Islamabad, 8 February 2023 (TDI): On the eve of the return of Pakistani seeds from Chinese space a ceremony was held to celebrate a major milestone in the cooperation between China and Pakistan in the fields of space science and technology.

It was jointly organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Pakistan, COMSTECH, and the International Center for Chemical and Biological Center the University of Karachi.

The International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences at the University of Karachi, the Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), and the People’s Republic of China collaborated on this project on space mutagenesis for crop improvement.

Political leaders, diplomats, scientists, and senior officers from the Ministry and its affiliated organizations were present at the ceremony.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, Prof. Dr. Ahsan Iqbal spoke at the ceremony and said that the “seeds in Space” project is a turning point in the scientific cooperation between the two nations.

The project offers a forum for researchers to exchange information and assets, stimulating the economy. This endeavor will significantly advance research, herbal medicine, and space science.

According to him, the launch of a collaborative project by MOST, the Government of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, ICCBS Karachi, the Pakistan Science Foundation, and COMSTECH marks the longstanding friendship between Pakistan and China.

Since establishing diplomatic ties in 1951, the two nations have kept up a solid relationship and are committed to advancing cooperation in all areas of shared interest.

Their dedication to enhancing the “All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership” between the two countries is further demonstrated by this new project.

While on her part Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, Pang Chunxue, commended the scientists of both nations for their collaboration on a fruitful scientific experiment.

According to her, the experiment is a turning point in S&T cooperation between China and Pakistan and will go down in the annals of their friendship.

She added that both nations are dedicated to fostering open and inclusive cooperation in order to benefit their people and the prosperity of their countries. Pang asserted that she thought the closer collaboration would result in more gains.

Aside from that, Professor Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, Coordinator-General of COMSTECH and Director of ICCBS also spoke at the event.

He said that ICCBS is pleased to announce a significant milestone in the cooperation between Pakistan and China in the fields of space science and technology with the successful sending of seeds into space.

This crucial step will fuel future cooperation in the field of space science and represents a turning point in the two nations’ growth and partnership. One of Pakistan’s most prestigious institutions, ICCBS, will keep working to promote S&T cooperation.

Addressing the participants, Federal Secretary for the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ghulam Muhammad Memon, added that “The Ministry of Science and Technology proudly announces the successful return of seeds sent to space.

The seeds were sent by Pakistani and Chinese scientists in collaboration with the China Manned Space Agency. We appreciate their efforts and look forward to continued partnerships in the field of Science, Technology, and Innovation.”

He went on to further add, “The Ministry remains committed to supporting the growth and development of our scientists.” Likewise, PSF promotes coordination among S&T institutions, according to Professor Dr. Shahid Baig.

Professor Dr. Shahid Baig is the Chairman of the Pakistan Science Foundation. Pakistan’s academic and strategic infrastructure is strengthened as a result of support from Chinese institutions. In this vein, PSF is a crucial tool for socioeconomic growth.

Trigonella foenum-graecum (Methi), Lawsonia inermis (Mehndi), Moringa oleifera (Sohanjna), Withania somnifera (ashwagandha), Tribulus terrestris (Gokhroo), Gossypium arboretum (Mughal punta dana), and Caesalpinia bonducella (Kuranjwa) were among the seeds.

The space mutagenesis for crop improvement project is an incredible piece of research that will open up a tonne of doors for future study on other planets.

It will also make it easier to grow plants in adverse weather like drought and floods brought on by global warming.

This project marks an important turning point in the development of Pakistani medicinal plants, drug discovery, and clinical trials as the cultivation of medicinal plants is still in its infancy in that country.

Professor Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, Prof. Dr. Atia tul Wahab, Dr. Yan Wang, Dr. Shakeel Ahmed, Prof. Dr. Ahsana Dar Tariq, and Prof. Dr. Ghazala H. Rizwani were among the scientists who contributed to the project.