Space Program of Pakistan

------The Pakistani Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission------



Pakistan's Level = 3                                         HDI: Low



One of the newest National Space Agencies


History and Infrastructure

Reasons for establishment, centers and spaceports


Space-Industrial Complex

Indigenous research and manufacturing


Earth Observation, Satellites and Launchers

Pakistan has nuclear weapons but no launch capability


Solar System, Deep Space and Manned Exploration

There are no missions of these types in NASRDA



Big plans for Africa's leading space agency

Population: 164,000,000 / Language: Urdo / GDP: $2400 / Cities: Islamabad, Karachi

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(Level 4 Space Agency)





Despite Pakistan being a relatively poor country, it has a significant space program. The University of Karachi, Pakistan, for example, does not confer degrees in astrophysics and astronautics. This state of affairs reflects a 'top-down' decision to call into existence an space agency despite grinding poverty and lack of educational infrastructure. Thus, Pakistan is a Level IV space power (Agency and Satellites) yet has few indigenous structures supporting it, making SUPARCO dependent on outside technology and know-how. 









Pakistan has no independent launch capability


BADR-B and PAKSAT are Pakistan's satellites, used for remote sensing / Earth observation, TV


SUPARCO has no probes on solar system missions


SUPARCO has not developed equipment to explore beyond the solar system


Pakistan's Space Agency has not executed a manned mission




Pakistan: In Brief



The Muslim-majority state of Pakistan occupies an area which was home to some of the earliest human settlements and where two of the world's major religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, were practised.

The modern state was born out of the partition of the Indian sub-continent in 1947 and has faced both domestic political upheavals and regional confrontations.

Created to meet the demands of Indian Muslims for their own homeland, Pakistan was originally in two parts.

The east wing - present-day Bangladesh - is on the Bay of Bengal bordering India and Burma and the west wing - present-day Pakistan - stretches from the Himalayas down to the Arabian Sea.

War with India over the disputed northern territory of Kashmir came shortly after independence - the two countries fought again in 1965.

The break-up of the two wings came in 1971 when the mainly Bengali-speaking east wing seceded with help from India.

Civilian politics in Pakistan in the last few decades has been tarnished by corruption, inefficiency and confrontations between various institutions. Alternating periods of civilian and military rule have not helped to establish stability.

Pakistan came under military rule again in October 1999 after the ousting of a civilian government which had lost a great deal of public support. The coup leader, General Musharraf, pledged to revive the country's fortunes, but faced economic challenges and law and order problems.

The latter are a major concern in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab, where thousands have been killed since the early 1980s in violence between Sunni and Shia factions.

Pakistan's place on the world stage shifted after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US. It dropped its support for the Taleban regime in Afghanistan and was propelled into the frontline in the fight against terrorism, becoming a key ally of Washington.

Pakistani forces say they have arrested hundreds of suspected al-Qaeda and Taleban-linked militants in the rugged, restive tribal regions along the Pakistani-Afghan border. Tens of thousands of troops are deployed in the area, which has been the scene of fierce fighting between security forces and suspected militants.

Tensions with India over Kashmir remain and have fuelled fears of a regional arms race. However, an ongoing peace process has brought the two nuclear-armed powers back from the brink of renewed conflict.

President: General Pervez Musharraf

General Pervez Musharraf seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999 which was widely condemned and which led to Pakistan's suspension from the Commonwealth until 2004.

But he shook off his pariah status and gained foreign acceptance after he backed the US-led campaign against terror following the attacks on America on 11 September 2001.

The president has waged a campaign against Islamic extremists, banning several groups. But his stance against militancy has not been well received in some quarters; the general has survived a number of assassination attempts.

In 2002 General Musharraf awarded himself another five years as president, together with the power to dismiss an elected parliament. The handover from military to civilian rule came with parliamentary elections in November 2002, and the appointment of a civilian prime minister.

General Musharraf has retained his military role, reneging on a promise to give up his army post and to become a civilian president.

Unlike many of the top military men in Pakistan, General Musharraf's origins are in India. Born in Delhi in 1943, his family emigrated to Pakistan after the partition of the Indian sub-continent.

His military career began in 1964 and included spells of training in the UK. He became head of military operations when Benazir Bhutto was prime minister, and then head of the army in 1998 after the resignation of General Karamat.

During the 1999 Kashmir crisis with India, he regularly briefed journalists and appeared on state television.

But tension developed with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after he ordered a withdrawal of Pakistani-backed militants in Kashmir.

Prime minister: Shaukat Aziz

A close ally of President Musharraf, former banker Shaukat Aziz was sworn in as prime minister in August 2004 having won a parliamentary vote in which the opposition abstained.

