Page 1

SPOTLIGHT

December 2009

Department of Mass Communication, University of Karachi

Vol 1, Issue 2

KU is among world’s 250 top varsities: Dr Atta

“This was done by effecting a 6000 per cent increase in the science and technology development budget during my tenure as the minister for science and technology from March 2000 to Oct 2002 and later 2400 per cent in the development budget for higher education, which has risen from only Rs800 million in 2003 to Rs18 billion in 2008,” he observed. According to a top international journal, Nature, Pakistan offers a lesson to other developing countries that despite its so many problems like terrorism and other social problems, it has achieved wonderful progress in higher education, Dr Atta-urRahman said.

See next page

The foremost Pakistani scientist and educationist Prof Dr Atta-urRahman shared his views on various aspects of science education in Pakistan with a Spotlight team, comprising Maheen Haq, Naureen Aqueel, Fizza Hasan and Sadaf Hafeez, that interviewed him at HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry at the Karachi University Campus, recently. KARACHI: The University of Karachi (KU) has done remarkably well in the field of science, winning for itself a place in the world’s 250 best institutions of higher education, according to Prof Dr Atta-urRahman, eminent Pakistani scientist and former federal minister of education. Speaking to Spotlight at HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry, he said that thanks to the research work at this International Centre for Chemical and Biological science (ICCBS), the university had been placed at No. 223 among the world universities in the field of natural sciences by the UK’s Higher Education Times. “I am delighted to say that KU has the high-

est ranking in Pakistan and it is also at No.223 in terms of world ranking and this is something we should be proud of. These rankings are published each year in the UK by the Higher Education Times in the form of an index. So KU is doing quite well in the field of science but we should try to be part of the list of 100 such universities,” he said. Dr Atta-ur- Rahman said that the changes brought in the higher education sector in Pakistan in recent years had earned praise by international agencies, including the World Bank, who have called it a ‘silent revolution’.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY ON CAMPUS

KU among top

INSIDE

Pg 4 Pakistan’s hub of scientific research Pg 5 Promoting safe practices and technologies in diverse fileds

Prepared by: M.A. Final Year(Print media) class under the supervision of Mr. Najmul Hasan Rizvi


2

SPOTLIGHT

KU among top 250 varsities From previous page

The total enrolment in our universities during the 2003-2008 period had gone up to 400, 000 from only 135,000 between 1947 and 2003. Likewise, the number of universities and degree awarding institutes, which was only 58 in 2003, had multiplied to 124 in 2008, he pointed out. “The total number of international publications from Pakistan which was only about 500 in 2000 when I became the minister for science and technology, had risen to 4,250 when I left as chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in 2008,” he stressed. Dr Atta-ur-Rahman called for increasing the funding for university education in Pakistan as the budget of an average university in the country was only $3.5 million as compared to the universities in the US, UK and even in Singapore which had huge budgets. “In fact, we are spending too little in the higher education sector. We are spending less

“Funding needs a boost,”Dr Atta

than 2 per cent of our GNP in education .This compares with sub-Saharan African countries. Malaysia has been spending 25 per cent of its budget which works to about 12 per cent of its GNP for the last 30 years in education. This shows how far behind we are and the difference between US and others is increasing every year,” he said. “Within the education sector the international norms are that about 30 per cent of the education budget should go to higher education and 70 per cent should go to lower lever education. However, in Pakistan only 10 per cent of the total budget is going into higher education and 90 per cent is going to lower level education, so there are two problems: first, we are spending too little on education as a whole—only less than 2 per cent of our GNP, and secondly, within the educational budget the funding is distorted in favour of lower education and so this distortion needs to be corrected,” he argued. Dr Atta-ur-Rahman also reviewed the existing

‘Nishan-i-Imtiaz’ of Pakistan

Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman is the pride of Pakistan and the Islamic World. He is the first scientist from the Muslim world to have won the prestigious Unesco Science Prize (1999) in its 35 year old history. He was elected as Fellow of Royal Society (London) in July 2006 thereby becoming one of only five scientists from the Muslim world to have ever won this honour. Prof Atta obtained his Ph.D in organic chemistry from Cambridge University (1968). Earlier, he passed his MSc from the University of Karachi where he began his career as a lecturer. He has over 792 publications in leading international journals in several fields of organic chemistry, including 634 research papers, 15 patents, 99 books and 59 chapters in books published by major U.S. and European presses. Seventy students have completed their Ph.D. degrees under his supervision. He

infrastructure and facilities for the higher education in the country and the quality of research work at universities and other organisations. He said that with the return of a large number of Pakistani scholars and teachers studying abroad within five to eight years, the country would witness a sea-change in the quality of our ability to meet the aspirations of our industry and society. Following are excerpts from his interview:

Q. Are the new changes in the sector, more money, more universities and better opportunities for research at home and abroad, helping to produce the right type of scientists needed by the country?

