Pakistan must continue S&T support
Pakistan's new leaders must build on Musharraf's foundations for a knowledge economy, says an editorial in Nature.
General Pervez Musharraf's nine-year military rule, which ended on 18 August, greatly strengthened science and technology in Pakistan with bigger research budgets, university-building projects and performance related pay for scientists — measures praised by agencies such as the World Bank.
Previous governments often treated science as a mere afterthought with poor budgets and no leadership. Now history seems set to repeat itself — there has been no dedicated science minister for several months, budgets have been cut and research projects are on hold.
Yet, a new non-military government could be stabler and stronger than those in the past, not needing to devote time and resources to keeping the military at bay.
And there is some hope in the form of a US$7.5 billion aid package from the United States, of which Pakistani officials would like 20 per cent to go to science and technology.