Federal Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Sunday said Pakistan is committed to sending its first astronaut to space by 2022.

China would collaborate with Pakistan in its space mission, he said during an interview, adding the selection process for the astronaut would start in 2020. He revealed that initially, 50 individuals would be selected, but the list will eventually be shortened to 25 in 2022. Out of these 25, only 1 will go to space.

The Pakistan Air Force, he said, would play an important role in the astronaut's selection.

To a question, the minister said the debris of India s first space mission namely Shakti , which had failed, was even posing dangers to the space missions of other countries.

However, he also said that the collaboration of Pakistan and India in the fields of science and technology could prove fruitful for the region.

The Pakistan Space Science Education Center was playing an important role for the promotion of space sciences in the country, he added.

Namira Salim, a Pakistani explorer who lives between Monaco and Dubai, is already slated to be Pakistan's first "astronaut", although if Salim were to go to space, she would be travelling in what would be the first commercial flight to space.