A. Science education in Pakistan still remains very weak while the situation has improved because of improvement in infrastructure and improved research grants. But a university in not about beautiful buildings or beautiful instruments it is about beautiful minds, so uni-

has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees by many universities. Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman served as the Federal Minister for Science and Technology from 2000 to 2002 and as Federal Minister of Education in 2002. He was Chairman of the Higher Education Commission with the status of a Federal Minister from 2002 to 2008. The Government of Pakistan has conferred on him four civil awards, including Tamgha-iImtiaz (1983), Sitara-i-Imtiaz (1991), Hilal-iImtiaz (1998), and the highest national civil award Nishan-i-Imtiaz (2002). The Austrian government also honoured him with its highest civil award Grosse Goldene Ehrenzeischen am Bande" (2007). Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman is currently the Coordinator General of COMSTECH, an OIC Ministerial Committee comprising 57 ministers of science and technology from 57 OIC member countries.

versity education is about creativity and so in order to foster a culture of high quality science education you need creative faculty members and so the heart of a university is the teacher and that is where Pakistan has been lagging behind. We have about 17,000 teachers in our universities; but only about 3,000 have PhD degrees so most of our teachers are not qualified to serve as teachers. In law or fine arts it may not be necessary, but in most of the disciplines the PhD degree is the first step of the ladder. So, when I was the federal minister and the chairman of HEC my first emphasis was on selecting the brightest student through a transparent national test and then sending them aboard in very large numbers. I sent about 4,000 students abroad for the PhD degrees in different disciplines and they are now in theprocess of returning and they, Inshallah, willbring the good change. I hope that the gover-

See next page


KU among top 250 varsities From previous page

nment will continue the process. In order to attract the brightest young men and women into the education sector I changed the service structure. I wanted them to take up careers in education and research as their first option and not as their last option. So we changed the salary structure. We got in the new tenure system in which the salary of professors was raised to a point that it becomes five times the salary of a federal minister. When it was introduced they used to draw a salary of about US$5,000 a month which was at that time equal to about Rs 325,000 a month and the tax structure was reduced for all teachers from 35 per cent to only 5 per cent so that it becomes equal to a salary of about Rs5,00,000 a month. This salary in a country like Pakistan is very good and is comparable to salaries prevailing in USA and Europe. This has created a major change. The tenure system was introduced in most universities. The KU has unfortunately not adopted this concept and I hope that it will adopt it soon. In most universities which have adopted it, a number of teachers have been appointed in the new system. Q. There have been complaints lately about the shortage of research funds. If you think the shortage is genuine what should be done to meet this challenge?

A. This is one of the reasons I resigned as the chairman of HEC. The funds of my students had been stretched. There are 4,000 student doing PhD abroad. Because the scholarship funds were delayed I sent a message to the government to release the funds or I am going, and the signal I got back was that you may go. So I had to immediately resign. But I think it had a every good effect because after I left the funding got renewed and so I think that we are more or less back on the track. I hope Inshallah that the funding will continue for the higher education sector.

Q.Some people have expressed doubts over the quality of research work at universities and scientific research organisations such as PCSIR, saying the work involves only basic research or is a repetition of things already known, nothing new is being discovered. Research is not contributing something of benefit to society. What are your views on this?

“Quality education can help make a difference in socio-economic development..� Dr Atta

A. Actually it is quite a difficult issue. For research to be able to make a difference in the process of socio-economic development, first of all you need to have quality education and quality scientists. Unless you have that they are not going to make a difference. In a university or a research organisation, it depends largely on the calibre of the scientists who are working there. The industry does not have trust and confidence and I think that the industry is largely justified. Once the quality of research and education improves in the next five or eight years when these 4,000 students come back, there is going to be a sea-change, Inshallah, in the quality of our ability to meet the aspiration of our industry. This will happen but unless you have the people who can deliver, you can not go on just putting money. It is not the answer. You have to have a society where innovation and entrepreneurship are essentially integrated into the structure of society. But we have to have the knowledge, workers, environment and legal structure to promote innovation. You have to have the technology parks system where new start-up companies can be formed very easily and you have access to venture capital funding so that if a new entrepreneur needs money to start he is able to go to that place and get that funding. This system is in place in countries like USA and Europe so that the innovation can flourish. In Pakistan, we have not yet succeeded in putting this system in place and especially encouraging the private sector research and development. All these things have to come together before science can have an impact on socio-economic development and poverty alleviation. Q. What, in your view, is the difference between scientific education and research in Pakistan and that abroad?

