Rawalpindi - A total 2,820 graduates were awarded degrees, while 59 decorated with medals during 18th convocation of Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) on Thursday.

Fourty three graduates got gold medals, eight silver medals, eight bronze medals while 1,785 postgraduate, 1,000 undergraduate and 35 PhD graduates were awarded degrees. Two students achieved the gold medals sponsored by the Bank of Punjab while a student of Literacy Centre also got gold medal.

Federal Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed was the chief guest while PMAS-AAUR Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad, Pakistan Agricultural Research Centre Chairman Dr Yousaf Zafar, faculty members, and graduates were also present on the occasion.

Ahmed said that the adoption of modern agriculture accompanied by trained manpower would not only help improve living standards but also produce quality commodities for the international market. He said that there is a dire need to put in efforts in research-related activities and it is highly encouraging to know that this university has been playing its due role in this respect.

“We are living in an era of advanced technologies where life has become sophisticated and survival of nations greatly depends upon education and learning only,” he said. 

He advised the students to take lead in the practical endeavours with full zeal and confidence as the nation is anxiously waiting for the fruit of their hard work and dedication in the form of improved livelihood of fellow countrymen.

He lauded the idea of placing undergraduate degree programmes at sub-campuses while postgraduate studies at the main campus, saying that it would not only help facilitate the better management of students but also serve the students belonging to the underprivileged and marginalised segments of the society.

“It is an effort for the provision of higher education facility at the doorstep of the community at large in the entire Potohar region,” he said. 

He also congratulated the parents for the success of their children. 

Earlier, in his welcome address, the VC congratulated the graduates for achieving degrees and said that technological advancement and globalisation have led the mankind to complex living which adversely affected the docile cultural values. He advised that they must play a positive and constructive role for amicable resolution of food security, environmental degradation of agro-systems and extremism.

He pointed out that in order to cater the needs and broaden the scope of agriculture and allied disciplines academic programmes have been enhanced from 67 to 81 degree programmes at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level.

At present, he said the student strength has reached to 12,000 as compared with 6,000 in the year 2012-13. The academic structure of the university has been strengthened through the establishment of two new faculties including Faculty of Agriculture Engineering and Technology and Faculty of Social Sciences, the VC added.

He said three new institutes have also been established comprising Institute of Hydroponic Agriculture, Institute of Food and Nutritional Sciences and Institute of Geo Information and Earth Observation. He said that the discipline of criminology has been set up to provide the students with a proper understanding of nature and causes of crime and its evasion.

He said PMAS-AAUR is emphasising on pragmatic research with advanced farming techniques and paying due attention to cope with food security issues, acute shortage of energy and curb menace.

After the successful dissemination of hydroponic farming, Institute of Hydroponic Agriculture has been established by the gracious assistance of Government of Punjab, in order to assist our 95 per cent small farmers for not only producing quality food for themselves but also exporting it to other parts of the world,” he said.

Dr Ahmad informed the gathering that the varsity has also developed a state-of-the-art Biomass Energy Programme at the campus under Zero Solid Waste Campus. It is the most economical and simpler way of generating energy from any biogas waste, adoption of this technology at domestic level will largely address our energy issue, and also helpful in achieving the dream of “Green Pakistan.”

He said the educational lot and especially those in the agriculture sector need to increase their efforts manifold for enhancing productivity levels of milk, meat, vegetables, fruits and other delicacies apart from grains. The efforts are also being made to introduce food processing and preservation technologies so that sustainability of food supplies can be achieved and assured around the year.”

The VC lauded the contribution of the chief guest in the establishment of the sub-campus of the University in Attock. “Your contribution and a keen interest in patronising co-curricular activities for the students are highly appreciated,” he said.