National Science and Technology Policy
Work on National Science and Technology Policy in limbo
Islamabad, Nov 22: The work on National Science and Technology Policy has come to a
halt due to lack of political will and administrative hurdles.
the Ministry of Science and Technology said that a draft of the policy
has been prepared and about to be presented to Cabinet but in the face of
resistance from the Minister for Science and Technology Azam Khan Swati further
work on the draft has been stopped. It has also been learnt that the minister
has been considering to hire a consultant from China while ignoring scientists
and experts from the ministry.
After a long period of 25 years, the ministry
has been reviewing the National Science & Technology Policy 1984, which
failed to achieve its objectives. The constant neglect during successive decades
of the status of science and technology institutions in Pakistan has led to a
crumbled infrastructure and lack of appropriate human resources. This needs to
be drastically changed if Pakistan is to compete economically in the comity of
nations as a self-reliant country with its own indigenous capabilities for
manufacture of different new products and process.
At present, Pakistan
ranks low on the Human Development Index (HDI) ranking at 136 out of 177
countries, because of its poor social indicators. It also has a weak science and
technology image based on various S & T indicators such as the number of
international research publications, number of researchers per million
population, research and development expenditure as percentage of GDP, patents
According to experts the changing global face of science is leading to an
increasing multidisciplinary area in which institutions in many countries must
participate together. Technology development is now closely interlinked with
developments in various scientific fields and we cannot expect to become
technologically self-reliant unless we have the necessary strength in basic
Off the record conversation with officials of the ministry has
revealed while knowledge has become an important source of economic power the
doors to acquire knowledge in many areas have been closed for developing
countries such as Pakistan thereby making it difficult to develop indigenous
capabilities and know-how. The intensely competitive industrial sector relies on
the acquisition of such capabilities and access to new knowledge.
and technology are transforming the future of nations in multifarious ways. Only
those developing countries, which can invest in their brightest human resources,
can hope to forge ahead and compete globally.
The key role of science and
technology as a vehicle for alleviation of poverty, in removal of hunger,
tackling of malnutrition, provision of clean drinking water, enhancing
livelihood security, reducing regional imbalances, creating opportunities for
employment and for creating and environment in which human can live with dignity
cannot be denied.
Thus objectives, policies and future plans to integrate
science and technology into all our development programmes are crucial. The nation
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Medical college ill-equipped to handle blast cases
Peshawar: Inadequate facilities in the department of forensic medicine and toxicology,
Khyber Medical College, have been hampering staff's efforts to provide services
to victims of bomb explosions to the desired level.
The department is
facing shortage of cotton, cause cloth, instruments, stretchers, surgical
gloves, portable X-Ray machine, morticians and technicians. It conducts more
than 1,000 autopsies per year with 14 medico-legal officers and demonstrators.
The department also faces shortage of auxiliary staff and vehicles.
Forensic sciences are important to support law with scientific evidence
in court, but the government is yet to accord attention to this vital sector of
The college forensic department has no place to keep
foul-smelling bodies brought for autopsies. Staff members carry out autopsies
without masks and other protective equipment, posing themselves to health
hazards. Last year, a technician developed hepatitis C from a prick, who was not
given free treatment.
Two posts of associate and assistant professors
are vacant in the department. As there are no incentives for them, doctors
aren't interested in joining the forensic department.
correspondence with federal and provincial governments for expansion of the
department for 20 years have been fruitless.
The department was shifted
from the Police Hospital by then governor Fazal Haq to the Khyber Medical
College in 1990, but it never received special funds and is being run from the
On May 18, 2004, a letter was issued by the Emergency
Medical Services Committee on Defence Planning of the Ministry of Health,
Islamabad, to the provincial health department to prepare a plan to cope with
natural calamities. The department sent a plan to the federal government through
proper channel, but nothing happened.
Officials in the health
secretariat said the department had several times submitted proposals to
provincial and federal governments to establish a mass emergency section on the
first floor and a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) centre on the second floor of the
existing building, which had enough space.
Well before that, in April
2001, the KMC principal had submitted a site plan to the provincial construction
and works department for the proposed upgradation, but it also went unnoticed.
In 1995, the then provincial governor asked the health department to
prepare a PC-1 for upgradation of the department when he lost his daughter in a
bomb blast and saw the pathetic conditions in the department. The health
department asked the KMC principal in January 1996 to submit a PC-1 regarding
upgradation of the department to be made part of the Annual Development
Programme, but the plan didn't see light of the day.
are handed over to the municipal corporation for burial without giving ample
time to their relatives to identify them due to non-availability of a cold
The government had purchased three second-hand
freezers with storage capacity of 14 bodies, 20 years ago, which have long gone
out of order. There is a plan to purchase three new freezers, each with a
capacity of four bodies, soon.
