Gains from Science and Technology should grow exponentially to benefit nations, especially through commercialization of research. Pakistan and other developing countries need to make concerted efforts in this regard to aid their development process.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Shibli Faraz, expressed his vision and advised on key matters relating to S&T-led national development during a visit to the Secretariat of Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS), Islamabad. Apart from the Federal Secretary MoST, Dr. Akhtar Nazir, who is also the incumbent Executive Director COMSATS, the Minister was accompanied by Additional Secretary MoST, Maj. Qaiser Majeed Malik.
During the meeting, the officials of the Ministry received briefing on COMSATS and its functions and role as intergovernmental organization of the countries of the South. The presentation was given by senior officials of COMSATS Secretariat. The briefing thoroughly introduced COMSATS as an international organization focused at S&T-led development. The high-level delegation was informed about COMSATS’ mandate and mission; statutory bodies and forums; engagements of the Secretariat; flagship projects; international programs and activities; outreach mechanisms and publications. Post briefing discussions focused at bringing efficacy and efficiency in COMSATS’ programs and operations. In this context, matters related to establishment, administration and finances received greater attention. An overview of COMSATS’ financial position was given by Director Finance who also made key recommendations to improve the current position of COMSATS. The case of COMSATS Internet Services (CIS), established in 1996, also came under microscopic view, and a strong need was felt by the Ministry leadership to take radical measures to turnaround this pioneer internet service provider (ISP) of Pakistan. The recommendations made by the senior officers also addressed improving financial control mechanism at CIS.
Pakistan, as a member state has been the biggest beneficiary of COMSATS’ programs and activities especially because the organization’s Secretariat is based in the country. Moreover, it was hoped that scientific organizations under Ministry of ST will extend their support for COMSATS while also benefitting from its international linkages.
Receptive of the inputs from COMSATS’ officials, the Federal Minister and Federal Secretary appreciated the role of COMSATS as an IGO and expressed the need for re-thinking strategies for achieving COMSATS’ international mandate and gave prudent advice on key matters. The Minister recognized COMSATS’ role as a key regional player in S&T arena. He hoped to see its activities aligned with national development agenda of Pakistan through applied R&D and commercialization and monetization of the research outputs, in addition to finding innovative solutions to national challenges.
Dr. Nazir, who also chairs one of COMSATS’ statutory organs in his ex-officio capacity, noted that international S&T organizations including those based in Pakistan have a long way to go for adapting to the needs of 21st century that it has presented in the last two decades. He hoped COMSATS is cognizant of this need and will make leaps in this direction in the coming years.