KARACHI - Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, former chairman of Higher Education Commission and federal minister for science and technology, has said that education, science, technology and innovation are the cornerstone for socio-economic development.

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He said that by focusing on these four key pillars of development Pakistan could convert its current economy into a knowledge economy.

He was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 3rd International workshops on X-Ray Crystallography in Structural Biology, held at the LEJ National Science Information Center, International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi on Monday. Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi and the International Union of Crystallography jointly organized the international event.

International experts, including Prof Dr Samar Hasnain from UK, and Prof Dr Richard Garratt from Brazil, and ICCBS Director Prof Dr M Iqbal Choudhary, Dr Sammer Yousuf and Dr Saima Rashed also spoke on the occasion.

Prof Atta-ur-Rahman further said that Pakistan needed to realise that the foundation stone for socio-economic development must be education, science, technology and innovation. The government needs to focus on education, he said. There are some 100 million youth below the age of 20 in Pakistan, he said, adding that this was a huge resource and if we could tap into the creative talents of this youth, then Pakistan could forge ahead at lightning speed.

Prof Iqbal Choudhary informed the workshop participants the international center was committed to send its scholars abroad for training in the field of structural biology. He said that, for this important workshop, the center had invited renowned structural biologists and chemists not only from other provinces of Pakistan but also from other countries like Prof Dr Samar Hasnain from UK, and Prof Dr Richard Garratt from Brazil to provide best basic and advanced knowledge and hands-on training.

Prof Samar Hasnain congratulated Pakistani scientists as the country got the membership as an adhering body from the International Union of Crystallography. He said the international center owned the remarkable NMR facility in the country. 

Prof Richard Garratt said that he was impressed with the progress that the ICCBS made during the last few years. This is my third visit to the international center, he mentioned. He hoped that this workshop would contribute towards enhanced knowledge understanding of use of X-Ray Crystallography in Structural Biology.