A. I think the main difference between scientific education in Pakistan and abroad at the

SPOTLIGHT 3

moment is quality. The quality of work in a good university abroad is far far better then the quality of research in Pakistan with the few exceptions. There are some bright spots here and there and some good institutions but this is the beginning to change. With the advent of new bright men and women into the system, Inshallah, it will change more rapidly in the future. The graph is very interesting. I was at a lecture given by a Brazilian minister at a meeting of the Royal Society in London a few months ago. He displayed a graph showing how the publications had increased in Brazil from 500 to 600 per year to about 4,000 per year from 1960 to 1995, a period of 35 years. Pakistan has managed to do this in six years between October 2002 to October 2008. So we have done very well during that period but now I think we have to catch up with others. Turkey is well ahead of us with about 17,000 to 29,000 publications per year. Pakistan has been left behind every year. We are showing 50 per cent increase in PhD and research output. So things are changing very significantly but the challenge is whether we can maintain this momentum and continue to maintain it next year? We can do this Inshalah when we will change very rapidly. Q.7. What are your plans now after you have come back from the HEC. Their loss must be the academic world’s gain?

A. We have 350 students pursuing PhD in this institute in various fields of organic studies and pharmacology. I think that this is a very exciting place and I may be enjoying working here. I am also heading Comstech, a committee of 57 science and technology ministers of Islamic states. I have been the director of this organisation for the past 13 years and I am still doing the job, so I continue to shuttle between Karachi and Islamabad where its headquarter is located.


4

SPOTLIGHT

Pakistan’s hub of scientific research

Chemistry, was done in collaboration with Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) and Chandka Medical College (CMC) and was a five-year long research project. Industrial enzymes

The Department of Biotechnology is at present conducting research on industrial enzymes, including detergent enzymes. A team, headed by Ms. Shafaq Ayaz under the supervision of the department’s chairperson Dr. Mustafa Kamal, is working on replacing chemicals in detergents with milder components in order to reduce energy consumption. The sceintist’s lair: A laboratory at the famous HEJ Institute of Chemistry

By Naureen Aqueel

THE University of Karachi (KU) has become the hub of scientific research with the varsity producing 100 PhDs every year, 60 per cent of these being from the faculty of science, according to officials. The faculty is regarded as the biggest home of scientific knowledge in the country hosting 23 departments and five research institutes. However, researchers feel that the university and its departments lack a proper recordkeeping infrastructure from where information about various ongoing and past researches can be easily obtained. Prominent centres such as Dr. A.Q Khan Institute of Biotechnology and Genetics Engineering, HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry and Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicines and Drug Research are engaged in important research work on different subjects. Some prominent past and ongoing research activities on the campus are summarized below: Breakthrough in enzyme research

One of the most recent significant research achievements of the KU that came to public attention was the breakthrough in enzyme research at the Dr. A.Q. Khan Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (KIBGE). The institute was able to produce five enzymes of high industrial value locally which cost the country around $10 billion a year to import from abroad. The institute was able to get international patents for the enzyme producing strains and to establish itself to sell the processes to the industry provide them with technical support.

Allergic plants

A team of researchers from the Department of Botany, headed by Dr Anjum Parveen, has recently initiated a programme called, ‘Identification and Quantification of Allergenic Plants from Sindh’, which was sponsored by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). The researchers aim to identify and control the plants that cause lung and respiratory tract infections. Honey as natural medicine

In February 2009, researchers from the Department of Pharmacology unveiled that they had conducted intensive studies on honey and discovered that it would have therapeutic effect in case of inflammation, platelet aggreagation, blood coagulation and impaired glucose hemostasis. They also found that honey can prevent heart attacks as well as strokes (attacks of paralysis). The research was conducted by Dr Asif Ahmed, a medical doctor, who is working for his PhD under the supervision of Dr Rafeeq Alam Khan, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology. Breakthrough in leishmaniasis treatment

In March 2008, scientists from the HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry claimed that they had developed a herbal ointment for the treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis, an infectious skin disease transmitted by the bite of certain species of sandfly. The disease, which is considered a serious public health concern in many countries, is now endemic in many parts of Pakistan. The reseaech, headed by Dr.Iqbal Chuadhry, Director HEJ Research Institute of

