KARACHI - The chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr Mukhtar Ahmed has said that Pakistani universities are among top 300 Asian universities.

“HEC is trying to improve quality of higher education in the country and help local educational institutions to improve their rankings. National University of Science and Technology (Nust) has been ranked among the top 500 universities of the world”, he said while speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the of the four-day 5th International Symposium-Cum-Training Course on Molecular

Medicine and Drug Research (MMDR-5) held on Monday at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi. An ICCBS statement said over 350 scientists, including 60 scientists from 28 countries, were attending the international event, organised by Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), KU.

The HEC chief said although Pakistan was passing through a crucial time, scientific activities were continuing in the country, adding that Pakistan was a peace-loving country. He said the international delegates came to Pakistan with negative image of the country but when they go back to their homes they changed their perspective.

The increasing numbers of research papers annually, quality of education and international ranking of institutions reveals that the country owns essentially positive activities.   

Prof Dr Qaiser said the PCMD was playing pivotal role in the field of molecular medicine and drug research. This is highly appreciable that the galaxy of the scientists have come to the university from abroad despite the country is facing worst law and order situation; this was an extraordinary opportunity for young scientists to learn from the vast experience of these scientists, he maintained.

Prof Dr Attaur Rehman said the progress of any country depended on the positive polices and priorities of the government. He reminded the audience about the initiatives in the field of higher education taken by HEC in its earlier days, and said that Pakistan had only 57 universities in 2001, now this figure reached to 160. He said that about 0.25 million students were enrolled in the varsities when HEC had started its journey but now that numbers crossed 1.3 millions.

Now Pakistani scholars produce 10,000 papers annually, which were 700 papers per annum in 2001, he said and added that today the country produces 1,000 PhDs annually while it was 200 per annum.

ICCBS Director Prof Dr Iqbal Chaudhry said the aim of the event was to develop understanding and appreciation of this emerging field (Molecular Medicine and Drug Research) in Pakistan, to bring together the leading experts in the field of molecular medicine from all around the world. He said Pakistan was the only country that owned 100 million young people in its total population. As compare to rich natural resources, the young population is the real wealth of the country, he added.

Senator Abul Haseeb Khan, Chancellor Hamdard University Ms Sadia Rashid, Managing Trustee Muhammad Hussain Panjwani Memorial Trust Nadira Pujwani, Dr Asmat Saleem and other dignitaries also attended the event.