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Atta-ur-Rehman is receiving a shield from Vice Chancellor of Karachi University, Dr Pirzada Qasim. The University of Mara in Malaysia has announced to establish a center for natural products chemistry on the name of Dr. Atta. – Photo by Suhail Yusuf /Dawn.com

KARACHI: University of Technology Mara, Malaysia, (UiTM) has decided to setup a science centre in the name of former Chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan Prof Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman in recognition of his services to science and technology and higher education.

This was stated by UiTM Vice Chancellor, Prof Dr Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar, while speaking in a meeting, held at International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), Karachi University (KU), on Friday.

Besides plans to establish a center of natural product chemistry at UiTM to honor Dr. Atta, the Malaysian university will also honour Dr. Atta with its DSc degree.

The meeting was attended by Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman, Director ICCBS Prof Dr. M Iqbal Choudhary and other faculty members of the ICCBS.

The UiTM Vice Chancellor along with two members is on a two-day visit to ICCBS. During their visit, they will select students for an exchange programme between both the countries. The Malaysian university has expanded nationwide learning with four satellite campuses, 12 branch campuses, nine city campuses and 19 affiliated colleges. With this network and a staff of 15,000, the university offers more than 300 academic programmes to 189,000 students. It is also the largest university in the Muslim world with an annual budget of over one billion US dollars.

UiTM Vice Chancellor applauded the efforts and services of Dr Atta-ur-Rahman for the promotion of higher education in Pakistan. He said that there was a dire need to enhance relations between the two universities, and develop academic exchange in the area of education and research.

“ICCBS was, no doubt, an excellent scientific institution in the world,” he added.

Dr Atta-ur-Rahman stressed the need to further improve scientific collaborations between both countries, and said that knowledge was a key to advancement in any country. He said that scientists at ICCBS needed to further work hard for the rapid progress of science in the country. The former HEC chief thanked UiTM Chief for his university’s steps to recognize his services for Pakistan.

Director ICCBS Prof Dr M Iqbal Choudhary said that both the institutions have agreed to enhance relations between the two universities and to develop academic exchange in the area of education and research, and have agreed to identify team members to work on joint research projects. ICCBS Karachi University is one of the most prestigious research institutions in the world where experienced scientists and young scholars are engaged in genuine scientific studies, he said.

Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman, FRS has contributed 843 research publications at an international level which include 103 books largely published by major US and European presses and 17 international patents.

The Government of Pakistan has conferred four civil awards, including Tamgha-i-Imtiaz (1983), Sitara-i-Imtiaz (1991), Hilal-i-Imtiaz (1998), and the highest national civil award Nishan-i-Imtiaz (2002), to him. The Austrian government also honoured him with its highest civil award “Grosse Goldene Ehrenzeischen am Bande” (2007) in recognition of his eminent contributions.  He was recently elected as the President of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences for his second term.

Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman, FRS is presently the Coordinator General of COMSTECH, an OIC Ministerial Committee comprising the 57 Ministers of Science & Technology from OIC member countries.