Discovery of DNA sequences in mango

Early in 2008, a team of researchers led by Dr Kamran Azim, at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) claimed to have discovered more than 20,000 base pairs of DNA sequences of mango for the first time in the world. Research on drug resistance

The Department of Biotechnology is carrying out research on drug resistance developing in society. It seeks to identify drug resistant bacteria. HEJ INSTITUTIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS IN RESEARCH

Medicine • Discovery of Plant materials with pronounced anti-diabetic, anti-epileptic and cholesterol lowering activities. • Discovery of new inhibitors of clinically important enzymes, which can be used to stop the disease processes involved in the enzymerelated disorders. As a result, several new classes of lead molecules were made known to the world of Science along with associated understanding of their mechanism of action. • Discovery of a large number of fascinating molecules with potential therapeutic applications.

Transgenic Plant Technology • Production of ornamental plants using tissue culture technology. • Mass scale production of pineapple plants using tissue culture technology. • The use of DNA fingerprinting to evaluate the genetic stability of banana plants produced via in-vitro culture. • Establishment of model hydroponics culture systems for the cultivation of Pineapples. Source: www.pabic.com.pk


SPOTLIGHT 5

Promoting safe practices and technologies in diverse fields

through structured degree programs, and intensive training for professionals, academicians, and researchers by organising workshops and training courses. It also facil ities specially designed research projects in computers, hardware and software engineering, IT, telecommuniction software technologies, high-tech data analysis techniques and modern trends in CS/IT. DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY

UBIT-imparting quality education and research in computer science and IT.

Maheen Haq

A host of leading research institutes and department are offering research facilities in a myriad fields from soil sciences, good farm practices and smart food technologies to hydro-carbon exploration and software engineering. Some of these institutes of higher learning are equipped with state-of-the art equipment and facilities to help students in research work and obtain MPhil, PhD, MS and other degrees and achieve distinction in their fields of study. Here is a brief introduction of some of these selected institutes and departments and their areas of activity. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND AGRIBUSINESS MANAGEMENT

The Department of Agriculture and Agribusiness Management offers specialised courses in ‘Agribusiness Management’ and ‘Plant Protection’. The courses combine the study of agricultural sciences with the management skills providing an understanding and business principles and their application to agribusiness. This programme is aimed to develop a range of personal and transferable skills and critical appreciation of the techniques to assist effective execution of the agribusiness management function. It also has facilities for research on topics related to fields of entomology, mycology and plant pathology. DEPARTMENT OF GENETICS The department provides research facili ties to produce qualified food technology for food industries, teaching and research org isations and strives to establishlingthe teach ing/research institutions, government, compa

nies and consumers. Its efforts are aimed to preserve, process and manipulate the agricultural crops to avoid post harvest losses and introduce economical value- added food products for local consumption and export. The department tries to develop subject interest among the students through mutual discussions, assignments, quiz, industrial tours, and lectures and seminars etc. apart from routine teaching. It also helps to provide consultancy and advisory services to food industries, offer diagnostic analysis of food products and establish international collaboration with food science departments and food processing industries. This is done by exchanging students and staff and organising functions for creating awareness about the importance of safe processed nutritious food. THE DEPARTMENT OF FOOD SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

The department over the years has developed research in collaboration with universities in Germany, Britain and U.S.A. It constantly arranges workshops and seminars on food science. The department enjoys a very good rapport with both national and multinational food industries in Pakistan. There are five major laboratories in the department which are well-equipped . These include: Food Engineering Laboratory, Quality Control Laboratory, Biotechnology and Envronmental Analysis, Sophisticated Instru mental analysis, Packaging Laboratory.

THE UMAER BASHA INSTITUE OF TECHNOLOGY (UBIT)

The main objective of the UBIT is to impart quality education and conduct research in computer science and information technology

The primary objective of the undergraduate programme is to prepare students for the B.Sc (Honours) degree in geology. This comprehensive programme is designed to turn out students who, at the end of their courses of study in geology and related science, are competent enough to undertake work in the field and laboratories as professional geologist or to carry out further studies leading to M.Sc or M.Phil/Ph.D degrees

