Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission

Ever since, Pakistan gained independence in 1947, it has suffered wioie_2872139cWpjHHRmth a sense of insecurity as it is bordered on one side by its arch-enemy India, and this feeling of insecurity led the decision-makers to strive towards a balance of power with India. Many of the country’s brightest and sharpest minds had put years of tireless effort into this endeavour. The work led to first the establishment of the Pakistan council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) in 1951.

Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech at the UN

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Dr. Ishfaq Ahmed: A love of Science for Pakistan

oie_2872139cWpjHHRmDr. Ishfaq Ahmed’s contributions to Pakistan are dotted with firsts. He, as the president of the Pakistan Atomic
Energy Commission, laid the foundations for co-operation between Pakistan and CERN in the Large Hadron Collider. He was instrumental in conducting the Pakistani Nuclear tests in 1998 as a reply to India’s Pokhran-II tests. He also created the first centre for Experimental Physics in Pakistan, the National Centre of Physics, in 1998. He has also been honoured with the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, the Hilal-e-Imtiaz and the Nishan-e-Imtiaz. All in all, it’s a wonderful career to have had. What comes across strongest in his career however, is not a drive due to the love of science, but due to a love of Pakistan. Continue reading “Dr. Ishfaq Ahmed: A love of Science for Pakistan”

When I Met the Scientist…

– By Osama Hasan

Meeting élite scientists of the country used to be an honor once upon a time, but listening to their life lessons became the better version of it. Fortunately, I had multiple opportunities to interact with a number of scientists and observe their behaviors, attitudes, point of views, and most importantly, to learn from their invaluable experiences. The special thing about their conclusions with life was that they were logically reasonable, very well established, and not based upon mere feelings or opinions. Here I give a brief account of what I learnt and from whom.

Dr. Samar Mubarakmand NI, HI, SI:

Dr. Samar Mubarakmand

I met Dr. Samar at his office in Planning Commission (Pakistan Secretariat) to interview him for SCME magazine Chimaera. In a more than two hour long interview, he enlightened us (the group of students) with many facts and incidents of his lifetime including the historic nuclear tests at Chaghi. He considers developing his substitute the most important feat in his life. In his words “I founded NESCOM, today I’m no more associated with the organization in the way I used to be, but the organization is running well. Likewise, when I retired from PAEC, someone else took my place…” and then came the strongest words I recall, “Our systems collapse when we stress more on importance of individuals and not organizations. It is the responsibility of every leader to prepare his successor and take a back seat when the suitable time comes.”

In a nutshell: Developing Leadership

Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad NI, HI, SI:

Dr. Ishfaq Ahmed

Meeting Dr. sahb at his residence on the bright sunny morning of 25th December, 2011, which also happens to be his wedding anniversary, is worth remembering. The warm welcome, the very affectionate hospitality, and, yes, the nostalgic conversation with repeated words “ye baat yahan se bahar ja kar nahi karni”. Narrating his life journey he mentioned that he has haemophilia i.e. his blood doesn’t clot in case of wound, and he was told that he won’t live more than two years when he was 25. The fun part was when we met Dr. Sahb he was MashAllah 82 years old and happily surviving. The lesson learnt is that one should not give up, no matter how worse the conditions happen to be. Miracles can happen but you need to continue your go.

In a nutshell: Do not Fear but Dare

Engr. Parvez Butt HI, SI: 

Engr. Parvez Butt

A few days before one national symposium in which he was invited as Chief Guest, I received a phone call from an unknown number: “Beta mein Parvez Butt bol rha hun, aap Osama baat kr rhe hein…” and with these words, I couldn’t feel the land beneath my feet. This was my first interaction on phone. To my surprise, Mr. Butt was interested to know the level of his audience to suitably decide his presentation at the closing session. He also discussed different presentations that he could deliver to know what which would be the most appropriate. Later, we went to his residence in F-11 to return his USB that he forgot at the symposium and were very warmly welcomed. He very well explained to us about good governance and made us realize that for a leader, it’s not just the performance of his team but also the prosperity of his fellow beings. “You cannot expect someone to give his cent percent if he’s worried for his family or promotion, anytime in life,” he shared. “When I was the Chairman PAEC, a naib qasid came thanking when his daughter graduated with an MBBS degree and started her professional career…. And his was possible just because the excellent governance systems for both the professional and personal growth of the individuals associated with the organization.” He also shared how a technician working at Guddu barrage was not promoted for nearly 22 years and the level of de-motivation among the employees there, when he visited the power station as Member Energy of the Planning Commission.

In a nutshell: Good Governance

P.S. I’m grateful to Tippu Iqbal for his very kind support, time, efforts, and company in meeting these wonderful people. Not to forget Usman and Zeyshan, whose company and post-meeting discussions I still cherish.

– The author is an alumnus of School of Chemical and Materials Engineering and Founder of NUST Science Society.

Pictures by Mallick Zeyshan Tariq @ Zeyshan Clicks

Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad (1930 – onwards)

– By NUST Science Society

Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad is an eminent Pakistani nuclear physicist. His contributions in nuclear and quantum electrodynamics are of meridian importance. He has been a vital individual for establishing research institutes engaging Nuclear Sciences in Pakistan. Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad is considered a pioneer, discovering the sustainable process of nuclear chain reaction which led to the creation of Pakistan’s atomic bomb.

Born and raised in Gurdaspur, Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad’s family migrated to Lahore after partition. He attended Punjab University, from where he completed his Bachelors of Sciences in Physics in 1949. He went on to pursue his Masters and completed it in the year 1951. Later, he went to Canada to carry out his research in nuclear technologies.

Dr. Ahmad has served as the head of Nuclear Physics Division at PINSTECH during the 1970s – the institute known to have developed the first designs of Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb. He also served as Chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission from 1991 to 2001. During this period, he was a central figure in Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Research Program and Nuclear Power Generation Program.

Dr. Ahmad is the proud recipient of three highest civil awards in Pakistan: Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Hilal-i-Imtiaz and Nishan-i-Imitiaz, for his contributions towards science, especially in the fields of nuclear, particle, and quantum electrodynamics.

His tireless efforts led to the creation of Global Change Impact Studies Centre in Islamabad where research on climatic change is being undertaken in Pakistan, an initiative of its own kind! Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad has also served as an advisor to Prime Minister for Strategic and Scientific programs.

From NUST Science Society