ISLAMABAD - The Institute of Management Sciences (IMS), Peshawar, and the Federal Urdu University won the 16th All Pakistan Inter-University Debate Contest, in English and Urdu categories, respectively on Tuesday. The final round of the contest was held at the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Secretariat in Islamabad.Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning and Development, was the chief guest on the occasion. As many as 30 contestants belonging to public and private sector higher education institutions from all over the country participated in the contest. Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, and the University of Balochistan, Quetta, stood second and third in the English category while University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar, and Government College University, Lahore, secured second and third position in Urdu category, respectively. The winners of first, second and third positions were given cash prizes of Rs.60000, Rs.50000 and Rs.40000, respectively.Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that the youth is Pakistan's real asset who always performs excellently whenever they are provided an opportunity. He asserted that it was need of the hour to spread optimism in the society as some forces are deliberately spreading negativity especially among the youth. "No doubt, our country is facing a number of challenges but I tell you we have the potential and resources to overcome all the problems and to achieve that goal, our biggest asset are the youth of Pakistan," said the Minister.Ahsan Iqbal said that the Government was committed to the promotion of education, particularly higher education in the country and in four- year time the percentage for education budget will be increased from two per cent to four per cent. "We realize that it is essential to empower S&T professionals. There is no denying the fact that real socio-economic development cannot be achieved until research agenda is linked to the economic agenda and needs of the society. We are making efforts to bring academia, industry and the government on one platform to link our research and development activities with the socio-economic requirements."Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC, said that Commission has undertaken a number of initiatives to promote extra-curricular activities at university campuses. He said that the basic objective of this contest is to promote communication skills and critical thinking of students, enhance their understanding of socio-economic and political issues as well as divert their energies towards healthy activities and creative thinking.The Chairman appreciated the government for increasing the education budget and for its further commitment for the upcoming year. "HEC stands committed to achieve its targets and further strengthen the universities of Pakistan so that these institutions play an effective role in country's development.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 30-Apr-2014 here.