On August 03, 2011, Mr. Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar, Federal Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), Government of Pakistan (GoP), visited COMSATS Headquarters, Islamabad. The primary objective of Federal Secretary’s visit was to hold a meeting with the Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. I. E. Qureshi, to receive a briefing on the recently drafted Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) Policy of Pakistan. The meeting was also attended by some other senior officials of COMSATS Headquarters and MoST.
In his capacity as the Convener of Sub-committee to review ‘Draft National S&T Policy – 2009’, constituted by the former Minister for Science and Technology (GoP), Dr. Qureshi made a detailed presentation on the draft National ST&I Policy – 2011, highlighting the new proposals and important policy elements. Each section of the draft was discussed by the participants in detail in comparison with the previous S&T Policies of Pakistan. Dr. Qureshi informed the Federal Secretary that one of the major considerations while formulating the draft ST&I Policy was to take onboard representatives of all the concerned sectors, especially public sector, industry and academia. Dr. Qureshi, while discussing international best practices for formulating S&T Policies, opined that there is a need of strengthening MoST as well as institutions working on S&T policy research in the country. Discussing the draft ST&I Policy’s guideline of increasing Gross Expenditure on R&D to 1% of GDP by year 2015 and 2% by year 2020, Dr. Qureshi stated that in order to improve the standard of science education as well as to meet the technological needs of the country, adequate allocation of funds to these sectors is essential.
Acknowledging the cross-sectoral nature of S&T policy, the Federal Secretary MoST stressed the need of improving coordination among different Ministries and Government Departments. He also shed light on the significance of strengthening linkages among public R&D organizations, industries and academia, as well as lateral movement of scientists/officials among these sectors. Mr. Tarar appreciated COMSATS’ role in formulating the draft ST&I Policy, and stated that COMSATS, along with COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), is an important resource for international scientific cooperation by MoST.
The Federal Secretary praised the comprehensiveness of the draft National ST&I Policy – 2011 as well as the inclusive procedure adopted for its formulation.