PROF Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, who as Minister for Science and Information Technology, did tremendous service to Pakistan, lamented during a lecture at the English Speaking Union at the week-end that the Muslim world has been left far, far behind in education and scientific development, and continue to groan under the fact that none of its member States won Noble Prize whereas England bagged these by dozens, 30 of them by the Cambridge University alone.
There were a mere couple of exceptions in Muslim States. Those winning the coveted honour, preferred to live abroad, rather than in their own country, which again was a matter of shame for all of us.
If called pride of Pakistan, it would be a mere under-statement, for as international celebrity, Prof Rehman has been lecturing world over at prestigious fora on scientific research, and winning accolades for being a treasure house of knowledge.
Being the highest decorated scientist of Pakistan, both from the government, and international organisations, he is an invaluable asset for the country, as one can only wish and pray that he is not thrown out in disgrace like Prof. Abdus Salam, the country’s first noble laureate.
He said countries, investing in education, and striving hard, like Singapore can touch envious mark of US$ 582 billion exports against a shabby comparison of just $23 billion of Pakistan.
China is yet another glittering example of investment in education. Figures were indisputable proof of that. It sent a staggering number of students for education abroad in 2015.
In corporate sector, big money is involved in research and development, Samsung cellular company dominating the world in that particular field, overtaking the Apple competitor.
Against that Pakistan’s total textile exports was not more than six per cent of the world trade in that sector. Modern world was progressing by leaps and bounds, while Islamic world kept groping in the darkness.
He took a legitimate pride in recalling that in his time in the government of General Pervez Musharraf, Higher Education Commission was established. Salaries of university professors were raised by 400 to 500 per cent, compared to that of federal ministers.
He said he resigned the office in 2008 when several thousand scholarships were stopped by the previous government of the Pakistan People’s Party. This was against his wishes, and philosophy to develop the education sector.
He emphasised that during his time, India was way behind in research publications, a fact acknowledged by Indian newspaper, and New York Times later acknowledged that the number of cellular phones rose from just 300,000 to billions. He also threw light on new scientific inventions whereby ageing factor can be reversed for human bodies, and kidney dialysis could soon be a thing of the past.
Eminent businessman and noted philanthropist, winning international recognition for his fight against polio in Pakistan, Aziz Memon, elected for the second term as President of EUSP, paid eloquent tributes to Prof Atta-ur-Rahman. Later another eminent businessman Kalim Farooqui proposed a vote of thanks for him, while Vice-President, Kader Jaffer, and others presented him a memorabilia for his lecture at the EUSP.