– Contributed by Osama Hasan, BE Chemical ’12, School of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Pakistan Academy of Sciences is a non-governmental and non-political, supreme scientific body of distinguished scientists in the country. The Government of Pakistan has given consultative and advisory status to the Academy on all problems relating to development of scientific efforts in the country, and generally on such matters of national and international importance in the field of science that may be referred to the Academy. Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman FRS, NI, HI, SI is leading the Academy as President in his second tenure.
Although the Academy was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Khwaja Nazimuddin, during the fifth Pakistan Science Conference at Lahore on 16th February 1953, but the idea of establishing Pakistan Academy of Sciences was mooted at the first National Educational Conference held at Karachi in November 1947. Nine senior and eminent scientists were elected as Foundation Fellows of the proposed Academy. These included: Prof. M. Afzal Hussain, Dr. Nazir Ahmad, Prof. Dr. Bashir Ahmad, Prof. Dr. Salimuzzaman Siddiqui, Prof. Dr. M. Raziuddin Siddiqi, Dr. M. Sharif, Prof. Dr. M. Qudrat-i-Khuda, Prof. Dr. Hamid Khan Bhatti and Dr. M. Ishaque. Prof. M. Afzal Hussain served as the first President and Dr. M. Raziuddin Siddiqi as Secretary of the Academy.
Mandate and Activities:
Academy promotes higher studies and research in pure and applied sciences and to disseminate scientific knowledge, while formulating standards of scientific effort and achievement and to recognize outstanding contributions to the advancements in science, in Pakistan. It also publishes and assists in publication of scientific Proceedings, Journals, Transactions, Monographs, Books, and other scientific literature; while awarding grants, scholarships, fellowships, prizes, and medals for scientific research. It also establishes and maintains association and relations among Pakistani scientists and international groups and unions of scientists, organizes meetings, and coordinates scientific activities of Pakistani and overseas scientists. It also upholds its advisory and consultative status with the Ministries and Divisions of Government dealing with scientific and technical matters, and to represent scientific work of Pakistan internationally.
Fellowship of the Academy is restricted to scientists who have made extraordinary contributions to advancement of scientific research, education, and knowledge. The scientists are chosen by voting and their status of achievements. This enables the Academy to be regarded as a repository of highest scientific talent available in the country.
The Academy consists of Foundation Fellows, Fellows, and Foreign Fellows. Foundation Fellows are persons borne on the Register of the Academy as Fellows immediately prior to the coming in force of the Charter of the Academy. Fellows are Pakistani Scientists eminent for their original contributions to science, who are elected according to the procedure laid down in Bye-Laws. Not more than five Fellows may be elected in any one year until the total number of Fellows reaches the limit of one hundred. Foreign Fellows are scientists who are nationals of countries other than Pakistan and who are eminent for their contributions to science and who are elected according to the procedure laid down in Bye-Laws. Not more than three Foreign Fellows may be elected in any one year until the total number of Foreign Fellows reaches the limit of thirty.
About 60% of the Fellows have received prestigious civil awards, viz., Nishan-i-Imtiaz, Hilal-i-Imtiaz, Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam, Sitara-i-Khidmat, Pride of Performance, Tamgha-i-Pakistan, Tamgha-i-Imtiaz and Tamgha-i-Quaid-i-Azam from the President of Pakistan, for their contributions to the cause of science at national and international levels. From NUST, Dr. Asghari Maqsood (SCME) and Dr. Asghar Qadir (CAMP) are academy fellows.
“Proceedings of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences” is an official journal of the Academy, published quarterly. It publishes original research papers in Engineering Sciences & Technology, Life Sciences, Medical Sciences, and Physical Sciences. State-of-the-art reviews (~20 pages, supported by recent references) summarizing R&D in a particular area of science, especially in context of Pakistan, and suggestions for further R&D are also considered for publication. Manuscripts undergo double-blind review. Authors are not required to be Fellows or Members of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences or citizens of Pakistan.
Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, has been providing grant-in-aid regularly to the Academy to carry out scientific activities, since its inception. Occasionally, the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of Pakistan, has helped the Academy financially. The Fellows also voluntarily make annual contributions to the Academy. Besides, the Academy receives yearly grants from Higher Education Commission, Islamabad; Pakistan Science Foundation, and Hamdard Foundation, Karachi. Management of funds of the Academy is under the control of a full-time Treasurer, who receives and holds all money paid to the Academy for its use, disburses all sums due from the Academy, and keeps proper accounts of all such receipts.
The Academy is housed in a magnificent edifice on Constitution Avenue in vicinity of Pakistan Science Foundation and PCSIR Head Office.