H.E. Mr. Shibli Faraz, the Federal Minister for Science and Technology (MoST), Government of Pakistan, visited COMSATS Secretariat on 11th August 2021. Mr. Faraz assumed his office at COMSATS’ Focal Ministry in Pakistan in April 2021. He was accompanied by Dr. Akhtar Nazir, Federal Secretary MoST, who is also the incumbent Executive Director COMSATS, as well as Maj. Qaiser Majeed Malik, Additional Secretary (MoST).
The Minister and his colleagues were received by senior officials of COMSATS Secretariat that included Mr. Bilal Chohan, Director (Administration); Mr. Amanullah Khattak, Director (Finance); and Mr. Irfan Hayee, Deputy Director (Programmes).
During the meeting, a comprehensive briefing was given to the honorable guests highlighting COMSATS’ role as an intergovernmental S&T organization of the countries of the South. COMSATS’ mandate and mission; statutory bodies and forums; engagements of the Secretariat; flagship projects; international programmes and activities; and outreach mechanisms and publications were the main features of the briefing.
Besides, an overview of COMSATS’ financial standing was given by Mr. Khattak who also made key recommendations to help improve the existing financial standing of COMSATS. The case of COMSATS Internet Services (CIS) – COMSATS’ flagship project established in 1996 – also came under consideration and Mr. Faraz recommended taking progressive measures to ameliorate the pioneer internet service provider (ISP) of Pakistan.
Further during the meeting, discussions were held on making COMSATS’ programmes and operations more efficient and impactful, in particular, matters related to establishment, administration and finances. It was also noted that Pakistan as a member state and COMSATS’ host country has been the main beneficiary of COMSATS’ programmes and activities. Moreover, it was hoped that scientific organizations under the Ministry of Science and Technology will extend their support for COMSATS and at the same time benefit from its international linkages.
H.E. Mr. Faraz was appreciative of COMSATS’ role as a key regional player in international cooperation in S&T. He hoped to see COMSATS’ activities aligned with national development agenda of Pakistan through applied R&D, commercialization and monetization of the research outputs, in addition to finding innovative solutions to national challenges. He also advised re-thinking new strategies to help achieve COMSATS’ international mandate.
Dr. Nazir, who also chairs one of COMSATS’ statutory organs (COMSATS Consultative Committee) in ex-officio capacity, noted that international S&T organizations, including those based in Pakistan, have a long way to go in adapting to the needs of 21st century that it has presented in the last two decades. He hoped COMSATS is cognizant of these needs and will make leaps in this direction in the coming years.
The meeting concluded with the presentation of souvenir to the Honorable Minister.