Mr Aziz oversaw a period of economic recovery during his previous role as finance minister and has promised to push for the privatisation of Pakistan's state-owned companies.

President Pervez Musharraf's rule has been marked by increased freedom for the print media and a liberalisation of broadcasting policies.

The expansion of private radio and television stations brought to an end more than five decades of the state's virtual monopoly of broadcasting.

Licences for more than 20 private satellite TV stations have been awarded, signalling increased competition for the state-run Pakistan Television Corporation. But there are no private, terrestrial TV stations.

By 2005 around 100 licences had been issued for private FM radio stations. Pakistan's media regulator has estimated that the country can support more than 800 private radio stations. Private stations are not allowed to broadcast news.

There are regular reports of private FM stations operating illegally, particularly in the tribal areas of North-West Frontier Province. Some of the stations have been accused of fanning sectarian divisions.

Many Pakistanis watch international satellite TV channels, via a dish or an often-unlicensed cable TV operator.

Indian channels such as Zee TV and STAR TV are popular with those who can receive them. The channels circumvent censorship in Pakistan that is far more restrictive than in India.

Pakistan and India regularly engage in a war of words via their respective media, occasionally banning broadcasts from the other country.

The government uses a range of legal and constitutional powers to curb press freedom. The country's law on blasphemy has been used against journalists. Nevertheless, Pakistan's print media are among the most outspoken in South Asia.


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Pakistan: In Depth




The modern day Pakistan consists of four major parts called provinces Punjab, Sind, Balochistan and NWFP. It also governs part of Kashmir which is currently split between Pakistan, India and China. Modern Pakistan is a country that has Harappan, Indo-Aryan, Persian, Grecian, Saka, Parthian, Kushan, White Hun, Afghan, Arab, Turkic, and Mughal heritage. Waves of conquerors and migrants settled down in Pakistan through out the centuries, influencing the locals and being absorbed among them. Pakistan is home to the oldest Asian civilisation (and one of the oldest in the world after Mesopotamia), Indus Valley Civilization (2500 BC - 1500 BC). The modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947, but the country has an extensive history that overlaps with the histories of Ancient India, Afghanistan and Iran. The region is a crossroad of historic trade routes, including the Silk Road, and was settled over thousands of years by many groups, including Dravidians, Indo-Aryans, Persians, Macedonians, Greeks, Scythians, Parthians Kushans, White Huns, Afghans, Arabs, Turks, and Mongols. The Indus region was the site of several ancient cultures including Mehrgarh, one of the world's earliest known towns, and the Indus Valley Civilization at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.[5]

The Indus Valley civilization collapsed in the middle of the second millennium BCE and was followed by the Vedic Civilisation, which extended over much of northern India and Pakistan. Successive empires and kingdoms ruled the region from the Achaemenid Persian empire[6] around 543 BCE, to Alexander the Great[7] in 326 BCE and the Mauryan empire. The Indo-Greek Kingdom founded by Demetrius of Bactria included Gandhara and Punjab from 184 BCE, and reached its greatest extent under Menander, establishing the Greco-Buddhist period with advances in trade and culture. The city of Taxila (Takshashila) became a major centre of learning in ancient times - the remains of the city, located to the west of Islamabad, are one of the country's major archaeological sites.

In 712 CE, the Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim[8] conquered Sindh and Multan in southern Punjab, setting the stage for several successive Muslim empires including the Ghaznavid Empire, the Ghorid Kingdom, the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire. During this period Sufi missionaries played a pivotal role in converting a majority of the regional Hindu population to Islam. The gradual decline of the Mughal Empire in the early eighteenth century provided opportunities for the Afghans, Balochis and Sikhs to exercise control over large areas until the British East India Company[9] gained ascendancy over South Asia.

The War of Independence, also known as the Indian Mutiny, in 1857 was the region's last major armed struggle against the British Raj, and it laid the foundations for the generally unarmed freedom struggle led by the Congress. However, the Muslim League rose to popularity in the late 1930's amid fears of under-representation and neglect of Muslims in politics. On 29 December 1930, Allama Iqbal's presidential address called for a separate Muslim state in northwest and eastern South Asia. Muhammad Ali Jinnah espoused the Two Nation Theory and led the Muslim League to adopt the Lahore Resolution[10] of 1940, which ultimately led to the creation of Pakistan.

