Good decision, at last!

THE GOVERNMENT has recently given a four-year extension in service to Dr. Imtinan Qureshi as executive director COMSATS – an government-run institute established in 1994. Dr. Qureshi, having over 30-year rich experience especially in the field of scientific research, teaching and administration while remaining as Chief Scientist in Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, is the holder of Tamgha-i-Imtiaz conferred on him in 2004 on the basis of scientific productivity in nuclear physics research. COMSATS is the inter-governmental organisation to help developing member countries in addressing their socio-economic problems through the application of science and technology having secretariat in Islamabad. In fact, COMSATS was the realisation of a grand vision of the Pakistani Nobel Laureate, Prof. Dr. Abdus Salam, whereby the developmental gap between the North and the South was to be bridged through SandT capacity-building in developing countries. Dr. Salam firmly believed that this globe of ours is inhabited by two distinct species of human beings: the developed and the developing, the rich and the poor. Dr. Imtinan Qureshi, having been tasked by himself to set a track of science and technology progress for the country, is extensively working on this mission to establish COMSATS as the harbinger of the science and technology progress especially in the developing states. COMSATS has been using a variety of conventional and innovative mechanisms over the last 17 years. The capacity-building at the level of individuals and institutions has been conducted through seminars, symposia, workshops, training programmes, pilot-projects and sponsorship of scientific visits. Over 160 national and international events have been organised in the specific areas of science and technology that have a direct relevance to the socio-economic development of the member countries. Extension in service to Dr. Imtinan Qureshi speaks volumes about his professional capabilities, and the result-oriented initiatives taken under his able guidance. Though this is very unlikely that such decision has been taken by the sitting government, which is influenced chiefly by political elements and takes least interest in making the science and technology related departments prosper and grow, yet it is certainly a good sign for the future of science and technology not only in the county but also for the all member states. With this extension, now one can nurture a strong belief that the projects being run under the supervision of the COMSATS would be in a better position to achieve their set goals. The government must replicate this approach while taking decision about the other development sectors as Pakistan still needs to do a lot of work in order to come at par with the developed world. But at the same time, it needs no argument to say that all highly professional organisations must be kept away from the political influence.

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