ISLAMABAD - Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday said a five-year Islamic calendar will be ready by 15th of Ramadan to determine holy days falling in an Islamic year.

Talking to media yesterday afternoon, he said the calendar will help determining various festivals of Islamic year to avoid duplicity in observing Eid, Ramazan, and other holy days. He said the proposed calendar will be presented before the federal cabinet for further decision.

He said his ministry has three universities that will be tasked to prepare curriculum for science students of schools and colleges. He said that university of emerging sciences will be setup with Chinese help at Prime Minister House Islamabad. He said that Media University will now be established as a department at National University of Technology (NUTECH). He said Pakistan is also endeavouring to conquer the space and first astronaut will be launched by 2022.

The minister announced to observe August as the month of science and technology. He said an international science conference will also be arranged on 31st of August this year, where scientists of repute will be invited to participate.

He said his ministry is going to solarize the building of Prime Minister Secretariat and 30 towns will be selected for the provision of clean drinking water. He said 16 towns will be selected for generating energy from waste.

Fawad said Pakistan Hilal Authority has become functional, which will help increase Pakistan’s exports.

He said his ministry is planning to introduce new programmes for women and provide the opportunities to those women who want to become scientist. He said we need to bring improvement in the standard of science education. He said the ministry is also working on modernisation of public libraries.

He announced the federal government will celebrate a science gala and organise a science conference in August in Islamabad.

He said that he, as the minister for information, had attempted to bring a transparent system for distribution of government advertisement and it bears fruit. He said that the ministry had saved one billion rupees expenditure of the government.

Replying to question about Reut-e-Hilal committee members, he said, “Those, who cannot even watch a person sitting next to him, are attempting to witness crescent. Is moon sighting from a 100-year-old telescope ‘Halal’ and usage of modern telescope ‘Haraam’?”