Reaching for the stars: ‘Muslim countries must step up scientific research’

Dr Attaur Rehman stresses for greater investment in science education. PHOTO: FILE

Dr Attaur Rehman stresses for greater investment in science education. PHOTO: FILE

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, KARACHI, 09th OCTOBER 2013: Former federal minister and renowned scientist Dr Attaur Rehman has said that the Muslim world is spending a relatively small share of its resources on development in science and technology as compared to other countries.

Even India and Israel spare larger proportions of their GDP for study and research in science, he pointed out, adding that there was improvement in the funding, albeit, only at a negligible rate. Rehman was speaking at the inaugural session of the Second National Conference on Space Science organised by the Institute of Space and Planetary Astrophysics (Ispa), University of Karachi.

According to Rehman, Muslim countries had increased the spending on science and research from 0.2 per cent to 0.8 per cent of the GDP in recent years. “Though the current spending is still very low, it is a promising sign for the future,” said Dr Rehman.

Rehman revealed that some Muslim countries were more active in scientific research. According to statistics, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan were doing much better than their counterparts in this regard. He lamented, however, that Muslim countries, despite having a lot of talent, were not investing much in the field of science.

The inaugural session was followed by technical sessions in which renowned academics and scholars presented their papers. Ispa director Prof. Dr Muhammad Jawed Iqbal told The Express Tribune that this was the biggest event related to space science in the country and was held every two years.

Prof. Dr Intikhab Ulfat of the Department of Physics, University of Karachi, said that the conference provided a platform to the academia and students to exchange their views.

Prof. Dr Jawaid Qamar, who laid the foundation of Ipsa in 1994, was of the opinion that economic prosperity in the Muslim world and other developing countries was only possible through science education with space science being given its due importance. He said that space science had applications in multiple fields, such as surveillance, communication and disaster management.

Prof. Dr Zakaullah Khan of Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology said that the conference had attracted space science enthusiasts from across the country.

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