Rawalpindi - Governor Punjab Muhammad Rafique Rajwana has urged the scholars, researchers and intellectuals to share a common vision to change calamities into opportunities and work hard to change the fate of poor farming communities.

Addressing the 17th convocation of Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) yesterday, the governor/chancellor pointed out that it is quite encouraging that this seat of higher learning is taking lead on the concepts of mountain agriculture and hydroponics.

He said, “The universities are known for knowledge creation and research plays pivotal role in the development of any institute of higher learning. I would urge to further the concept of pragmatic and applied research and prioritise the benefit of common countrymen.” 

The governor said that agriculture is the backbone of national economy and 22 percent of the GDP whereas 70 percent of labour force is associated with this sector. But the full potential of this sector is needed to be realised yet. “We have to pay attention on competitiveness of our agri-products to excel in international markets,” he added.

He lauded different projects and initiatives launched for capacity building of the students in the field of agriculture and allied disciplines that would not only lead to train the graduates but would also broaden the horizon of agriculture sector through value addition of farm produce.

He said that PML-N is struggling hard to steer the country out of crises. He said that armed forces have been battling with terrorists for bringing peace back in the country. He asked the opposition parties not to create hurdles in the way of development.

The Punjab governor congratulated the recipients of various degrees and urged them to put in their best efforts to bring the country out of vicious cycles of poverty and scarcity of resources.

“Pakistan is blessed with enormous potential and talented human resource and the time is ripe to enjoy the fruit of these endowed natural and strategic resources. You are currently under the umbrella of your parents, guardians, teachers and supervisors, now onward you have to play the role as guardian, teacher and supervisor and game changers,” he said.

A total of 2,360 students were awarded degrees in PhD, MPhil, masters, and undergraduate courses, while 55 students who topped the examination in their respective disciplines were decorated with medals. Forty-one graduates got gold medals, 7 received silver medals and 7 were awarded bronze medals, while 53 students got PhD degrees at the 17th Convocation of PMAS-AAUR.

Ambassador of South Korea Dr Song Jong-Hwan, Chairman HEC Prof Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, PMAS-AAUR Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad, VC University of Gujrat Prof Dr Zialul Qayyum, Rector NUST Gen (Retd) Muhammad Asghar, VC Government College Women University Prof Dr Noureen Aziz Qureshi, MNA Malik Abrar, MNA Raja Javed Akhlas and MPA Raja Muhammad Hanif were also present and they conferred degrees among the graduates. Senator Najma Hameed, Sardar Naseem Khan, Rahat Qudoosi, controller examinations, registrar, directors of campuses, directors of institutes, deans of all faculties, members of syndicate and academic council, eminent educationists, faculty members and a large number of degree holder students and their parents were also present on the occasion.

Ambassador Dr Song Jong-Hwan in his address advised the students to perform an active role based on their education and experience for the development and progress of Pakistan.

He said that it is a matter of honour for him to attend the convocation of PMAS-AAUR. He advised the students to help common man and poor segments of the society.

Earlier, in his welcome address Prof Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad gave a detailed briefing about the university, academic & research activities, prominent statistics and other related matters. He said with each passing day the technological advancement is taking place in various fields.

“Various myths and sayings about life so far you heard and learnt, would now be turning into feelings and realities. Face the challenges from the front and put your level best to achieve the targets. I am confident that you would be shining like stars of various fields and professions in years to come,” he said.

He said they successfully indigenized state-of-the-art Hydroponic Vegetable Production facility that is ready for adoption at large by the farming community at very economical initial costs. He said the efforts are under way to advance this technology to make it more feasible for common farmers and a reasonable experimentation is going on at the university research farm where remarkable success has also been achieved.

Earlier, the governor planted a sapling and inaugurated Staff Club & Sports Complex in the university premises. He also performed groundbreaking ceremony of the Institute of Hydroponic Agriculture and Aisha Hall, a block of girls hostel.