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Prime Minister Inaugurates Pakistan’s First S&T Park – The National Science & Technology Park

Prime Minister inaugurates Pakistan’s first S&T Park – the National Science & Technology Park
Taking a giant leap forward by leveraging its competitive edge in Engineering and Technology in Pakistani academia, the National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST) has set in motion its flagship project National Science & Technology Park (NSTP), which was inaugurated by H.E. Mr Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, at an auspicious ceremony held at NUST main campus here on Monday. Prominent dignitaries at the event included Federal Minister for Science & Technology, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Chief of Army Staff & Chairman NUST Board of Governors, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, NI(M), ambassadors of friendly countries, senior government and renowned industry representatives from across the country, and the Park’s local and international tenants comprising tech giants, high-tech SMEs and startups. Academicians, researchers and NUST students were also present at the event.
NSTP, a platform to catalyse the knowledge economy, has been launched under the overarching theme of "INNOVATE PAKISTAN" – a platform designed to synergise researchers, creators, investors, implementers and end users of technologies to transform innovative ideas into successful products and services, while promulgating a culture of entrepreneurship in Pakistan. The programme would augment the Government’s recent launch of “Kamyab Pakistan” programme aimed at development of national youth.
NSTP had received a great deal of media attention since the Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) gave approval to the university to initiate the process. An impressive number of national and international companies, including Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc, Hytera Communications Co Ltd from China, ABB from Switzerland, APIMatic from New Zealand, Rapidev from UAE, AlphaSquad, Jhpiego and Chemonics from US, NLC Smart Solutions, Graana Innovation Lab, Pharmatech Pakistan, and many others, have already joined the innovation ecosystem as tenants, while others are aspiring to. The tenants belong to 8 different thematic sectors namely Agri Tech, Auto Tech, Def Tech, Ed Tech, Energy Tech, Fin Tech, Health Tech and Smart Tech, all geared up to create and innovate in collaboration with their counterparts from different sectors, and benefit from the vast research infrastructure and expertise of NUST.
Speaking at the occasion, the Prime Minister commended the vision of NUST leadership for having planned and accomplished this much needed initiative. He, however, maintained that Pakistan currently ranks 105 on the Global Innovation Index, which is way behind our immediate neighbours like China, India and Iran, adding it was about time that we did something about it by taking initiatives on the pattern of NSTP – a project that is fully integrated with the Government’s vision of revolutionising the education and industrial sectors from the grass-root to the highest level.
He further said that all antiquated systems of economic progress have been upstaged by the new and enormously improved “Knowledge Economies” wherein any country’s economic substance and outlook are the sum of its intellectual capital, research and innovation prowess and edge in technological advancements.
The Premier also informed the audience that he had constituted a task force headed by Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, which would principally help enhance Pakistan's technological competence in the 21st century through capacity building and integration of the innovation systems. He highlighted the incumbent government’s “Startup Pakistan Programme,” which is aimed at generating 10,000 startups and engage 100,000 students in learning new technologies by 2023.
In his address, Federal Minister for Science & Technology commended NUST management on the inauguration of NSTP. The Minister said that technology-based initiatives are inevitable for the development of Pakistan’s economy. Highlighting some of the initiatives taken or being considered by the Ministry of Science & Technology (MoST), the Minister made special mention of the programme “Think Future,” which will initially focus on 7 key emerging technologies. He maintained that the government had also directed its focus on innovative technologies in biotechnology to ensure their tangible contribution to GDP. He further stated that the government was also making serious efforts to ameliorate the energy sector of Pakistan, adding Pakistan would soon be able to manufacture solar panels and lithium batteries. He also apprised the audience that government was looking forward to indigenously developing various vaccines, adding Herbal Medicine Park of international standard is under development in Jhelum.
Earlier in his welcome address, Lt Gen Naweed Zaman, HI (M), (Retd), Rector NUST, extended his gratitude to the Prime Minister for gracing the occasion with his presence. He also spoke at length as to why STPs are indispensable in this era of knowledge and innovation-driven economies. He particularly acknowledged the vision of COAS & Chairman NUST BoG, who approved this project and supported NUST through all stages from its conception to fruition. He also thanked the Federal Minister for his keen interest and support in this national project.

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