Lahore - Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Planetarium at Chauburji, established for educating and providing constructive entertainment to citizens, is seemingly heading towards its unfortunate but sure end. The deplorable and outdated standards of imparting knowledge and entertainment are proved by the fact that no innovation or up-gradation has been introduced since its inauguration in 1987. Zero funding and lack of interest by the PIA management has halted the progress of the planetarium. Absence of proper funding is indeed the main problem, says Manager PIA Planetarium Shehzad while talking to The Nation. The film, which is the main attraction of the planetarium, has nothing much to offer to the visitors. The lack of interest by the authorities has driven this stimulated spaceship to a status of a crippled one, not flying beyond the solar system. The utterly bewildering fact is that Pluto is still taught as a part of the Solar System though the notion has been discarded a year ago. The reason behind the serious blunder is owed to the fact that the current programme Jahan Aur Bhi Hain was made in 2005 and could not be updated after the new scientific discovery. In this regard, Shehzad said, The video is made by the revenue we earn or whenever the planetarium gets funds from the PIA. And unfortunately that happens once in a blue moon since the PIA has not even set up a budget for the planetarium. The total expenditure for preparing one slideshow is 0.4 million rupees, whereas to make an updated advanced quality video the PIA needs to have funds generously. Shehzad said, If the planetarium gets enough funds we can definitely raise the education and entertainment standards. Without generous funding no step for progress can be taken since acquiring new equipments requires money. The PIA Planetarium is a jewel which suffers from neglect and lack of awareness amongst the public, says an amateur astronomer Hassan Ghazali from the Society of the Sun. He also represents the country as an ambassador of Starpeace, an international organisation. The planetarium occupies a prime land with basic infrastructure for a scientific and cultural hub to be built around it, he further adds. Amateur astronomers like Hassan Ghazali and Umair Asim from Lahore Astronomical Society (LAST) are trying hard to promote astronomy in the region. They have already organised stargazing nights at the planetarium. The Society of the Sun has been collaborating with local partners to put up telescopes so that general public who visit the planetarium or enjoy the park in sitting area may see planets and stars like they have never seen before, says Umair. The capacity of the abandoned planetarium can be enhanced if PIA pays attention; but perhaps the high-ups and its guardians are least interested. Some people are just thanking God that they have not replaced the planetarium with a plaza or something commercial. Though the aim of Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) is promoting astronomy but the role of our national space agency is questioned not only by the amateur astronomy societies in Lahore but also by the astronomy-lovers all over the country. We have not been in collaboration with the PIA planetarium so far, as we are separate agency, says Murtaza, a Suparco official. He also claimed of setting telescopes and arranging seminars occasionally at the planetarium, although the astronomy-lovers and the planetarium management express their complete ignorance about such activities. Currently, Suparco is also the single point of contact for the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) but it is doubted that they have any interest in planetarium. Speaking about the prevailing condition, the planetarium manager says the PIA can bring improvement if it works according to a proper plan and allocates a specific budget sincerely. Even if a small share of budget spent on the advertisements at the international level is allocated to the planetarium, its functions can be performed more effectively, he adds. Since PIA is a bankrupt corporation, such generous funding for planetarium is out of the question. Therefore, a logical approach on the behalf of PIA would be to transfer it to another ministry or find a private sponsor, amateur astronomers societies suggested. It can be placed under the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Science and Technology, says Hassan Ghazali.