Pakistan was formed on 14 August 1947 with two Muslim-majority wings in the eastern and northwestern regions of South Asia, separated by Hindu-majority India, and comprising the provinces of Balochistan, East Bengal, the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab and Sindh. The partition of British India resulted in communal riots[11] across India and Pakistan—millions of Muslims moved to Pakistan and millions of Hindus and Sikhs moved to India. Disputes arose over several princely states including Jammu and Kashmir whose ruler had acceded to India,while the majority of the population favored independence, leading to the First Kashmir War (1948) ending with Pakistan occupying large parts of the state. From 1947 to 1956, Pakistan was a Dominion in the Commonwealth of Nations. The republic declared in 1956 was stalled by a coup d'etat by Ayub Khan (1958–69), who was president during a period of internal instability and a second war with India in 1965. His successor, Yahya Khan (1969–71) had to deal with the cyclone which caused 500,000 deaths[12] in East Pakistan.

Economic and political dissent in East Pakistan led to violent political repression and tensions escalating into civil war[13] (Bangladesh Liberation War) and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and ultimately the secession of East Pakistan as the independent state of Bangladesh.[14]

Civilian rule resumed from 1972 to 1977 under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, until he was deposed and later sentenced to death in what amounted to a judicial murder in 1979 by General Zia-ul-Haq, who became the third military president. Pakistan's secular policies were replaced by Zia's introduction of the Islamic Shariah legal code, which increased religious influences on the civil service and the military. With the death of General Zia in a plane crash in 1988, Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was elected as the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan. Over the next decade, she alternated power with Nawaz Sharif, as the country's political and economic situation worsened. Pakistan sent 5,000 troops to the 1991 Gulf War as part of a US led coalition and specifically for the defence of Saudi Arabia.[15] Military tensions in the Kargil conflict[16] with India in 1999 was followed by a military coup[17] in which General Pervez Musharraf assumed executive powers. In 2001, Musharraf named himself President after the forced resignation of Rafiq Tarar. After the 2002 parliamentary elections, Musharraf transferred executive powers to newly elected Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who was succeeded in the 2004 Prime-Ministerial election by a professional banker Shaukat Aziz, followed by a brief (temporary) stint in the seat by Chaudhy Shuja'at Hussain.

Government and politics

The Muslim League formed Pakistan's first government under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan. The Muslim League's leadership of Pakistani politics decreased significantly with the rise of other political parties, with the Pakistan People's Party in West Pakistan, and the Awami League in East Pakistan, which would ultimately lead to the creation of Bangladesh. The first Constitution of Pakistan was adopted in 1956, but was suspended in 1958 by Ayub Khan. The Constitution of 1973, suspended in 1977 by Zia-ul-Haq, was re-instated in 1991 and is the country's most important document, laying the foundations of government. Pakistan is a federal democratic republic with Islam as the state religion. The semi-presidential system includes a bicameral legislature consisting of a 100-member Senate and a 342-member National Assembly. The President is the Head of State and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and is elected by an electoral college. The prime minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the National Assembly. Each province has a similar system of government with a directly elected Provincial Assembly in which the leader of the largest party or alliance becomes Chief Minister. Provincial Governors are appointed by the President.

The Pakistani military has played an influential role in mainstream politics throughout Pakistan's history, (Politics of Pakistan) with military presidents ruling from 1958–71, 1977–88 and from 1999 onwards. The leftist Pakistan People's Party (PPP), led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, emerged as a major political player during the 1970s. Under the military rule of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan began a marked shift from the British-era secular politics and policies, to the adoption of Shariat and other laws based on Islam. During the 1980s, the anti-feudal, pro-Muhajir Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was started by unorthodox and educated urban dwellers of Sindh and particularly Karachi. The 1990s were characterized by coalition politics dominated by the PPP and a rejuvenated Muslim League.

In the October 2002 general elections, the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) (PML-Q) won a plurality of National Assembly seats with the second-largest group being the Pakistan People's Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), a sub-party of the PPP. Zafarullah Khan Jamali of PML-Q emerged as Prime Minister but resigned on 26 June 2004 and was replaced by PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain as interim Prime Minister. On 28 August 2004 the National Assembly voted 191 to 151 to elect the Finance Minister and former Citibank Vice President Shaukat Aziz as Prime Minister. Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a coalition of Islamic religious parties, won elections in North-West Frontier Province, and increased their representation in the National Assembly.

