Political approach and S and T sector

THE ELECTION fever has started gripping the whole Pakistani nation with the general elections getting near. Political forces of the country, particularly, are flexing their muscles and have planned to attract or convince the voters by applying various strategies to ballot their votes in their favour. At this stage, almost all political parties have finalized their manifestoes and shared with the public announcing their list of priorities to run their future government if voted to power. However, perusal of these manifestoes is enough to swirl into surprise that hardly any political party has given top or second top priority to the promotion of science and technology in its future plan of action. Some have given priority to economy, some have focused on poverty reduction or law and order situation. Though these are also critical issues that equally need to be resolved, yet the science and technology sector has gained an envious position in the wake of the level of progress in the developed world. Resolution of other even key sectors hinges on the promotion of science and technology. To conclude at this stage that no progress has ever been made in this sector would squarely be unfair, but the problem this sector is constantly confronted with is the lack of will and positive approach on the part of both political governments and politically influenced official authorities who normally give either less weight or comparatively ignore this sector which, by all means, is key to progress of all other sectors including economy, industry and law and order. Apart from whether the upcoming elections would bring a positive political change in Pakistan, there arise a volley of critical questions; will the next government accord top priority to science and technology sector; will a big chunk of the national budget unlike in the past be allocated besides placing the science and technology ministry among the main ministries like defence, foreign or finance. This critical issue demands of political governments and policy makers to craft effective short as well as long-term policies and reform education system with special focus on science and technology. The country a couple of years back had started hoping a new dawn in this field during the era of Dr. Atta ur Rehman, an internationally renowned education reformist, academician and an icon of science and technology development, had worked in various high profile capacities including HEC chairman. However, it is a point of regret that the higher education had to suffer due to the mishandling by political policy makers. Pakistan in a desperate need of development in the field of science and technology and that demands of the policy makers to rise to the situation as the country can no longer afford lagging behind the developed world.

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