Pakistan’s Space Agency SUPARCO is all set to launch an ambitious space program next year to keep an eye on India, and countering ISRO. But why was SUPARCO left behind by (ISRO) Indian Space Research Organization and the Chinese Space Agency (CNSA) despite being a decade ahead?
Pakistan’s Space Agency, SUPARCO is all geared up to launch an ambitious space programme during the next year with the intention to keep an eye Indian movements side and reduce its dependence on international satellites for both civil and military purposes.
As per Pakistan media, several projects will be launched to promote self-reliance potential and reduce dependence on foreign satellites, especially the American and French satellites. The budget of the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Organisation (SUPARCO) for the upcoming financial year 2018-19 would Rs 4.70B which comprises Rs 2.55 billion for three new projects.
Abdus Salam: The Man Behind SUPARCO
As reported by EurAsian Times, the founder of Pakistanis space programme, Abdus Salam was the first Pakistani, and the first Muslim to receive a Nobel Prize in Science and Technology, and only the second Muslim to receive Nobel Prize. Despite his enormous accomplishments and international adulation, Abdus Salam was never glorified in Pakistan as he belonged to highly persecuted Ahmadiyya sect. Many top politicians, religious leaders, and bureaucrats in Pakistan also opposed Abdus Salam leading a prestigious programme.
There was little funding and great indifference from the government to enhance the condition of SUPARCO. Later the government shifted all the funds associated with SUPARCO to the atomic bomb project, due to which Pakistan’s space agency failed to take off. Later, between 1980 and 1990, the Pakistani president Zia-ul-Haq, further withdrew the funding to the space agency, and also replaced the scientists. The focus of Pakistan was just to counter the rising threat of India. SUPARCO lacked adequate funding, genuine interest and political vision to improve the condition of subcontinents oldest space agency.
While ISRO launched its first communications satellite and started the technology sharing programs with several countries including the USSR, Pakistan’s SUPARCO just lacked political vision and funding, to counter Indian ISRO.
Even today, SUPARCO has not been able to do much; mainly due to low education level, lack of political interest, and most importantly scarce funding. The space agency is now counting its hopes on a Mission 2040 – by when they aim to have their own satellite making and launching capabilities. Whether the oldest space agency in the subcontinent will meet its target is again a big question.