Pakistan is an active member of the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the latter of which Pakistan has used as a forum for Enlightened Moderation,[18] a plan to promote a renaissance and enlightenment in the Muslim world. Pakistan is also a member of the major regional organisations of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO). In the past, Pakistan has had mixed relations with the United States especially in the early 1950s when Pakistan was the United States' "most allied ally in Asia"[19] and a member of both the Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO) and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO). During the Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s Pakistan was a crucial US ally, but relations soured in the 1990s, when sanctions were applied by the US over suspicions of Pakistan's nuclear activities. The September 11 attacks and the subsequent War on Terrorism have seen an improvement in US–Pakistan ties, especially after Pakistan ended its support of the Taliban regime in Kabul. In January 2004, founder of Pakistani nuclear program A. Q. Khan confessed of nuclear proliferation to Libya, Iran and North Korea. On 5 February 2004, the president Pervez Musharraf, announced that he had pardoned A. Q. Khan. At present, A. Q. Khan is ailing and under house arrest.

Pakistan has long had troubled relations with neighbouring India. The long-running dispute over Kashmir resulted in full fledged wars in 1947 and 1965. Civil war in 1971 flared into the simultaneous Bangladeshi Liberation War and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Pakistan conducted nuclear weapon tests in 1998 to counterbalance India's nuclear explosion (Smiling Buddha) of 1974 and Pokhran-II of 1998 respectively.[20] and became the only Muslim nuclear weapons state. The relations with India are steadily improving following peace initiatives in 2002. Pakistan maintains close economic, military and political relationships with the People's Republic of China.

Pakistan also faces instability in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, where some tribal leaders support the Taliban. Pakistan has had to deploy the army in these regions to suppress the local unrest, in Waziristan. The Waziristan conflict ended with a recently declared peace agreement between the tribal leaders and the Pakistani government, that is expected to bring back stability to the region.[21]

Additionally, the country has long faced instability in its largest province, Balochistan. The army was deployed to fight a serious insurgency within the province from 1973–76. Social stability resumed after Rahimuddin Khan was appointed martial law administrator beginning in 1977. After relative peace throughout the 1980s and 1990s, some influential Baloch tribal leaders restarted a separatist movement after Pervez Musharraf took over in 1999. In a recent incident Nawab Akbar Bugti, the leader of the Baloch insurgency, was killed in August 2006 by Pakistani military forces.


Pakistan is a rapidly developing country which has faced a number of challenges on both political and economic fronts. Despite being a very poor country in 1947, Pakistan's economic growth rate was better than the global average during the subsequent four decades, but imprudent policies led to a slowdown in the late 1990's.[25] Recently, wide-ranging economic reforms have resulted in a stronger economic outlook and accelerated growth especially in the manufacturing and financial services sectors. There has been great improvement in the foreign exchange position and rapid growth in hard currency reserves in recent years. The 2005 estimate of foreign debt was close to US$40 billion. However, this has decreased in recent years with assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and significant debt-relief from the United States. Pakistan's gross domestic product, as measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), is estimated to be US$439.7 billion[26] while its per capita income (PCI) stands at $2,803.[27] Despite clear progress, reports by the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the UN Development Program place the poverty rate in Pakistan between 23-28 percent.[28] Pakistan's GDP growth rates have seen a steady increase over the last 5 years. However, inflationary pressures and a low savings rate, among other economic factors, could make it difficult to sustain a high growth rate, according to some analysts. [29] [30][31]

The growth of non-agricultural sectors has changed the structure of the economy, and agriculture now only accounts for roughly 20% of the GDP. The service sector accounts for 53% of the country's GDP with wholesale and retail trade forming 30% of this sector. In recent times, the Karachi Stock Exchange has soared, along with most of the world's emerging markets. Large amounts of foreign investments have been made into several industries. The top industries in Pakistan are telecom, software, automotives, textiles, cement, fertilizer, steel, ship building, and more recently, aerospace.

Pakistan has accomplished many engineering feats such as construction of the world’s largest earth filled dam Tarbela, the world's twelfth largest dam Mangla, as well as the world’s highest international road: the Karakoram Highway. There are also half a dozen additional dams planned such as Kalabagh Dam, Diamer-Bhasha Dam, Munda, Akhori and Skardu Katzara.[32]

In November of 2006 China and Pakistan signed a Free Trade Agreement hoping to triple bilateral trade from $4.2 billion (USD) to $15 billion (USD) within the next five years. [33] Pakistan's annual exports in 2005 amounted to $15 billion (USD)[34], and is poised to cross $18 billion (USD) in 2006 and $20 billion (USD) in 2007.[35] Pakistan is also home to a thriving arms industry which exports $200 million (USD) annually, mostly defence equipment and arms to countries in the Middle East and South Asia, and its defence officials are hopeful that these exports will surpass $500 million (USD) a year within the next five years.

