STAFF REPORT IBD: The Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) has enhanced its membership when Turkey has recently become its 22nd member state.

The membership of Turkey  to COMSATS was formalized at a signing ceremony held in Islamabad last week. M. Babür Hizlan, Ambassador of Turkey to Pakistan, and Dr. I.E. Qureshi, Executive Director COMSATS, signed the accession agreement on behalf of their sides respectively.

Turkey has been associated with COMSATS since its inception through its Centre of Excellence in Turkey – TÜBITAK Marmara Research Center (MAM).

“Efforts were underway for the last couple of years to include Turkey as COMSATS member state, which included the visit of the Executive Director to TÜBITAK (the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) headquarters in December 2010,” said an official of the COMSATS told the media after the signing ceremony.

A network of 18 SandT Centres of Excellence and the ministerial-level focal points in member states formulate the two important statutory bodies of COMSATS – the Coordinating Council and the Consultative Committee, respectively, that work under the patronage of the Heads of State level Commission. Earlier, COMSATS had added/re-designated three scientific institutions in its Network of Centres of Excellence.

In his remarks on the occasion, chief guest Mir Changez Khan Jamali, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Government of Pakistan, said that the relationship between Pakistan and Turkey is firmly based on principles of mutual respect, economic cooperation and non-interference into the internal affairs of each other.

Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. I.E. Qureshi, in his welcome address recounted the efforts that led to Turkeys accession to COMSATS. He further said that it is a matter of honour for COMSATS to have Turkey as a member state. For Turkey, the excellent infrastructure and cooperation framework available in the form of COMSATS is another door to reach out to a group of 21 developing countries across three continents.

The Turkeys ambassador Hizlan also expressed pleasure at this development and believed that it would be of mutual benefit to Turkey, and other member states COMSATS.

Turkey has an advanced RandD infrastructure and rapidly developing industries relevant to information technology, space technology, machinery, construction, aviation, shipping and automobiles, and has a great potential to play a leadership role for scientific development of the South. COMSATS role as the facilitator of SandT-led cooperation, coupled with the SandT potential of Turkey, could more effectively help achieve its mission of South-South cooperation for the progress of the developing world.

Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Sector, on the occasion recalled her past and present association with COMSATS and considered it to be one of the most important forums through which Pakistan is extending help to other developing countries and in exchange benefitting from bilateral and multilateral cooperation. The government of Pakistan has always remained committed to support COMSATS programmes and activities, through generous funding of its Secretariat in Islamabad, she remarked.

The COMSATS under its approach to mobilize scientific resources for achieving sustainable and equitable development throughout the world, has always aligned its international programmes to support exchange of subject experts, faculty members, scientists, technicians, and students through holding national and international conferences and workshops, besides other activities.

Among others, Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar, Federal Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology; Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad, former Senior Advisor on Climate Change and Development at the Planning Commission of Pakistan; Dr. Javaid Laghari, Chairman HEC, and Coordinator General COMSTECH; and Dr. S.M. Junaid Zaidi, Rector COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) attended the signing ceremony.

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