H. E. J. RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF CHEMISTRY

The H. E. J. Research Institute of Chemistry in Pakistan is functioning as a world class centre in natural product chemistry. With generous grants from leading development agencies in the UK, Japan, Germany, USA, and Pakistan the Centre has been transformed into one of the best facilities for research on natural product chemistry anywhere. All credit for its tremendous development goes to Prof Dr Atta Ur Rahman, the former director of the centre. The facilities include 12 superconducting NMR spectrometers (600 MHz- 300 MHz), seven mass spectrometers, X-ray diffract meters, FT-IR, elemental microanalysers, gas phase amino acid sequencer, gas chromatographs, HPLC systems, polygraphs and a considerable amount of pharmacology and pilot plant equipment etc. The instrumentation services are being made available to other chemistry institutions in the country, thus fulfilling a vital need. The Centre now serves as an international centre for training scientists from Third World countries. Several hundred scientists have been trained in the centre (including 80 German students) and over 60 joint research publications have resulted from these collaborations of his research group with scientists in Afro-Asia-countries and technologically advanced countries. The Centre was awarded the Islamic Development Bank Prize for ‘The Best Science Research Institute in the Islamic Word’ in 2004


6 SPOTLIGHT

Discovering new frontiers of knowledge

By Sadaf Hafeez

THE University of Karachi is a treasure house of knowledge with some of the country’s leading science scholars grooming a new generation of research students and budding scientists. Thumb-nail sketches of some of these research scholars, including students are given below:

Dr Shaikh Ajaz Rasool Serving the Department of Microbiology for the past 40 years, Dr Shaikh Aijaz is the most senior professor at the university and has served as the Dean of Faculty of Science and head of the Department of Microbiology. Born on February 28, 1947, he has a distinguished academic record. He did his PhD in bacterial-molecular genetics from Moscow state university and received post-doctoral training in England. Dr Shaikh Aijaz is a member of 20 academic bodies and has organised more than 70 scientific seminars and meetings. He has supervised a host of research projects involving many prestigious organisations such as ItlyPak Science Foundation, Pakistan Atomic Fnergy Commission, University of Karachi ONR (USA) project on marine bacterocins, etc. He won a number of honours and awards, including a British Council post-doctoral award (1990), Best Karachi University Scientist Award ( 1996), Best University Teacher HEC (2004), Meritorious Professor (2004), Lifetime Achievement award (2004). He was also honoured with the ‘Aizaz-e-Kamal’ Presidential Award for academic excellence in 2007. Some of his important research projects include R plasmid mediated drug resistance among bacteria, oxidative stress mediated DNA repair, Aids prevalence in Pakistan, Anti-HIV herbal drug therapeutic interve-

From previous page

Some of the departments in the Faculty of Science are:1. Agriculture 2. Applied Chemistry 3. Applied Physics 4. Biochemistry 5. Biotechnology 6. Botany 7. Chemistry 8. Computer Science 9. Food Science & Technology 10. Genetics

Karachi University Vice Chancellor Dr Peerzada Qasim handing a shield to Director of UBTT, Prof. Dr. S.M. Aqil Burney.

nions. Dr Shaikh Ajaz Rasool also supervised research of more than 50 scholars working for their PhD, MPhil, and MSc degrees. Ten scholars are now working for publications, including books, monographs and manuals.

Prof Dr Mustafa Kamal He is chairman of the Bio Technology Department which was set up in 1996 for the first time in any Pakistani university. The department is actively engaged in research involving industrial enzymes, lathes process enzymes, detergent enzymes, drug resistance and viral infections such as Hepatitis A and B. Dr Mustafa and some other scholars are working on these projects. They include Dr Saifullah Khan, associate professor, Prof Dr Erum Hanif, a lecturer, and Syed Haseena and Shafaq Ayaz Hassan, MPhil and PhD students.

Syeda Mariyam Sadiq A lecturer, is also doing research on detergent enzymes with Prof Dr Mustafa for her PhD. She is keen to do research on bacterial celluse later.

Dr Syed Asad Sayeed Born in February 1960, Dr Asad has distinguished himself by conducting important research in food sciences. He completed his MSc and PhD degrees at the University of Karachi. For his PhD, he worked under the supervision of Dr Attaur Rahman, then director of HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry. His research involved identification and characterisation of anthocyanidins of tropical fruits by using HPLC. Dr Asad has completed a number if research projects concerning industrial application, and analysis of contents and properties of various food items and fruits. He also contributed extensively to prestigious research journals and publications. Shafaq Ayaz Hassan A lecturer in biotechnology, Shafaq is currently working on her PhD and is deeply involved in research on industrial biotechnology with emphasis on thermo stable enzyme i.e. alpha amylase which is intended to be used in food, textile, detergent and fermentation industries.