In keeping with its rapid economic development in recent years, Pakistan registered an economic growth rate of 7 percent in the financial year 2005-06.[36]


Pakistan has an estimated population of 165,803,560, as of April 2006.[37] Pakistan has the world's sixth largest population, placing it higher than Russia, and lower than Brazil. Because of Pakistan's high growth rate, it is expected to surpass Brazil in population in the year 2020. Population projections for Pakistan are relatively difficult because of the apparent differences in the accuracy of each census and the inconsistencies between various surveys related to the fertility rate, but it is likely that the rate of growth peaked in the 1980s and has since declined significantly.[38] The population was estimated at 162,400,000[39] on July 1, 2005, with a fertility rate of 34 per thousand, a death rate of 10 per thousand, and the rate of natural increase at 2.4%. Pakistan also has a high infant mortality rate of 70 per thousand births.[37]

Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan, and English is the official language, used in the Constitution and widely used by corporate businesses, the educated urban elite, and most universities. Punjabi is spoken by over 60 million people, but has no official recognition in the country.[40] These major ethnic groups are further broken down into several smaller ethnic groups - Punjabis (44.68)% of the population, Pashtuns (15.42%), Sindhis (14.1%), Seraikis (10.53%), Muhajirs (7.57%), Balochis (3.57%) and others (4.66%) such as Tajiks, Bengalis and many others.

The demographics of religion in Pakistan were significantly influenced in 1947 by the movement of Muslims to Pakistan, and Hindus and Sikhs to India. Census data [41] indicates that 96% of the population are Muslims, of whom nearly 80% are Sunni Muslims and 19% are Shi'a Muslims. The remainder comprises of Christians, Hindus, Jews, Sikhs, Parsis, Ahmadis, Buddhists, and Animists (mainly the Kalasha of Chitral). Pakistan is the second most populous Muslim-majority country[3] and also has the one of the largest Shi'a populations of any country.

As of 2005, over three million refugees — approximately 81.5% being ethnic Pashtuns — remain in Pakistan as a result of the wars in Afghanistan, with 83% of these refugees reporting their intent to permanently settle in Pakistan.[42]

Society and culture

The national dress of Shalwar Kameez is originally of Central Asian origin derived from Turko-Iranian nomadic invaders and is today worn in all parts of Pakistan. The sari is regional dress that is worn by many women in Sindh and parts of Pakistan. Women wear brightly coloured shalwar qameez, while men often wear solid-coloured ones.

The variety of Pakistani music ranges from diverse provincial folk music and traditional styles such as Qawwali and Ghazal Gayaki to modern forms fusing traditional and western music, such as the synchronisation of Qawwali and western music by the renowned Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Other major Ghazal singers include Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, Farida Khanum, Tahira Syed, Abida Parveen and Iqbal Bano. The arrival of Afghan refugees in the western provinces has rekindled Pashto and Persian music and established Peshawar as a hub for Afghan musicians and a distribution centre for Afghan music abroad. Until the 1990s, the state-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation were the dominant media outlets, but there are now numerous private television channels such as Geo TV, Indus TV, Hum,ARY, KTN and others. Various American, European, and Asian television channels and movies are available to the majority of the Pakistani population via cable and satellite television. There are also small indigenous movie industries based in Lahore and Peshawar (often referred to as Lollywood and Pollywood). Although Bollywood movies are banned since 1965,[43] Indian film stars are generally popular in Pakistan.

Pakistani society is largely multilingual and predominantly Muslim, with high regard for traditional family values, although urban families have grown into a nuclear family system due to the socio-economic constraints imposed by the traditional joint family system. Recent decades have seen the emergence of a middle class in cities like Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Sukkur and Peshawar that wish to move in a more liberal direction,[44] as opposed to the northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan that remain highly conservative and dominated by centuries-old regional tribal customs. Increasing globalization has increased the influence of "Western culture" with Pakistan ranking 46th on the Kearney/FP Globalization Index.[45] There are an approximated four million Pakistanis living abroad,[46] with close to a half-million expatriates living in the United States[47] and around a million living in Saudi Arabia.[48]As well as nearly one million people of Pakistani descent in the United Kingdom, there are burgeoning cultural connections.[49]

Tourism is a growing industry in Pakistan, based on its diverse cultures, peoples and landscapes. The variety of attractions range from the ruins of ancient civilizations such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Taxila, to the Himalayan hill stations, which attract those interested in field and winter sports. Pakistan is home to several mountain peaks over 7000m, which attracts adventurers and mountaineers from around the world, especially K2[50]. The northern parts of Pakistan have many old fortresses, towers and other architecture as well as the Hunza and Chitral valleys, the latter being home to the small pre-Islamic Animist Kalasha community who claim descent from the army of Alexander the Great. In the Punjab is the site of Alexander's battle on the Jhelum River and the historic city Lahore, Pakistan's cultural capital with many examples of Mughal architecture such as the Badshahi Masjid, Shalimar Gardens, Tomb of Jahangir and the Lahore Fort. To promote Pakistan's unique and various cultural heritage, the prime minister launched "Visit Pakistan 2007". [51]

