, titled ‘Health challenges of communicable diseases and non-communicable diseases’, was organised at the KU’s International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS).

Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD) of the ICCBS hosted the science conference in collaboration with Mustafa (PBUH) Science and Technology Foundation (MSTF) in Iran.

Regretting lack of progress in science and technology in the Muslim world, Prof Atta-ur-Rahman, chairman of the Task Force on Technology Driven Knowledge Economy, said it’s unfortunate that not a single institution in Muslim countries had been conferred with the Nobel Prize so far.

“The challenges of the 21st century require that Pakistan change its economic directions. We must drastically change the strategy for socio-economic development as natural resources have lost their importance,” he said.

It was the ability of nations to manufacture and export high value-added goods, which determined their state of development, he added.

Citing Singapore’s example in this regard, he pointed out that it was for this reason alone that tiny Singapore with a population 40 times less than that of Pakistan had exports of $330 billion, 15 times higher than those of Pakistan.

“Singapore has no natural resources and yet the exports per citizen in Singapore are 600 times higher than Pakistan,” he said, adding that Pakistan also needed to learn from Iran.

The former federal science minister talked about how the task force planned to work and said that it would initiate efforts towards a technology driven and knowledge-based economy.

Prof Rassoul Dinarvand, Director Nanotechnology Research Centre, Iran, said that the Mustafa (PBUH) Science and Technology Foundation had been working to raise the status of scientists in the Muslim world. There were times when Muslim scholars laid the foundation of various sciences in the world, he recalled.

KU Vice Chancellor Prof Mohammad Ajmal Khan in his address called upon relevant authorities to allocate significant funds to promote science and technology in Pakistan.

Prof Iqbal Choudhary heading ICCBS spoke of Pakistan’s bleak health scene and said there were many areas which needed immediate attention and intervention.

Zainab Hameedzady, Adviser to Minister for Women Affairs, Iran and Nadira Panjwani also spoke.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2019

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