KARACHI  -   Prominent Pakistani scientist Prof Dr Viqar Uddin Ahmad, who served science and research in Pakistan for more than 50 years, died at the age of 79 in Karachi on Saturday morning.

He had been unwell for the last one month mainly because of old age and weakness. He was born in Allahabad, India, July 6, 1940. He passed his M.Sc. examination in 1959 from Allahabad University. He also stood first in his class for which he was awarded a gold medal by his Alma Mater. Prof Ahmad was the first person to be awarded PhD degree in chemistry from Karachi University in 1966 under supervision of the legendary Pakistani scientist Prof Dr Saleemuzzaman Siddiqui. Later, he was awarded the doctorate degree from the University of Bonn in West Germany in 1968. He was awarded DSc degree by the University of Karachi in1992.

In his condolence message, Prof Dr Khalid Iraqi, Vice Chancellor of the University of Karachi, expressed grief over the death of leading Pakistani scientist and termed the demise a national loss not only for the University but also for the nation.

Paying tribute to the remarkable services of the late scientist, Prof Atta-ur-Rahman, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Science and Technology and patron-in-chief of the ICCBS, said that Prof Ahmad was an outstanding scientist who made tremendous contributions in the field of natural product chemistry.

“We spent about 50 years together as colleagues and published many important research papers together,” he said.

Prof Ahmad contributed to the development of alkaloid, terpenoid and carbohydrate chemistry. His services for the promotion of science and research for the country would always be remembered, Prof Atta said, and prayed for peace for his departed soul.

In his message, Prof Dr M Iqbal Choudhary, director at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi, said that Prof Ahmad was a truly great scientist whose contributions in the field of chemistry will ever be remembered.

Prof Iqbal Choudhary prayed for a special place in heaven to the soul of the late professor. He also prayed for patience to the members of bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss with calmness.

Prof Viqar Uddin Ahmad had been awarded various national and international awards in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the field of chemistry. He was awarded two gold medals by the Pakistan Academy of Sciences for his outstanding work in the chemistry of natural products. Furthermore he received the much coveted “Scientist of the Year” cash award and the Prime Minister Gold Medal for the year 1986, and first prize in Chemistry by the National Book Council of the Government of Pakistan in 1990.

He also received Sitara-i-Imtiaz from the President of Pakistan on 23th March, 1996. He was also awarded with the Kharazmi Prize by the President of Iran on the 4th February, 1998 in Tehran, Iran. He has been awarded DuPont Science Cash Award in Chemistry, 2003 and was also appointed “Distinguished National Professor” by the Higher Education Commission, Islamabad in March, 2004. The civil award Hilal-i-Imtiaz was also awarded to him by the President of Pakistan on 23rd March, 2006. He was also awarded HEC Outstanding Research Award for the year 2005-06.

He had been elected as a Fellow of various organization including, the Third World Academy of Sciences, Pakistan Academy of Sciences and Chemical Society of Pakistan. He held the charge of Co-Director of HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry from 1990 to 1999. On the 19th March, 1994, he was appointed Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Karachi, a post which he held until his retirement on the 5th July, 2000. On 12th July, 2000 he was reappointed as Professor in HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry of the University of Karachi. According to the booklet “Productive Scientists of Pakistan”, published by Pakistan Council for Science & Technology (2011) Prof Viqar Uddin Ahmad has been ranked third most productive scientist of Pakistan.

Prof Ahmad owned more than 511 research papers in various national and international journals of repute. He also owned more than 600 impact factor and 3512 citation. He was also the author of eight published books. Prof Ahmad supervised research of fifty-two PhD students and four MPhil students who have received their degrees. He was the Editor of the Journal of Chemical Society of Pakistan. He was also an elected member of the Council of Pakistan Academy of Sciences.

Prof Ahmad has discovered a large number of new, biologically active natural products from the medicinal plants of Pakistan and determined their structures. They have the potential of being used as drugs for treatment of various human and animal diseases.

The funeral prayers of the deceased professor was held after Asr prayers at the Moti Mosque, situated in Kehkashan, Clifton Block -8 and were attended by a large number of people.