There are many festivals celebrated annually in Pakistan which may or may not observe as holidays e.g. Pakistan Day (23 March)(holiday), Independence Day (14 August)(holiday), Defence of Pakistan Day (6 September), Pakistan Air Force Day (7 September), the anniversaries of the birth (25 December)(holiday) and death (11 September) of Quaid-e-Azam(holiday), Allama Iqbal (9 November) and the birth (30 July) and death (8 July) of Madar-e-Millat. Labour Day (also known as May Day) is also observed in Pakistan on 1 May.

Several important festivals are celebrated by Pakistani Muslims during the year, dependent on the Islamic calendar. Ramadan, the ninth month of the calendar, is characterised by daytime fasting for 29 or 30 days and is followed by the festival of Eid ul-Fitr. In a second festival, Eid ul-Adha, an animal is sacrificed in remembrance of the actions of Abraham and the meat is shared with friends, family, and the less fortunate. Both Eid festivals are public holidays, serving as opportunities for people to visit family and friends, and for children to receive new clothes, presents, and sweets. Some Muslims celebrate Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of the prophet Muhammad, in the third month of the calendar (Rabi' al-Awwal). Shia Muslims mark the Day of Ashurah on the 9th and 10th days of the first month (Muharram) to commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn bin Ali, (the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad).

Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Christians in Pakistan also celebrate their own festivals and holidays. Sikhs come from across the world to visit several holy sites in Punjab, including the shrine of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, at Hassan Abdal in the Attock District, and his birthplace, at Nankana Sahib. There are also several regional and local festivals, such as the Punjabi festival of Basant, which marks the start of spring and is celebrated by kite flying.


The official and national sport of Pakistan is field hockey, although squash and cricket are also very popular. The national cricket team has won the Cricket World Cup once (in 1992), were runners-up once (in 1999) and co-hosted the games twice (in 1987 and 1996). Pakistan is also set to host cricket world-cup jointly with India, Banlgadesh and Sri Lanka in 2011. The team has also won the Australasia Cup thrice (1986, 1990, 1994). Pakistan has produced many famous cricketers, including Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Zaheer Abbas, Hanif Mohammad, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Sarfraz Nawaz, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram. On November 30, 2006 Mohammad Yousuf broke one of the longest-standing records in cricket, of the most runs scored in a calendar year. Sir Viv Richards previously held the record, having scored 1710 runs in 1976, a memorable run during which he scored two double hundreds against the English in England and the closest anyone had come to it since was Ricky Ponting in 2005, with 1544 runs. Pakistan has also produced a number of successful world-class squash players such as Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan. Muhammad Yousuf was remained world champion in game of snooker in 1990's. At an international level, Pakistan has competed many times at the Summer Olympics in field hockey, boxing, athletics, swimming, and shooting. Pakistan's medal tally remains at 10 medals (3 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze) while at the Commonwealth games and Asian Games it stands at 61 medals and 182 medals respectively. Hockey is the sport that Pakistan has been most successful at the Olympics, with three gold medals (1960, 1968, 1984). Pakistan has also won the Hockey World Cup a record four times (1971, 1978, 1982, 1994).[52] Pakistan has hosted several international competitions, including the SAF Games in 1989 and 2004.

A1 Grand Prix racing is also becoming popular with the entry of a Pakistani team in the 2005 season. The Tour de Pakistan, modelled on the Tour de France, is an annual cycling competition that covers the length and breadth of Pakistan. Recently, football has grown in popularity across the country, although the national football team is still considered to be very weak and has yet to qualify for a World Cup.


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Pakistan: Timeline




906 - Muslim League founded as forum for Indian Muslim separatism.

Muhammed Ali Jinnah - founding father of Pakistan

1940 - Muslim League endorses idea of separate nation for India's Muslims.

1947 - Muslim state of East and West Pakistan created out of partition of India at the end of British rule. Hundreds of thousands die in widespread communal violence and millions are made homeless.

1948 - Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the first governor general of Pakistan, dies.

1948 - First war with India over disputed territory of Kashmir.

Military rule

1951 - Jinnah's successor Liaquat Ali Khan is assassinated.

1956 - Constitution proclaims Pakistan an Islamic republic.

