The Pakistan Mathematical Society

Founded in 2001

The Pakistan Mathematical Society was founded on 26 June 2001. Prior to this it was realised by mathematicians in Pakistan that there was a need for an organisation that could advise the Pakistan government on mathematical matters. The initiative to form such a body was made by mathematicians from the Quaid-e-Azam University who issued an invitation to those who were interested to meet in the Best Western Hotel in Islamabad on 15 May 2001. The Quaid-e-Azam University, established in Islamabad in 1967, began offering postgraduate degrees of Ph.D. and M.Phil. and later offered Master's and undergraduate Degrees. The meeting was held in the Best Western Hotel, in central Islamabad, which had the facilities needed to hold large conventions.

Over seventy mathematicians, ranging from students to professors, attended this meeting and there was great concern expressed at the poor state of mathematics education in Pakistan. Those present agreed that, despite this, there appeared to be no interest either from the government of from any other source to set out any strategy for improvement. The meeting agreed that a society was needed that could devise such a strategy, that could make representation to the government about its implementation and could also support the work of the mathematicians in Pakistan.

The first meeting of the Society was held on 26 June 2001 at the Allama Iqbal Open University. This university, based in Islamabad, was founded in 1974 and was modelled on the British Open University providing university level education to those who cannot take years out to study at a conventional university. A leading figure at this meeting, who had long been pushing for founding the Pakistan Mathematical Society, was Qaiser Mushtaq who was the professor of mathematics at Quaid-e-Azam University. Mushtaq, born in Sheikhupura, Pakistan, in 1954, studied for an M.Sc. and M.Phil. at Quaid-e-Azam University and was awarded his doctorate after undertaking research in Oxford, England, advised by Graham Higman. His thesis was on group theory and entitled Coset Diagrams for the Modular group. Qaiser Mushtaq and his research group at the Quaid-e-Azam University organised the Pure Mathematics Conference in Islamabad in August 2000. Many Pakistani mathematicians who had academic positions in other countries returned to Pakistan for this conference and it was a great success. Before the conference ended, it was decided to hold the 2nd Pure Mathematics Conference in Islamabad in August 2001. This conference was again organised by Qaiser Mushtaq and his research group at the Quaid-e-Azam University.

The 1st Pure Mathematics Conference in Islamabad in 2000 was an important factor in the setting up of the Pakistan Mathematical Society. At the Society's first meeting in the Allama Iqbal Open University in June 2001 the constitution, which had already been drawn up following the May meeting, was approved by those present. The first rule was:-
Membership of the Society shall be open to any mathematician, irrespective of his/her race, creed, religion and sect.
Their definition of 'mathematician' is someone who holds at least a Master's Degree in a mathematical science. The constitution requires the officers and executive committee members to be elected at the Annual General Meeting of the Society every two years. The meeting, the Society's first AGM, then elected the officers of the Society to serve for the two years 2001-2002. Qaiser Mushtaq was elected as President, with M Sarwar Kamram, Riphah International University, Islamabad, as Vice-President. Also elected were: Arshad Mahmood, Allama Iqbal Open University, as General Secretary; Muhammad Aslam, Allama Iqbal Open University, as Treasurer; and Muhammad Ashiq, Quaid-e-Azam University, as Information Secretary. Qaiser Mushtaq has been elected as President in every year (up to the present 2017) except 2005-2006 when he was elected Vice-President. In addition to the officers of the Society there are five members elected to the Executive Committee. It was also decided to publish a Newsletter, and Faisal Shah Khan was the main person responsible for organising the first issue. The Newsletter contains reviews of mathematical publications, various journals, and books as well as Society events and news. In 2002 the Society published two issues of the Newsletter, the first in March. In 2003 there were three issues published, and in 2004, and every year since, four issues were published each year.

The Pakistan Mathematical Society is known as the PakMS and its Newsletter as the PakMS Newsletter. Although it was founded on 26 June 2001, it was still necessary for it to be officially registered [1]:-
The PakMS was registered on 16th November 2001. The Society had to apply again for registration under the ACT XXI of 1860 to meet the requirement of the Pakistan Science Foundation for registration of the society with it. It was finally registered under this Act on 17th February 2003. It is the only non-governmental mathematical organization which is registered with the government of Pakistan. This is the Society legitimacy and legal protection under the ACT XXI of 1860 of Societies. PakMS is the only mathematical organization which is registered with Pakistan Science Foundation also. The Society has thus become eligible to obtain substantial grant from the Foundation.
The 3rd Pure Mathematics Conference was held in Islamabad in 2002 was hosted by the Allama Iqbal Open University and sponsored by the Allama Iqbal Open University, the Pakistan Science Foundation and the Pakistan Mathematical Society. The conference has been held every year in Islamabad since it began in 2000 with the 18th conference held the Best Western Hotel, in central Islamabad, in August 2017 with over 450 participants. Every conference except the first two have been sponsored by the Pakistan Mathematical Society.

The Pakistan Mathematical Society summarises its activities as follows [1]:-
The Society is dedicated to supporting and encouraging those involved in research, teaching, and the learning of mathematics at all levels. It also organizes and supports seminars, workshops, lectures, educational meetings, etc. It also cooperates with other scientific, technological and industrial bodies in activities which are intended to promote mathematics. It organizes on a regular basis quarterly national seminars, publishes a quarterly newsletter, supports an annual international conference and publishes its proceedings.

Visit the society website.

References (show)

  1. The Pakistan Mathematical Society website.

Last Updated February 2018