ISLAMABAD - Research and development organisations across Pakistan, that are supposed to promote applied research and act as an engine for economic growth and socio-economic development, are doing nothing as they themselves are rudderless and functioning in their individual capacity.
Almost all research and development (R&D) organisations with millions of rupees allocations have been headless for different periods of time. As many as 15 organisations working under the Ministry of Science and Technology and of them 11 R&D organisations are just addressing routine affairs of their employees with no new projects, policies and vision. And regrettably the ministry has not been able to move any summary or proposal to fill the vacant posts yet. Deputationists or junior officials given acting charge have been running the organisations, who lack relevant qualifications and expertise.
The posts of Director Generals (DGs) of National Institute of Electronics (NIE), Islamabad, and National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Karachi, are vacant for the last four years and junior officers have been given charge to run day-to-day affairs. There is no regular DG of the Center for Applied Molecular Biology (CAMB), Lahore, and a deputationist has been appointed for the last three years as DG. The look-after charge of Pakistan Council for Science and Technology (PCST), Islamabad, has been given to a professor from Balochistan, Prof. Dr. Mudassir Asrar, for the last two years.
The Pakistan Council for Renewable Energy Technologies (PCRET), Islamabad, Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC), Islamabad, Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), Karachi, and Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), Islamabad, are also overseen by acting DGs/chairman for over a year. Dr. Khalil Ahmad Ibupoto from Sindh Agriculture University who was appointed as Member Science at PSF on deputation has also been given the look-after charge of chairman against the rules.
The Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), Islamabad, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Islamabad, and Council for Works and Housing Research (CWHR), Karachi, are also without regular heads since October. Pir Bakhsh Jamali who has been heading PSQCA and CWHR is a relative of former Minister for Science and Technology Mir Changez Khan Jamali. The poor salary structure and internal politics of organisations have thwarted the induction of fresh and qualified people in the scientific organisations.
And those who are appointed for temporary period rarely take interest in the work and just kill the time, said a ministry official. “The post of Chairman, the offices of Member Finance and other lower grades at PSF either have been laying vacant or filled by deputationists or acting officials who don’t have interest and relevant expertise to run a scientific organisation and such practices have been damaging the quality of work and environment of the organization,” he added.
According to a PSF official, recently the PSF had organised declamations and other competitions of school children and instead of involving government schools’ children private schools were engaged and the judges were also not from the relevant fields and nobody had objected to such a wrong practice done by none other than the PSF top man. When contacted the Ministry PRO Zahidullah Khan for comment over the prevailing situation in these R&D organizations could say that the process was being initiated for regular appointments.