1958 - Martial law declared and General Ayyub Khan takes over.

1960 - General Ayyub Khan becomes president.

War and secession

1965 - Second war with India over Kashmir.


1969 - General Ayyub Khan resigns and General Yahya Khan takes over.

1970 - Victory in general elections in East Pakistan for breakaway Awami League, leading to rising tension with West Pakistan.

1971 - East Pakistan attempts to secede, leading to civil war. India intervenes in support of East Pakistan which eventually breaks away to become Bangladesh.

1972 - Simla peace agreement with India sets new frontline in Kashmir.

1973 - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto becomes prime minister.

Zia takes charge

1977 - Riots erupt over allegations of vote-rigging by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP). General Zia ul-Haq stages military coup.

1978 - General Zia becomes president.

1979 - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto hanged.

1980 - US pledges military assistance to Pakistan following Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

1985 - Martial law and political parties ban lifted.

1986 - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's daughter Benazir returns from exile to lead PPP in campaign for fresh elections.

1988 August - General Zia, the US ambassador and top Pakistan army officials die in mysterious air crash.

Bhutto comeback

General Zia's death in 1988 ended 11-year military rule

1988 November - Benazir Bhutto's PPP wins general election.

1990 - Benazir Bhutto dismissed as prime minister on charges of incompetence and corruption.

1991 - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif begins economic liberalisation programme. Islamic Shariah law formally incorporated into legal code.

1992 - Government launches campaign to stamp out violence by Urdu-speaking supporters of the Mohajir Quami Movement.

1993 - President Khan and Prime Minister Sharif both resign under pressure from military. General election brings Benazir Bhutto back to power.

Politics and corruption

1996 - President Leghari dismisses Bhutto government amid corruption allegations.

1997 - Nawaz Sharif returns as prime minister after his Pakistan Muslim League party wins elections.

1998 - Pakistan conducts its own nuclear tests after India explodes several devices.

1999 April - Benazir Bhutto and her husband convicted of corruption and given jail sentences. Benazir stays out of the country.

1999 May - Kargil conflict: Pakistan-backed forces clash with the Indian military in the icy heights around Kargil in Indian-held Kashmir. More than 1,000 people are killed on both sides.

1999 October - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif overthrown in military coup led by General Pervez Musharraf. Coup is widely condemned, Pakistan is suspended from Commonwealth.

2000 April - Nawaz Sharif sentenced to life imprisonment on hijacking and terrorism charges.

2000 December - Nawaz Sharif goes into exile in Saudi Arabia after being pardoned by military authorities.

Nawaz Sharif, ousted in 1999 coup, lives in exile

2001 20 June - Gen Pervez Musharraf names himself president while remaining head of the army. He replaced the figurehead president, Rafiq Tarar, who vacated his position earlier in the day after the parliament that elected him was dissolved.

2001 July - Musharraf meets Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in the first summit between the two neighbours in more than two years. The meeting ends without a breakthrough or even a joint statement because of differences over Kashmir.

2001 September - Musharraf swings in behind the US in its fight against terrorism and supports attacks on Afghanistan. US lifts some sanctions imposed after Pakistan's nuclear tests in 1998, but retains others put in place after Musharraf's coup.

Kashmir tensions

2001 October - India fires on Pakistani military posts in the heaviest firing along the dividing line of control in Kashmir for almost a year.

2001 December - India imposes sanctions against Pakistan, to force it to take action against two Kashmir militant groups blamed for a suicide attack on parliament in New Dehli. Pakistan retaliates with similar sanctions.

2001 December - India, Pakistan mass troops along common border amid mounting fears of a looming war.

Tensions with India over Kashmir go back decades

2002 January - President Musharraf bans two militant groups - Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad - and takes steps to curb religious extremism.

2002 January - Musharraf announces that elections will be held in October 2002 to end three years of military rule.

2002 April - Musharraf wins another five years in office in a referendum criticised as unconstitutional and fraught with irregularities.

2002 May - 14 people, including 11 French technicians, are killed in a suicide attack on a bus in Karachi. The following month 12 people are killed in a suicide attack outside the US consulate in the city.

2002 May - Pakistan test fires three medium-range surface-to-surface Ghauri missiles, which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Musharraf tells nation that Pakistan doesn't want war but is ready to respond with full force if attacked.

2002 June - Britain and USA maintain diplomatic offensive to avert war, urge their citizens to leave India and Pakistan.

2002 August - President Musharraf grants himself sweeping new powers, including the right to dismiss an elected parliament. Opposition forces accuse Musharraf of perpetuating dictatorship.

