ISLAMABAD, June 28: More than 50 PhD scientists have given up their services in the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) because of the low-pay structure and immigrated to Canada to take up blue-collar jobs at gas stations and fast-food outlets.

This was highlighted by hundreds of protesting PARC scientists outside the council’s building in front of the Prime Minister’s Secretariat here on Tuesday, demanding better salaries and threatening that a majority of other young scientists were also considering the same option as there was no sign of any improvement at home where remuneration was concerned.

They were later joined by the PARC chairman, Dr M. E. Tasneem, who announced to resign if he failed to turn around such a top-level brain drain by influencing the bureaucracy to agree to a respectable pay structure and pension scheme for scientists.

“The nation should feel ashamed of their PhDs who are forced by circumstances to work beyond the definitions of humanity,” said Dr Ahmed Bakhsh Maher, vice president of PARC Scientist Association (PARSA), while addressing frustrated scientists.

Hit hard by low-pay structures and no visible signs of promotions, over 50 PhD scientists have left the PARC over the past two or three years and immigrated to Canada in search of a better future.

The money they earn through minimum wages in Canada is far more than what they were being offered at the PARC.

PARSA President Dr Tariq Hassan said that out of 650 scientists working with the council 168 were PhDs and had been working in the same grades for the past 20-25 years with no signs of promotion, adding that ironically on the administration side the rules were totally different and those who had worked as clerks with scientists were now their bosses on the administration side.

He demanded the dismissal of Member Finance Mirza Ghazanfar Baig for his alleged involvement in corruption and violation of rules.