ISLAMABAD - A total of 532 students were awarded degrees in various disciplines during the 4th Annual Convocation of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) Saturday.

Among them included 76 under-graduates, 455 masters and postgraduates and one P.hD. Twenty students received gold medals in different disciplines. 

The students who won gold medals include Shadia Manan, Rizwana Hayat, Sadia Sajjad, Aamira Qayyum Qureshi, Shehroz Aftab, Quratulain Hamid Rehman, Mohammad Shazib Ali Khan, Mian Rizwan ur Rehman, Zojaja Batool Mirza, Hafiz Ateeq Ahmad, Shazia Nadir Ali, Muhammad Hassaan Sajid, Mubashir Hanif, Syed Asad Abbas Zaidi, Sara Kanwal, Sara Kanwal, Abdur Rashid, Murad Omer Khan, Madeeha Raza, Ali Moin and Zahid Rasool.

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Dr Fehminda Mirza, Speaker of the National Assembly Saturday who was the chief guest during the ceremony gave a loud and clear wake-up call for development of education fearing that the country would suffer badly if it continues to lag behind in this vital sector.

“If we do not anticipate the sporadic change coming to destroy the fine fabric we have built with lot of hard work, God forbids we may lose for years to come” she issued this caution while addressing the 4th Annual Convocation of SZABIST held here at Convention Centre.Ms Mirza was of the view that majority of the internal problems confronting Pakistan including the economic woes can be redressed only through knowledge and education. She said human and intellectual capitals are the real drivers of sustainable national growth.

She lamented that Pakistan spends only 1.7 per cent of its GDP on education, which is quite insufficient to ensure an ambitious academic revolution. “If we take the case of our neighbour s Bangladesh and India, they are spending much higher that we do on education and especially higher education,” she said Fehmida Mirza said given constraints and resource crunch, the country may not be able to achieve the MDGs by having literacy target of 100 percent by year 2015 and estimated that with the present growth rate, the country may increase the literacy rate by 58 percent by 2015. Addressing the students she said  ‘in all these realms, the academic institutions, being the breeding grounds of fresh ideas and thoughts, have to take a lead. The future belongs to you. You must, therefore, take the driving seat. Influence the mindset by your research findings and guide the nation towards a better tomorrow.

Chancellor of SZABIST, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said the institute will be upgraded, expanded and developed further to produce most qualified, knowledgeable and valuable human resources for Pakistan.

President of the institute Dr Saqib Razavi while congratulating the graduating students said that SZABIST is endeavouring to bring the students education par excellence that nurtures and prepares them to face challenges of the modern age.

Director SZABIST Islamabad campus, Syed Asad Hussain said his institution is striving to contribute the goals of knowledge-based economy by training and producing maximum number of entrepreneurs in a variety of sectors.

Vice Chancellor of SZABIST Dr Amanat Ali Jalbani and President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry Javed Akhter Bhatti also addressed the occasion and stressed the need for industry-academia linkages to promote knowledge based economy.