2002 October - First general election since the 1999 military coup results in a hung parliament. Parties haggle over the make-up of a coalition. Religious parties fare better than expected.

2002 November - Mir Zafarullah Jamali selected as prime minister by the National Assembly. He is the first civilian premier since the 1999 military coup and a member of a party close to General Musharraf.

2003 February - Senate elections: Ruling party wins most seats in voting to the upper house. Elections said to be final stage of what President Musharraf calls transition to democracy.

2003 June - North-West Frontier Province votes to introduce Sharia law.

Kashmir ceasefire

2003 November - Pakistan declares a Kashmir ceasefire, which is swiftly matched by India.

2003 December - Pakistan and India agree to resume direct air links and to allow overflights of each other's planes from beginning of 2004 after two-year ban.

President Musharraf survives an attempt on his life; bombs explode under a bridge seconds after his car passes over it.

2004: Pakistan's schisms spill into present

2004 February - Leading nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan admits to having leaked nuclear weapons secrets. Technology is said to have been transferred to Libya, North Korea and Iran.

2004 April - Parliament approves creation of military-led National Security Council. Move institutionalises role of armed forces in civilian affairs.

2004 May - Pakistan readmitted to Commonwealth.

Factional violence in Karachi: Senior Sunni cleric shot dead; bomb attack on Shia mosque kills 16, injures 40.

2004 June - Military offensive near Afghan border against suspected al-Qaeda militants and their supporters after attacks on checkpoints. Earlier offensive, in March, left more than 120 dead.

2004 August - Shaukat Aziz is sworn in as prime minister. In July he escaped unhurt from an apparent assassination attempt.

2004 December - President Musharraf says he will stay on as head of the army having previously promised to relinquish the role.

2005 January - Tribal militants in Balochistan attack facilities at Pakistan's largest natural gas field, forcing closure of main plant.

2005 quake killed thousands, left millions without shelter

2005 7 April - Bus services, the first in 60 years, operate between Muzaffarabad in Pakistani-administered Kashmir and Srinagar in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

More than 200 suspected Islamic extremists are detained at premises which include religious schools and mosques. The move comes after deadly attacks in the British capital; three of the bombers visited Pakistan in 2004.

2005 August - Pakistan tests its first, nuclear-capable cruise missile.

Kashmir quake

2005 8 October - An earthquake, with its epicentre in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, kills tens of thousands of people. The city of Muzaffarabad is among the worst-hit areas.

2006 January - Up to 18 people are killed in a US missile strike, apparently targeting senior al-Qaeda figures, on a border village in the north.

2006 February - More than 30 people are killed in a suspected suicide bomb attack and ensuing violence at a Shia Muslim procession in the north-west.

2006 April - A suspected double suicide bombing kills at least 57 people at a Sunni Muslim ceremony in Karachi.

2006 August - Security forces kill prominent Balochistan tribal leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti. Protests over his death turn violent.

2006 October - Raid on an Islamic seminary in the tribal area of Bajaur bordering Afghanistan kills up to 80 people, sparking anti-government protests. The army says the madrassa was a training camp for militants.


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Pakistan lacks a significant industrial base. The major goals currently are to create more geoimaging stations.













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Pakistan launched its first satellite, BADR-1 in 1990 aboard a Chinese Long March Rocket.

Its stated goals (from the SUPARCO website) were:


To acquire know-how for indigenous development of satellites to create infrastructure for future satellite development activities

To test the performance of indigenously developed satellite subsystems in space environment

To perform experiments in real-time voice and data communications between two user ground stations

To demonstrate store-and-forward type message communication

To educate the country’s academic, scientific and amateur community in the tracking and use of low-earth-orbiting satellites


This satellite is exausted its lifespan and now orbits as discarded waste.


The R2D2 looking BADR-1 and the garage sale radio looking BADR-B



Its Second satellite, BADR-B was launched in 2001 aboard a Russian Zenit Rocket.

Its stated mission from SUPARCO's webiste are:


Developing low cost satellites and creating necessary infrastructure for future development of larger satellites

Acquisition of know-how and capability in the fields of satellite attitude control and stabilisation

Acquire know-how and technology for earth imaging by use of CCD sensors

Encourage and stimulate interest of the country’s academic and scientific community in the peaceful uses of space

Forging of closer links with counterpart agencies/organisations in other countries


In 2002 Pakistan leased a satellite already in orbit and renamed it Paksat-1 in order to secure its reserved spot in GEO.

It is now beaming TV to much of West Asia and North AFrica.



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The Pakistani Space Agency has no missions or involvement in Solar System or Deep Space Research and Exploration. It has no ground based observatories.

























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