Your Editorial 'The paradox of Pakistan' (Nature 450, 585; doi:10.1038/450585a 2007) highlights the importance of continuing reforms to the country's science and higher education. It is also crucial to establish an independent and powerful statutory body that oversees scientific research in Pakistan, to ensure that it complies with the universal norms of research ethics and integrity.

This body would make sure that all educational institutions throughout the country have such programmes in place, while recognizing that the three major elements of research ethics — individuals' autonomy, beneficence and justice in human-subject research — also conform with Islamic values. Unification of the Muslim world's intellectual resources with those of the rest of the world will help accelerate the pace of scientific discovery.