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Pakistan: Scientists urged to fight food, energy crises

22/11/11  nation.com.pk

FAISALABAD – Speakers at an international conference on Monday urged young scientists to come up with innovative ideas to fight food and energy crises that have been paralysing the life in the country.

They were addressing the inaugural session of the three-day 10th International and 22nd National Chemistry Conference at Iqbal Auditorium, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. Peer Meher Ali Shah from Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Mehmood Khan participated in the event as Chief Guest.

Dr Khalid Mehmood highlighted the importance of the discipline of the chemistry. He said that the current year was marked as International Year of the Chemistry by UNESCO because of its tremendous contribution to the development of the world. He said that chemical industry in the county was not up to mark and there were gaps that should be fulfilled by the chemical scientists with enhanced efforts in this regard. He stressed the need for strengthening ties between the scientists and industry by saying “the collaborative and trust building are essential for the development that must be cemented”.

He said that since 1947, the population of the country had increased five times while the agri production had also jacked up manifold. “But it is not enough, we have a long way to achieve the goal of food security and avert future challenges,” he added.

UAF Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf said that in every summit across the globe, the issues of energy, food security, water and biodiversity come into discussion, showing its importance to fight future threats. “These are the most important issues that must be addressed by leaving no stone unturned for the development of the mankind”, he added. Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf said: “In the future, the country would come under the grip of food insecurity. If timely steps are not taken, ever increasing population of the country would be looking for bread. Now the responsibility lied on the shoulder of scientists who have to work hard by introducing new varieties compatible to the changing climate.” He said that in industries, the chemists played important role so its scope was vital. “Chemistry is for life”, he added.

Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf lauded the role of the Higher Education Commission saying that it took many steps for the uplifting of the education sector that produced valuable researches for the every sector.

The Chemical Society of Pakistan Chairman Din Muhammad said that the society was actively engaged in solving the issues of chemists, industry, energy and food security for the last 43 years. He said that Pakistan had a potential of becoming halal food player in the world market of two billion people. He pointed out that with the effective management, the country could overcome the crisis of energy, which is lifeline to the industry.

Department of the Chemistry Chairperson Dr Tahira Iqbal said that the department has produced more than 2,500 graduates so far. She said that if the tangible steps were not taken to overcome the crisis of the energy, it could become a fancy tale of the past. It is imperative to overcome the issue in a bid to run the industry giving livelihood to tens of thousands of the people, she added. The chairperson said that the Department of Chemistry started functioning in 1973 and it was renamed in 2008 as the Department of the Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Dr JH David Wu from the University of Rochester, New York, USA told the audience about the Clostridium Cellulosome: A molecular machine for biomass degradation”.

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