Promoting Safe Pratices 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Geography Geology Health & Physical Education Mathematics Microbiology Natural Science Petroleum Technology Physics Physiology Statistics Zoology

The Arts Faculty Corridor.


8

SPOTLIGHT

Research grants awaited from HEC, says official

By Fizza Hassan

THE financial crunch currently faced by the science faculty for research projects is due to inordinate delay in release of the required funds by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and not because of any administrative lapse on part of the university administration, according to an official. “It is not our fault that science faculty has not received research grants yet,” said Deputy Director Finance, S.M.Gillani.

Talking to Spotlight about the researchers’ complaints regarding the non-availability of grants, he said that the university administration should not be blamed for the delay. It had been asking the HEC to release the funds as soon as possible but to no use.

“We have been regularly calling the higher education body but it’s been delaying the funds for a long time,” Mr Gillani said.

“That’s keeping us from issuing cheques to the science and pharmacy faculties.” “The research work is continuing anyhow and even if the work does not progress we can’t help it,” he added. According to reports, the Karachi University

Unesco Chair set up at KU

KARACHI: A Unesco chair for research was set up at the Karachi University’s Institute of Sustainable Halophyte Utilisation (ISHU) at a ceremony held at the KU recently. Described as the first Unesco chair on halophytes in the world, it is aimed at increasing efforts to develop halophyte farming to overcome worsening food, water and fuel shortages and increasing land degradation. “Halophyte species that grow in saline soil on brackish water can be used in producing fodder for livestock, edible oil and bio fuel as well as for medicinal purposes,” Dr M.Ajmal Khan, the director of ISHU, said. Scientists have been engaged in research for seven years and have achieved success in many areas.

Despite financial crunch, work goes on for research fellows

had received Rs790.038 million from the HEC last year against the proposed recurring budget of Rs 1,086.047 million for 2008-09. The science faculty, comprising 24 departments, did not get any allocation out of the recurring budget. The faculty also hosts 11 research centres and institutes who have their own separate budgets. Dwelling on the researchers’ problems due to shortage of funds, Shafaq Ayaz, a lecturer in Biotechnology department and a student of PhD, said that a small sum of money was released in the name of research and survey grant by the university. But it was meant for senior professors only. Junior teachers and students were still awaiting funds for their research proj-

PERISCOPE

ent species of the highly salt tolerant plant family. These facts were highlighted at a seminar, ‘Domestication of Halophytes: Necessity and Challenges,’ held at the KU’s Botany Department recently. Project Director Dr M.A. Ajmal Khan, addressing a select gathering, said the initial results at Gaddani were successful and the institute had recommended to the government to initiate an experimental farming of the halophyte species grass Panicum turgidum in a new area . PPERISCOPE

Seminar on Cyber crimes

Halophyte trial successful

KARACHI: A team of researchers of the Institute of Sustainable Halophyte Utilisation (ISHU), Karachi University, has successfully made use of a halophyte species, grown in saline soil on brackish water, as fodder on an experimental basis at a far Gaddani while further trials are under way to determine the other benefits of the differ

Kh. Mohammed Ali addressing the seminar.

ects. Another scholar said a research fellow has to apply for the research grant one year in advance. But the students, who had sent the summaries of their projects one year back, have yet to receive their grants. As a result, they are forced to use their own or their supervisors’ funds to continue with their work. Students have to buy chemicals and other expensive material for their research. These things are costly and it is very difficult for a student to bear the expenses without any monetary help from the HEC and the KU. But our students are doing it for the past one and a half years or so, said a disappointed research student. KARACHI: A seminar on ‘Cyber Crime & Associated Laws’ was held at Umair Basha Institute of Technology (UBIT), at the Karachi University, recently. Khawaja Mohammad Ali CISA, Regional Coordinator (South), National Response Center for Cyber Crimes (NR3C), FIA, was the keynote speaker. He highlighted the threat of cyber crime and the challenge it poses to the security of Information Systems and explained the existing framework of cyber laws in the country. Dr S.M Aqil Burney, Chairman, Department of Computer Science and Director UBIT, called for more aware ness programs about cyber crimes

HEC order for PhD research publication

ISLAMABAD: All the language journals placed in ‘Z’ category will now be accepted by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for publishing research work and meeting the quality assurance criteria for PhD degrees, according to a HEC circular. Previously, only ‘Y’ category journals were accepted for publishing PhD research work, but it did not include any language journal. All language journals were placed in ‘Z’ category.

spotlight  

second issue of the newsletter, Spotlight, taken out by the final year students of Mass Communication, Karachi University.