The science and technology makes the nations strong and secured. This S&T helped the nations win wars and stay ahead of enemy in defense technology. Pakistan National Security was threatened by the nuclear technology and secured by the same when Prime Minister Bhutto said “we will eat grass but acquire nuclear technology”.
The S&T father of USA, Dr. Bush wrote the same concept to the president of USA in “Science- Endless Frontier”. He said that USA and allies won war due to investment in science and better technology. The instrument of national security and competitiveness lies in uninterrupted policies and investments in science and technology.
The USA led the world in last few decades due to leadership in economics based on science, technology and innovation. The case of other leading countries also reflects that growth, competitiveness, security and development are backed by science and technology.
1. National Security Depends on Science and Technology
The human history is known for most unwanted phenomenon of wars. The innovative techniques, tools and instruments played critical role in national defense of the nations. The balance in war technologies help nations avoid wars and resolve conflicts through dialogue. Therefore nations invest heavily in defense related technologies and use them in civil purposes also by innovating new applications. We enjoy many good technologies these days earlier invented for defense purposes.
Pakistan invested heavily and uninterruptedly in defense related science and technology. Therefore Pakistan is nuclear power, competitive in many defense technologies and exports defense related products. The nuclear technology for defense was planned after 15 years of its early initiative. Pakistan started nuclear research council back in late 1950s and invested good amount in research and experimentation. This investment paid back to Pakistan when planned to use it for defense.
The civil use of these defense technologies is not explored nor exploited to great extent yet in Pakistan.
2. Food Security Depends on Science and Technology
Food security is basic need of every society. The food security is reflected by many indicators like supply of high quality economical food, disease free crops, high yielding varieties and sustainable food packaging. The countries invest heavily to ensure smooth supply of food to the citizen. The human history also traveled from stone-age to agriculture age. The human earlier learned to produce variety of food in varied seasons and weathers.
Pakistan is producing 11 million bales of cotton for last 3 decades due to innovation by a scientist of NIAB. Pakistan does not have policy to protect innovations of plant breeders and variety developers. The scientist and the institutions got nothing in terms of royalty or reward. The lack of S&T policy for IP killed the spirit of innovation in Pakistan in agriculture sector.
Therefore Pakistan is left behind in agriculture innovation in every aspect. We import agriculture machinery, variety, pesticides, fertilizers, seeds, and other value added processes. We import flowers and herbs to produce medicine.
Pakistan food security is at risk due to lack of S&T policy initiatives, less S&T investment and particularly S&T as least priority of Govt till today.
3. Health Security Depends on Science and Technology
The health security of a nation can be determined by its level of dependency on foreign sources. Pakistan imports basic drugs (APIs) from India, China and other countries. The problems in supply from one major supplier can lead to high cost of medicine. Pakistan needs to invest in science of medicine to produce running drugs and save foreign reserves of billions.
The new age of drugs is emerging around microbiology, biotechnology, marine biology and synthetic biology. Pakistan seriously lack S&T policies in the area of biology science, technology and industrial production.
Pakistan was dependent on others in health care solutions due to S&T negligence. Pakistan will remain dependent as lack of interest in S&T makes Pakistan unable to catch next waves of health technologies.
Pakistan is left behind in health tourism and should develop 1-2 medial specializations to attract patients from all over the world. Pakistan needs to invest heavily in science and research of universities and medical schools.
Pakistan invests heavily in cure side ignoring prevention and community health. This makes the Pakistan vulnerable for disease attacks. The focus needs to be shifted from cure to prevention and promotion of healthy life style in public.
4. Economic Security Depends on Science and Technology
The economic drivers change over the course of new inventions and innovations. Now we know that owner of an app can run the largest car company without purchasing a single car. The little chip maker can be more rich than a farmer of 1000 acres due to great factor of value addition and technology.
The largest economies of the world are tech economies. They have invested heavily in science to explore new patterns of nature. They produce more innovative products and solutions.
Pakistan has no choice but to prioritize science and technology to create innovative economic activities. The investment in science will help Pakistan to shift from raw material export to value-added export. Pakistan export chromite ore for Rs. 25000/- per ton. Pakistan can export dichromate for Rs. 125000/- per ton if required processing technology is developed.
The raw material economy can never be competitive nor can achieve high export targets. Only value-addition through innovative technology can ensure economic security of Pakistan. Pakistan has high rate of brain drain due to traditional economy. The investment in new technologies will create new ventures, generate employment opportunities and increase growth of businesses.
Pakistan needs required S&T policies to connect innovation with economics and provide enabling environment for science led ventures to grow and prosper.
5. Social Security Depends on Science and Technology
The adoption of new technologies, increased education, globalization and urbanization put high pressure on existing social values. The change in living style demands new rules of social living. The social fabric demands new knitting from regulators, policy makers and executors.
Cyber-crimes is one reflection of this new technology led social networking. The Govt investment is needed to formulate laws, develop new technologies and design execution to ensure social security of people. In the modern world, there is emergence of shared economy. People share homes, rooms, cars, offices, and many other private resources.
There is need of many new technologies to facilitate this sharing, ensure security and protect citizens from any possible harm.
The social sharing is another new phenomenon of human life where private data is shared through tools and devices. The misuse of data creates lot of social problems. A recent well reported incident of leaking pictures of male and female sitting inside the car by some employees of concern department created lot of social issues in the society.
The government needs to invest in data security related technologies to protect social life of people.
The speed of technology change is very fast. The countries need to invent, innovate, diffuse and reinvent continuously. The process is not possible without active and dynamic science and technology policy culture. The S&T policy creates an entrepreneurial state that pro-act for new challenges.
Pakistan S&T sector is salary paying machine with zero budget to produce any output. We have 300 S&T organizations having no connection with our export targets and economic growth.
At the moment, Naya Pakistan is without competent S&T minister, S&T adviser, parliamentary committee for S&T, parliamentary secretary for S&T or any other high powered S&T position.
The Government has setup a task force for knowledge economy headed by very competent scientist, Dr. Ata ur Rahman. He has revolutionized the higher education of Pakistan. The nation expect same role of his highness in S&T sector too.
Rahmat Ullah, Chief Coordinator, IRP , Secretary General, South Asia Triple Helix Association, Manager ORIC, UMT – email@example.com -0321-4917181