Dr. I.E. Qureshi, Executive Director COMSATS delivered a keynote address on July 28, 2016, in the Seminar on “Role of Education, Science and Technology in National Security”, which was organized in Islamabad, Pakistan, by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in collaboration with the University of Management and Technology (UMT), Lahore.
The seminar had high-level participation from different think tanks, science and technology institutions, universities, government departments and inter-governmental agencies. Minister for Science & Technology and Defense Production, Government of Pakistan, Rana Tanveer Hussain, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.
Considering the broad scope of the seminar, Dr. Qureshi informed the audience that he will be talking about a specific aspect which is very important from the perspective of national security. He emphasized that science and technology activities are means of projecting ‘soft power’ of a country having a strong bearing on its international credibility leading to tangible security benefits. Considering perception an important factor for how a country is treated among the world community, he deemed it important that scientists and engineers of Pakistan should be supported and encouraged to participate in scientific research through international collaboration.
Dr. Qureshi informed the august gathering about how COMSATS was contributing towards the development of the countries of the South and how Pakistan, as host country, is benefiting from COMSATS’ international programmes and activities. He, particularly, mentioned COMSATS Network of Centers of Excellence, International Thematic Research Groups and its Science Diplomacy Programme.
He introduced COMSATS as an organization that emerged from Salam’s vision and is working outside of UN structure with no regional and political affiliation. He believed that COMSATS, with its S&T-led scientific activities in developing countries, is a source of good will for Pakistan internationally.
Earlier, the seminar started with welcome remarks by Director General of ISSI, Ambassador Masood Khan and introductory remarks by Hasan Sohaib Murad, the Rector UMT. Around 18 speakers delivered talks on how science and technology-based approaches can be employed to achieve national security. Other speakers for the inaugural session included: Dr. Muhammad Latif, Adviser Research and Development, Higher Education Commission; Dr. Mujahid Kamran, Vice Chancellor, Punjab University, Lahore; Mr. Pervez Butt, former Chairman, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and Engr. Muhammad Asghar, Rector, National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad.
The speakers noted that there is a strong nexus between education, science and technology and national security and called for creating linkages between S&T sector, academia, and industry, and investing in innovation systems. The need was also felt to develop expertise in emerging frontiers of S&T, engage in science diplomacy, and encourage students to take up S&T disciplines.
The honorable Minister appreciated S&T institutions of the country and urged upon the scientists to find ways and means to bring the benefits of science to common people. He said that government was committed to support science, technology and education through provision of adequate budgetary support.