Science like every other part of our culture is shaped and driven by economic, political and religious interests. While scientists pursue knowledge out of pure intellectual curiosity, yet they rely on financial and moral support from institutions that deal with the channeling of the said resources. Furthermore, as history stands, political and economic stability has always been at the forefront of real progress and growth in science and technology. Scientists rarely dictate their own agenda. On the contrary, the scientific landscape is observing unprecedented growth, for which the seed was sown by a scientist leader, having a firm understanding of the socio-political and economic aspects of scientific progress. Objectively speaking, Dr. Faisal laid the milestone of establishing science on a firm basis, starting in Peshawar KP, as one aspect of his Peshawar 2.0 plan. Peshawar 2.0 aims to turn Peshawar into a city of art, design, and technology. Here we shall only explore how biosciences secured standing in KP, specifically biotechnology due to its interdisciplinary nature_ and inspired others to follow suit. 

              Biosciences in KP first came to spotlight, with the introduction of Bioentreprenuership course at the University of Peshawar, with an aim to bring together academia, the business community, and government, to fulfill each other’s vital interests. Though not anymore in the spotlight, yet the alumni are still actively leading the community as change-makers. Later, in 2016 and 2017, once again Pakistan was represented in the mammoth synthetic biology competition IGEM, in Boston, USA. The event got media coverage, and applaud from the then KP govt, as political leadership tweeted the results. The participation since has halted yet the IGEM Peshawar Alumni are still actively working across the country, to solve one problem, “the representation of the non-represented to establish a culture of science and technology on firm grounds in the country.”

         This month was a converging point and full of such activities, high time for KP’s scientific community. The young leaders could be found representing Pakistan in the yearly biology mass conference, Biosummit, with talks ranging from community development to gender disparity in the sciences. Back home, Bioart competition was happening, where school kids, were invited to draw on canvases of Agar Petri-dishes, with colored bacteria, to create art. Bioart can be seen as a way to give relevance to science and integrate it into the social fabric of our culture. Many of the IGEM alumni have started their own ventures pursuing the same goal with different approaches. Noteworthy among these are Biobangla, Nuclineers, codon-corps, Ravenlabs, OASIS and some by Bio-E alumni such as RoboHealth and The Writer’s Lounge. All this is happening, against all odds, defying history itself, since the political turmoil and economic situation is worsening each coming day. We reached out to the young leaders in the sciences, to cover their perspectives as well, with a questionnaire, the responses can be found at the end of this article.

This is a good omen for the scientific community of the country, yet it would be erroneous to conclude that scientific culture has firmly established, there is still a long way to go. Science is a community pursuit, rather than a one-man adventure. We thus need to move forward, taking into consideration the socio-economic and political factors, as a more practical approach towards this goal. And above all we must remember, history does not hold answers to current or future problems since the constants remain the same, but the variables of the equation and their inter-relation change from time to time. Finally, We must converge our energies for the greater benefit of all. The success of the scientific culture would be established once this culture makes it into our popular cultre, arts, our dramas, movies, the theater; since this would validate the existence of an inter-subjective reality(Scientific culture) in our society.


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Credit: Tian Xue, University of Science and Technology of China Mammals, including humans cannot see IR light, which has longer wavelength than visible light which between 700 nm and 1 mm. But Scientist have created a technology which enable mice to convert IR...

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