At present, samples are sent to Lahore
and Islamabad for DNA tests. The KMC department had proposed establishment of a
DNA laboratory to help investigate cases of terrorism in scientific manner and
create a genetic bank.
Soon after the 9/11 attacks in New York and
Washington, the Japanese government had contacted the department to establish a
DNA centre here but the move also proved a non-starter.
at the department also missed international trainings. Recently, although police
have nothing to do with conducting DNA tests, a senior police officer was sent
to Japan for DNA course, who retired soon after his return.
circumstances, the people suffer as the government doesn't have a backup plan
for mutilated bodies from blasts. The bodies are first brought to the Lady
Reading Hospital and then sent to the KMC for stitching and restoration and
identification, after 7-8 hours.
The KMC forensic department also
provides postgraduate training to medical officers in forensic sciences, but the
prevalent situation shows it will stop offering the courses because of
non-availability of required facilities.
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NBF Children Book Fair concluded
Islamabad: A two-day `Children Book Fair' by National Book Foundation (NBF) displaying unique variety
of children literature concluded Saturday.
The fair arranged in
connection with Universal Children's Day aimed at boosting reading habits among
children as well as entertaining them with story reading sessions, funny
cartoons and humorous poems. Prominent publishers and booksellers set up their
stalls of books on a wide range of subjects for children, offering up to 30pc
discount on the books. While NBF offered 40pc on its books.
Director Mazharul Islam, who himself is an acclaimed writer of short stories,
highlighted the importance of book in a child's life. "Books stand their ground
and give us a deep knowledge and clear perception of things in this age of
computer sciences," he said. He counted a number of initiatives taken by NBF for
the promotion of reading culture among children.
themselves with the story 'Sadako ki Dua', Nigar Nazar's funny cartoons and
Ahmed Hatib Siddiqui's humorous poem "Yeh bat samajh main Ayee Nahi." They were
also amused to see their favourite characters Chacha Chhakan, Tot Batot and
Watayo Faqeer that appeared on the stage one by one during a talk by Dr Iftikhar
on "Popular Characters of Children's Character." A large number of students of
the twin cities along with their teachers and parents visited various stalls and
showed keen interest in books put on display there.
The exhibition was
inaugurated by Federal Minister for Education Mir Hazar Khan
The federal minister announced to give award to the most
prolific child reader every year and commended the NBF book-oriented initiatives
including setting up book clubs at hospitals, railway stations, jails and
airports. He urged the children to establish live contact with the books. "By
spreading light of education, can we counter darkness of ignorance, intolerance
and terrorism," he said. Writers of the children stories Parveen Haq,
Fouzia Minahallah, Dr Iftikhar Khokhar and Rizwana Syed Ali, Cartoonist Nigar
and poet Ahmed Hatib Siddiqui delighted children by reading out stories and
NBF Book Ambassadors Farah Hussain, Shabnam Shakil and Rana Seerat
also shared their childhood memories with children and asked them to get maximum
pleasure out of reading books. NBF Book Ambassador Farah Hussain and
Shabnam Shakil, Rana Seerat, Fouzia Minallah, Parliamentary Secretary for
Education Gul Mohammad Jakhrani also participated in the fair.
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Islamic finance seminar
Islamabad: A day-long seminar on Islamic Financing would be held here on Tuesday, November 24 to discuss various
issues related to Islamic financing in current economic scenario. The seminar
has been organised by Association of Chartered Certified Accounts (ACCA).
other issues, the topics including fundamental principles of Islamic banking and
finance, Islamic contract theory and key contracts, Islamic banking and
investing would be discussed thoroughly in the seminar.
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Another school blown up in Bara
Bara: Militants blew up a portion of the Government High School, Alam Gudar, in
Bara subdivision in Khyber Agency early Saturday.
Tribal sources informed that
a group of militants attacked the Government Boys' High School in Alam
Gudar, took hostage the watchmen at gunpoint and fixed four explosive devices at
different places of the school building which went off one after the other,
destroying the primary section completely.
The blasts also damaged the
school hall, principal office and some classrooms of the high school
portion. The explosions also rocked the whole area and sent a wave of
fear among the residents of nearby villages. No group or individual
claimed responsibility for the act.
This was the first boysí school
destroyed by militants in Bara subdivision. The militants, it may be added, had
earlier destroyed three girls schools in Kalanga Akakhel, Karegar Garhi and
recently one in Ghazi Gul Killay. The news
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