Science and scientists need attention

THE feelings expressed in the following paragraphs regarding science and scientists needing the governments attention are based on facts and must be given a serious consideration for the sake of national progress.

Primarily we have to agree that without scientific and industrial research the development and progress of a nation is not possible. This statement could be assessed by comparing the progress of developed and underdeveloped countries. The history of research and development of advanced countries like the USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan and others cannot be denied. We should comprehensively understand that Muslim scientists were considered highly progressive in science and technology till the 16th century. They enjoyed prominence in several branches of science, especially medicine, chemistry, optics, mathematics, astronomy and philosophy. The extraordinary progress made by Muslim scientists was the result of a rational and progressive scientific policy in a secular environment and without unnecessary domination of religious orthodoxy. The bright period of Muslims was followed by a dark period.

Both Europeans and Muslims have passed through the same period of a dark age when states remained under the influence of orthodox churches and religious Muslim institutions. In both the cases the earlier rationalism and logic was abandoned due to orthodoxy. As a result of the emergence of Protestants, the European countries got their states free from the clutches of the church, and thus, by the middle of the 18th century they were able to start progress in science and technology, whereas we Muslims are still continuing in the dark age instead of being rational and scientific-minded.

It is more than 300 years that European countries have been busy in science and technology and making the desired progress. We have been lagging behind with the result that we have become subservient to them. We depend on them for high-tech products (which they produce from the raw material imported from Third-World countries) and financial assistance.

About 66 years have passed since the creation of Pakistan, so it is high time that we wake up from our deep slumber and make all-out efforts to catch up with the developed countries of the world. Primarily, this will require a national science policy and too with enough financial support and the will of the government. It is important to recall here that during the tenure of President Ayub Khan the national science policy was submitted and financial allocations were decided, but unfortunately the 1965 the Indo-Pak war broke out and all finances were diverted towards the war.

Although it is already late but it is better to be late than never! So it is necessary that without losing further time Pakistan must have a national science policy. Any more neglect would be damaging for the future of Pakistan. One may expect that the incumbent Prime Minister of Pakistan and parliamentarians would give due attention to this proposal as this is desperately needed to achieve the goals which we had set decades ago but could not register a significant progress.

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