Federal Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said on Monday that the Islamabad Space Observatory will help in moon sighting on Ramazan and Eid, and develop a consensus on observing such events on the same day across the country.
“We will be able to assist the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee to sight Ramazan and Eid moos through this observatory, which would help develop a consensus to observe such events on the same day in the country”, he said, while speaking at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Islamabad Space Observatory.
The minister termed the occasion historic, adding that more such observatories will be built in Gwadar, Karachi and Peshawar.
The federal minister added that the field of Astronomy has remained close to the hearts of Muslim scientists, who were also bestowed a great place in society by Muslim kings.
Since the beginning, man’s focus was on the sun and moon, and the stars were used to find the way in the ancient time, he said while quoting Allama Muhammad Iqbal saying, “There are worlds beyond the stars”.
The minister stated that Pakistan was established as a modern Islamic country and started its space programme in the 1960’s. Unfortunately, “We lost our destination along the way,” Fawad added.
Pointing out to the fast-paced advancement in every field of life, the minister said that it did not matter whether we can see the moon or not. Now, the next Shariah issue will be how the people on the moon will celebrate Eid, he said.
Fawad added that private tours to moon could begin in the next 10 to 15 years. The minister stressed the need to discourage people with backward thinking, asking how can religion be kept away from knowledge, reason and logic?
The minister also emphasised on making Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) a more effective organisation and said, “SUPARCO has still room for improvement”.
The minister said SUPARCO has also planned to send its first space mission to the moon in partnership with China which is a move towards regaining past glory.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), Dr. Shahid Baig said the PSF has been working to promote science and technology, and science centers have been set up in different cities in this regard.
He said the PSF was also running Science Caravans to promote awareness of science in the new generation.
About the Islamabad Space Observatory, he said the observatory will be equipped with state-of-the-art telescopes.
He said the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee will be invited for moon sighting through this observatory.
He disclosed that five such space centers will be set up across the country.
Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Chairman Maulana Abdul Khabeer and other members of the committee were also present on the occasion besides scientists and space technology experts.