Islamabad - Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurating the first National Science and Technology Park of the country on Monday vowed transforming Pakistan into a knowledge based economy by equipping the youth with the latest technologies.

The flagship project of the National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST) would augment the recently launched “Kamyab Pakistan” programme of government which aims at development of youth. NUST is among top 400 universities of the world.

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who is also chairman of NUST Board of Governors (BoG), received prime minister on his arrival at the university. PM also visited Research and Development Centres established by China and Turkey at the National Science and Technology Park (NSTP).

The prime minister commended the vision of NUST leadership for having planned and accomplished this much needed initiative. He also appreciated Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa for always giving special importance to education.

Federal ministers, ambassadors of friendly countries, Rector NUST, senior government and renowned industry representatives from across the country, and the Park’s local and international tenants comprising tech giants, high-tech SMEs and startups were also present at the occasion.

Premier appreciates NUST BOI chairman Gen Bajwa for giving special importance to education

NSTP being first of its kind in Pakistan is a platform to catalyse the knowledge economy, has been launched under the overarching theme of “INNOVATE PAKISTAN” – a platform designed to synergise researchers, creators, investors, implementers and end users of technologies to transform innovative ideas into successful products and services, while promulgating a culture of entrepreneurship in Pakistan.

In his address, the prime minister said that all antiquated systems of economic progress have been upstaged by the new and enormously improved “Knowledge Economies” wherein any country’s economic substance and outlook are the sum of its intellectual capital, research and innovation prowess and edge in technological advancements.

“Government will give special emphasis to the science and technology, education and future technologies to unleash the potential of the youth,” he vowed. The government would establish more technology parks in the country to involve youth in the domain of innovation, he added.

The PM maintained that despite financial constraints, increased allocation in budget for innovative knowledge would be his prime priority, as his government aimed at transforming the country into a knowledge based economy by utilizing the energies of youth at proper platforms.

Imran Khan maintained that Pakistan currently ranks 105 on the Global Innovation Index, which was way behind its immediate neighbours like China, India and Iran. “It was about time that we did something about it by taking initiatives on the pattern of NSTP – a project that is fully integrated with the government’s vision of revolutionising the education and industrial sectors from the grass-root to the highest level.”

The premier informed the audience that he had constituted a task force headed by Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, which would principally help enhance Pakistan’s technological competence in the 21st century through capacity building and integration of the innovation systems. He also highlighted the incumbent government’s “Startup Pakistan Programme,” which is aimed at generating 10,000 startups and engage 100,000 students in learning new technologies by 2023.

He emphasized 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.

PM Khan 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 realize 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.

Referring to the philanthropy of Bill Gates, Imran Khan said he is a great man who is spending his money for the welfare of humanity. He said Gates is also providing funds to Pakistan for polio eradication.

Federal Minister for Science & Technology Fawad Chaudhry in his address also commended NUST management on the inauguration of NSTP. The minister said that technology-based initiatives are inevitable for the development of Pakistan’s economy.

Highlighting some of the initiatives taken or being considered by the Ministry of Science & Technology (MoST), the Minister made special mention of the programme “Think Future,” which will initially focus on 7 key emerging technologies.

He maintained that the government had also directed its focus on innovative technologies in biotechnology to ensure their tangible contribution to GDP.

He further stated that the government was also making serious efforts to ameliorate the energy sector of Pakistan, adding Pakistan would soon be able to manufacture solar panels and lithium batteries.

He also apprised the audience that government was looking forward to indigenously developing various vaccines, adding Herbal Medicine Park of international standard is under development in Jhelum.