ISLAMABAD-After spending thirty years in science and three years in diplomacy, Dr Imtinan
Elahi Qureshi , Executive Director of the Commission on Science andamp; Technology for Sustainable
Development in South (COMSATS), is the most vocal advocate of science diplomacy in
Pakistan is all set to bid adieu.
Dr Qureshi is stepping down as COMSATS Executive Director next month and he is leaving
behind a rich legacy of phenomenal achievements making the dormant organization into a living,
throbbing platform where all its 24 member states occasionally gather, interact and discuss
problems and challenges being faced by their respective nations in the fields of science.
In an interview, Dr Qureshi said, “Promotion of science diplomacy is vital for linking Pakistani
missions with the local universities and institutes to find space for our researchers and scholars”.
One of the substantive achievements under Dr Qureshis tenure was formation of International
Thematic Research Groups (ITRGs) this is a project conceived with an objective to achieve
South-South cooperation by undertaking well-defined joint research projects in various Sandamp;T
fields and with the participation of researchers and scientists belonging to different Randamp;D
institutions from COMSATS Member States and other developing countries. The focus of these
ITRGs is on joint research projects, expert-exchange, short-term trainings and sharing of
facilities/laboratory resources, said Dr Qureshi.
When asked how he found himself coming towards diplomacy from the field of science, he said
he was serving in Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission as research scientist and scientific
administrator and his areas of specialization include atomic and particle physics when he was
posted Minister (Technical) in the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations in
Geneva. “I represented Pakistan as a member of delegation in the meetings of Conference on
Disarmament, Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and United Nations Economic and
Social Councils Commission on Science and Technology for Development and many other
important meetings and conference. There I realized how important is the role of a foreign
mission in cultivating groundwork for promotion of science and resolution of challenges in the
fields of science.” This is why I am trying my level best to involve foreign missions and building
linkages with academia and researchers through them for effective collaboration, he said.
To a question that what is the future of science in Pakistan and why successive Pakistan
governments are not keen to make scientific policy as its guiding principle, he said there was an
urgent need to appoint an Adviser to Prime Minister on Science. This is a popular concept
around the world and heads of states and the governments in advanced countries seek advice of
their Advisers on Science on key matters. “Besides, for consistent growth we need to
individuals at the helm of ministry of science andamp; technology consistently”, said Dr Qureshi.