Ahsan Iqbal inaugurates NMR research facility at ICCBS, KU
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a fate-changer for Pakistan, federal planning, development, and reform minister Dr Ahsan Iqbal said on Friday.
He was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of a 800 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer facility at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi.
“It (CPEC) would definitely boost the economical conditions in the region. Besides, the Pakistani government is also working with US to establish a strong knowledge-based corridor and soon this task would be finalised,” he said.
The applications of NMR facility range from drug discovery and development, food and nutritional analysis, forensic sciences, halal testing, perfumery, herbal medicines, oil industry, petroleum, environmental sciences, testing tumours in brain and others.
The launching ceremony was held at the Professor Salimuzzaman Siddiqui Auditorium, ICCBS, KU. The federal minister lamented the musical-chair game to gain powers in Pakistan did not allow the country to achieves in targets. He maintained that the last military coup had sabotaged all the hard work done by his previous government for the country including durable development in the education sector.
In the recent past, he observed, Pakistan had the best of time to establish long-lasting ties with the US government but their only focus was on getting F16 planes and missiles, rather thinking about promoting culture of exchange of technologies, combined research and education.
“Political instability and incompletion of policies in the previous governments played havoc with national progress. This government will take Pakistan to the group of the world's top 25 economically giant countries in 2025. The 800 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer facility at the ICCBS will contribute in the progress of the country. The government is making all-out efforts to uplift the higher education sector.”
He said his government had launched various initiatives in higher education sector, while the Pak-US Knowledge Corridor was one of the most significant initiatives. He added the government would facilitate talented Pakistani scholars in enrolment in top US universities in the next 10 years.
He said Pakistani universities must produce quality research otherwise they would not be considered more than a college.
Expressing his displeasure over the recent system of education, he said schools and colleges had not developed the way they should have. “We have to balance our system because our system is in bad state. The universities can only produce best students if they get good students from schools and colleges. Otherwise, these students will suffer in future.”
He announced that the government had signed an agreement on the national curriculum for innovation-based learning. He said the system would be implemented in the next two year and would change the epistemology of education in schools. He added that a national conference is going to be held to discuss about reforms in the higher education sector.
Giving an example of the US, he said its real power vested in the strength of its universities.
“It’s unfortunate that in the past, Muslims were known as knowledge seekers, critical thinking, research and innovations, but now they were labelled for doing 'cut-paste' only. This mind-set will not produce any legends in the country, we need to focus on innovation, research, and critical thinking and it can be done with hard work only.”
After inaugurating the 800 MHz NMR facility, the minister also launched a new book titled “Solving Problems with NMR Spectroscopy, Second Edition”, which is jointly written by former federal minister for science and technology and ex-chairman Higher Education Commission Pakistan Professor Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, ICCSB Director Professor Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary and Dr Atia-tul-Wahab from the ICCBS-UK.
The minister said the government had increased the higher education budget from Rs100 billion to Rs250 billion and that showed the government’s priorities. Earlier, KU vice chancellor Professor Dr Muhammad Qaiser said now Pakistani scientists would be able to use the modern facility in their home country. He added that this sophisticated research facility would ease their work.
Professor Atta-ur-Rahman delivered a comprehensive lecture on the “wondrous world of science”.
He said science, technology and innovation were transforming economies. He added that the Muslim world needed to perform extraordinary well in higher education and science and technology.
Dr Iqbal Choudhary said the NMR facility served mostly undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral researchers in the chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering departments all over the world as well as corporate and industrial clients.
Aziz Latif Jamal of the HEJ Foundation appreciated the efforts of the ICCBS leadership for making the international centre as internationally renowned research establishment in Pakistan, and said that HEJ Foundation would continue supporting the progress of the ICCBS.
Nadira Panjwani said she felt pride over the existence of Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research in the research establishment of ICCBS.
Talking about education system in Pakistan, she showed her disappointment over the degradation of the sector. She said it needed to be improved for the betterment of the country. Professor Dr Daniel C. Hoessli from Switzerland briefly described the functions and usage of the NMR technology.
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