Pakistan to be made hub of knowledge & innovation: PM

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Aden - Yasmin Abdel Azim - Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the government was determined to turn Pakistan into a knowledge-based economy and innovation by utilising the energies of youth at proper platforms.

Addressing the inauguration of the country’s first Science and Technology Park here at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), the prime minister said increased allocation in budget for innovative knowledge would be his prime priority despite financial constraints to put the country on track of development.

The NUST Science and Technology Park is aimed at harbouring companies and start-ups in diverse areas particularly agriculture, health, automobiles and smart technologies and will act as a link between academia and industries.

Imran said Pakistan was the second youngest population in the world, which could do marvels if provided with right opportunities to excel.

He said the government would replicate more technology parts in the country to involve youth in the domain of innovation. He empathised meritocracy and accountability as vital ingredients of democracy, which he said flourished talent for the benefit of the country.

He said the societies that discouraged merit got ultimately ruined and mentioned the hierarchy of major political parties in the country where leaders were chosen on the basis of hereditary set up rather than merit.

Imran said Pakistan once a shining nation in the sixties in view of its performance indicators faced a downfall in later decades due to inefficiency of system and institutions.

The prime minister said caring for others was a quality that made a great human being and stressed using knowledge as a tool to bring improvement in the lives of others. He expressed satisfaction that NUST was progressing as an institution that encouraged research in modern sciences and urged upon the students to maximum exploit their potential by challenging themselves in the field of education.

He asked them to realise the ‘Cycle of struggle’ and never get disappointed by setbacks in life and always get back to their feet with more courage to deal with challenges. The prime minister also advised the students to study the life of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) as a great role model who established the State of Medina on the principles of righteousness. He mentioned that Muslims once had a glorious past for having scholars equally capable of having knowledge in religion and science. Federal Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the government was focusing on the sector of innovation, particularly expanding biotechnology in next 10 years in areas of medicine, herbal and food security.

He said the largest Biotechnology Zone of the South Asia would be set up in Jhelum with an objective to contribute 20-30 per cent of exports.

He called the need for a civil-military interface in science and technology for collaboration, where, for an example the drone technology used for military purpose could also be shared for agricultural surveillance. Rector NUST Lt Gen (retd) Naveed Zaman said the historic event of launch of the Science and Technology Part was a moment to celebrate the collaboration among government, industries, scientists and leaders of tomorrow for their common goal of achieving innovation. He mentioned that Pakistan for the first time joined the list of other countries in the region including China with over 400, Iran 43 and India 15 with technology parks. He said NUST stood 400th in world ranking, 83rd in Asia, 5th under 50-year-old and first in Pakistan as a quality educational institute. Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood, Minister of State for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal, Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and senior officials attended the event.

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