KARACHI - Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed has said that the commission targets to setup one quality educational institution in each district by 2019.

“Now the time has come that scientists initiate efforts to reduce the suffering of a common man; The HEC has a lower budget than a single university of the developed world. HEC will fund in setting up of a new research centre of ‘Stem Cell Regenerative Medicine’ at the Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi,” he held.

He was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the four-day 6th International Symposium-Cum-Training Course on Molecular Medicine and Drug Research held on Monday at the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) University of Karachi.

Over 530 scientists, including 80 scientists from 30 countries, including Turkey, Iran, Italy, Nigeria, Greece, USA, UK, Germany, France, Cameron, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal etc are attending the international event, organised by Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), KU.

KU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan, and Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, former Federal Minister of Science and Technology, and former Chairman HEC, Chairperson Dr Panjwani Memorial Trust Nadira Panjwani, Director ICCBS Prof Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary, Engr Khalil Raza of ECO Science Foundation, Dr M Akhter Hamid of University of Toronto, Andre de Bussy, Counselor for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs, Embassy of France in Pakistan, Ingolf Vogel, Counselor Attaché Cultural and Economic Affairs, Federal Republic of Germany, and the Symposium Coordinator Dr Asmat Salim also expressed their views in the ceremony. The University’s Dean Faculty of Science Prof Dr Tasnim Adam Ali and other literary figures and social dignitaries also attended the conference.

The HEC chief said that the commission was dedicated with its roles and responsibility in raising a prosperous Pakistan through strengthening the basis for a knowledge economy.

The government is allocating a sufficient amount for the higher education sector as compared to some earlier funds’ allocations made in the previous years, he said and stressed upon the private sector to take part in the promotion of the education sector.

Talking to the media men, he lamented that Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST) was some of the very few Urdu institutions, but it was losing its significance.

He said that our research and academic institutions needed to translate their research work in favour of the common man. HEC and universities have started focusing on relevant research works having an impact in society, he maintained.

Prof Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan welcomed the national and international scholars to the ICCBS - University of Karachi, and said that the 6th MMDR will provide a conducive milieu to all the participants to exchange their scientific knowledge in the field of molecular medicine and drug discovery innovation.

Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman said that Pakistan needed a government that can understand the role of knowledge in nation building. The real wealth of this nation is its children or youth, he said and added that the country owned 100 million below the age of 20 years, which was a fantastic pool of men power. He maintained that as compared to rich natural resources, the young population was the real wealth of the country. In this knowledge-driven world, it is only those countries that are investing in their real wealth that are moving forward, he added.

Nadira Panjwani, in her address, announced that she would sponsor a new research center of Stem Cell Regenerative Medicine at the PCMD – University of Karachi. She appreciated the efforts made by the Director PCMD to nominate a team of PCMD scholars that would teach science to the students of the underprivileged areas.   

German official, Ingolf Vogel also announced that German government would also support any project which is in the field of virology. 

Prof Iqbal Choudhary said that there were two key strengths of PCMD, the first and foremost was the quality of PCMD students, while the second important factor was its constant pursuit to strengthen human capacity and infrastructure of the centre.