Introducing Qamar Uz Zaman, PMAS AAUR's 4th Vice Chancellor

Tuesday afternoon (April 16, 2019), Governor of the Punjab and Chancellor of Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) appointed Prof. Dr. Qamar uz Zaman, 4th Vice Chancellor of the 2nd ranked agricultural institution of Pakistan.

Dr. Zaman brings to PMAS-AAUR a compelling blend of national leadership and global perspective. He is a renowned Agricultural Engineer, who grew up in Sher Singhwala (Kalan) in the suburb of Faisalabad, was educated in UK and has worked with leading universities of Pakistan, USA, Japan, and Canada for more than 30 years. Having spent over past 12 years as Chair, Precision Agriculture Program at Dalhousie - Canada, he is ready and excited to lead PMAS-AAUR community into its third decade.

“I am honoured and humbled by the opportunity to serve as 4th Vice Chancellor of PMAS-AAUR,” says Dr. Zaman, who has started his four-year term on April 16, 2019. “The university’s students, faculty and staff are proudly devoted to the synergy between world-class education and a rich tradition of outstanding research and scholarship. I am thrilled at being given the chance to be part of writing the next chapter of this compelling story.”

Dr. Zaman was unanimous choice of the Search Committee, chaired by Syed Babar Ali Shah a philanthropist, businessman, and former caretaker Finance Minister of Pakistan. He is founder of Packages Limited, Milkpak Limited–now Nestlé Pakistan Limited and Lahore University of Management Sciences. The search committee consisted representatives from various universities, organizations, and Secretary Agriculture Department, Government of the Punjab, Lahore.

“The search committee was thoroughly impressed by the quality and quantity of candidates who were interested in this opportunity, from around the world — a testament to Dalhousie’s growing national and international reputation,” says Secretary Agriculture Department. “Among this competition, Dr. Zaman truly stood apart. He’s a warm, genuine and inspiring individual ready to build on PMAS-AAUR 30 years of achievement and chart a course towards even greater success in University’s third decade ahead,” says Dr. Khan – former Vice Chancellor of University of Agriculture Faisalabad.

“Having come from a humble background where nothing could have predicted that I would someday lead one of Pakistan’s top universities, PMAS-UAAR’s founding idea of a university that is ‘open to farmers’ resonates particularly close to my heart. I can’t wait to get down to work bringing this idea to life in its modern context, positioning PMAS- AAUR’s core value of commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and access as its key differentiator and competitive advantage,” says Dr. Zaman upon his appointment.

Global journey

Dr. Zaman comes from a mediocre family whose elders struggled through moving to Pakistan from India during partition of 1947. He was born in Pakistan. “I’ve lived a myriad of experiences during my journey — from sitting cross-legged on a dusty school floor to the administrative ‘cabinet’ of a global top university, and now to the helm of a rapidly rising young institution in Rawalpindi,” says Dr. Zaman. “But the opportunity to return to Pakistan and become part of PMAS-AAUR’s journey as its Vice Chancellor is one, I simply could not pass up,” he further added.

Inspired by his father’s example — a man whose own educational journey transformed his life and that of his family forever — Dr. Zaman pursued higher education, studying Agricultural Engineering at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad before moving to UK to complete a PhD in Agriculture Engineering at the Newcastle University. Following graduation, Dr. Zaman and his family relocated to USA taking up a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Florida. It was the start of an accomplished academic career that would make him a leading researcher in Precision Agriculture, eventually becoming Chair of the Precision Agriculture Program — a leading research establishment at Dalhousie University of Canada.

And for the twelve-and-a-half years prior to joining PMAS-AAUR community, he has served as Chair Precision Agriculture at the Dalhousie, a globally ranked 200-years old University in Nova Scotia Canada. There, he’s led the development and implementation of a new technology for efficient harvesting of wild blueberry in a mechanized way for which has a registered patent:

US Patent Number: 8488874B2
Canada Patent Number: 2740503 C

Prior to joining Dalhousie, Dr. Zaman was serving into his third research venture in Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Japan under JSPS program.

Educationists in Pakistan have shown their trust in the leadership of Dr. Zaman. “He joins PMAS-AAUR at a time of tremendous momentum: record enrolment and fundraising, significant renewal of the university’s campuses and a strong leadership team in place across the university,” says Dr. Khalid Mahmood Khan – Ex Vice Chancellor, who served PMAR-UAAR for over 10 years. “Under Dr. Zaman’s leadership, I’m certain these successes will be just a taste of what PMAR-AAUR third decade has in store”, he added.

He also sees PMAS-AAUR as a “rising star” in mission-oriented research — but one which puts students at the forefront of that mission. “Students are at the heart of the raison d’être of a university,” he says. “Building upon PMAS-AAUR’s national and international reputation for rich student experience, I look forward to a deep engagement with students, faculty, staff and community to position PMAS-AAUR as the national leader in delivering value to our students and offering a transformative educational and life experience on our campuses.”