Aiming higher and higher, Dr Shafiq ur Rehman QAU


Islamabad: Quaid-i-Azam University has maintained high academic standards for 42 long years, which gives it an eminent position among the institutions of higher education in the country, says Dr Shafiq ur Rehman, the Registrar, in an interview with The News Tribe. 

Not only has it the distinction of producing 30 percent of civil bureaucrats serving the country but the university has also produced great scholars of natural sciences as well as Social and Biological Sciences, a fact that is acclaimed by the Higher Education Commission and other academic forums. The university had only few departments in natural and social sciences at its inception in 1965.

The humble registrar gives all the credit for the university’s success to his predecessors and says, “What we are today are chiefly because of the efforts of those who began this journey. It is due to the strong foundations built by them that we are able to rise at a fast pace today.”

 He said the university had added faculty of biological sciences and faculty of medicine, both of which are offering services to the relevant institutions of the country.

 When asked about the challenges faced by the university, Dr. Shafiq said these were the same as faced by other institutions of higher learning. But he said that all the decisions, whether relating to academics or administration, are made by the relevant statutory bodies. “We face all the challenges in this way. We believe that decisions made collectively are better and give lasting benefits. This enables us to face challenges without being daunted.”

 He proudly told The News Tribe that the university also worked to promote harmony among different ethnicity of the country, being a federal institution. He said that the university has students from all provinces, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and FATA. “We try to solve ‘problems’ through training of all these students.”

The university, which was founded by the Pakistan People’s Party’s founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, has set goals for itself and has comprehensive plans for achieving them. Shafiq, who is just above 40 but a grade 21 officer, said the university has started some programmes in the last three years which would be beneficial to the country for a long time to come. “Pakistan today needs better economists, better administrators and environmentalists. Besides, the common man needs counseling and advocacy services. We have begun programmes keeping in view these requirements.”

 He said the university also planned to introduce law courses and other disciplines as well, but these things would take some time because of the lack of funds. “When we will have enough resources, we will go ahead.”

 He rejected the impression that the country’s educational institutions were not producing good citizens and said students spent only six to eight hours in schools, colleges and universities. “They spend the rest of their time with their parents, relatives, neighbours. These people are more responsible for their moral training. The majority of mothers remain illiterate even today. But we hope that very soon there will be a change as today’s students become parents and produce a much better next generation.”

 Dr. Shafiq emphasized the role of media and said the television channels and newspapers must highlight the positive aspects of our society. “When I see the paper in the morning I see a number of positive news but only on inside pages. The outer pages are full of negative reports. This brings down the morale of the common man who reads only the headlines of the front page.”

He said the media must also show the encouraging trends in our society. “We used to have programmes for children on the radio. Today there is nothing for educating children from the media. If they realize their responsibility we can become a better nation.”