Dr. S. M. Junaid Zaidi, Executive Director COMSATS, met the H.E. Mr. Fawad Chaudhry, Federal Minister for Science and Technology (MoST), Government of Pakistan, at his office, on 24th June 2020. The key agenda of the meeting was to apprise the Honourable Minister – ex-officio Chairperson of COMSATS Consultative Committee – about COMSATS’ recent undertakings aimed at scientific and technological growth and advancement of its Member States, including Pakistan.
Capt. (R) Nasim Nawaz, Secretary MoST; Dr. Hussain Abidi, Member (Science and Technology), MoST; and Dr. Ahsan Feroze, Director (IL), Pakistan Science Foundation were also present during the meeting along with Mr. Bilal Chohan (Director of Admin & Establishment) and Mr. Farhan Ansari (Sr. Assistant Director Programmes) from COMSATS Secretariat.
After his detailed presentation in which he briefed about COMSATS’ structure, statutory organs, scientific programmes, and international partnerships, Dr. Zaidi shared with the Minister the future aspirations of COMSATS. Capitalizing on its experience in the deployment of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for achieving socio-economic benefits, COMSATS plans to:
- Establish an Innovation Lab in Islamabad;
- Develop a Distance Learning Support Network;
- Set-up 50 Rural Telehealth Clinics in Pakistan;
- Provide wireless broadband services for socio-economic development in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) region of Pakistan; and
- Establish higher education institutions in other Member States on the line of its flagship project, i.e., COMSATS University Islamabad.
Besides, it was communicated that COMSATS aspires promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in Pakistan and is already acting as a conduit between Governments of Pakistan and China for establishing an S&T Park in Jhelum, Pakistan.
Mr. Fawad was appreciative of COMSATS’ endeavors for promoting science-led sustainable development in the Southern region. He recommended scaling-up COMSATS Telehealth Programme within Pakistan and also expanding it to other Member States of COMSATS. Taking keen interest in COMSATS Scholarship Programme, Mr. Fawad encouraged COMSATS to give priority to the underprivileged brotherly countries.
The Minister sought collaboration with COMSATS Member States particularly in the areas of agriculture, electronics and chemical sciences. He also communicated Pakistan’s willingness to support other Member States of COMSATS to aid their response to the global outbreak of coronavirus.
During the meeting, it was also proposed that in the current global scenario a virtual meeting of COMSATS Consultative Committee may be organized under the chairpersonship of the Honourable Minister.