My friend and I were the first Pakistanis to receive tweets from Space!

Published: June 22, 2014

During an ISS pass, people from at least three cities of Pakistan, Hyderabad, Karachi and Lahore, saw the ISS passing right above their heads and waved at it.

2010 was ending and I had no idea about the amazing things that were going to happen. Since it was the end of year, my old astronomer friend Ramiz Qureshi told me that he wants Pakistani astronomy enthusiasts on Twitter to become a part of the International Space Station (ISS) wave.

All was set and during the last week of December we decided to set things in motion. During an ISS pass, people from at least three cities of Pakistan – Hyderabad, Karachi and Lahore – saw the ISS passing right above their heads and waved at it. Once done, people tweeted their sentiments regarding the wave. It was perhaps the first time something like this had happened in Pakistan.

Qureshi and I decided to take things to the next level. He mentioned Astronaut Scott Kelly, who was the station commander on the ISS at the time, while I mentioned Astronaut Paolo Nespoli, who was also aboard the ISS. We were already quite content with the whole thing and the way we had managed to arrange the event.

The very next day, I received a text from Qureshi asking me to check my Twitter feed immediately because something ‘amazing’ had happened. Unfortunately, the power was out at the time and I was unable to use my computer so I couldn’t check right away. But as usual, curiosity was killing me! So, as soon as the power came back, I logged onto Twitter.

It took me a while to realise what had happened.

We had become one of the first Pakistanis to receive tweets from space!

But that was not all! Mr Nespoli was going to send a picture of Karachi from space! And he did!

Although, it is a mystery whether the astronaut had gotten confused, or not, whilst taking a picture, because the comments on the picture itself suggested that the picture tweeted was not Karachi but was, in fact, Athens.

Regardless of that, I considered this to be one of the biggest achievements, not just for myself or Qureshi, but for Pakistan as a whole. This was something that all Pakistanis could cherish. We received tweets from space guys!

Here’s to the enthusiasm of those who want to know about the cosmos.

“We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” – Carl Sagan

This blog originally appeared here.

Syed Zeeshan Ahmed

Syed Zeeshan Ahmed

A writer, who loves exploring horizons; literature, music, movies, past and beyond. He tweets as @ImZeesh (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Racer

    Congratulations on this marvellous achievement!


  • نائلہ

    2010? Lol a bit late, but never the less, good on you :) Recommend

  • Hasan

    Cool! Now the next goal should be to be the first Pakistanis to tweet FROM space! I believe you can do it :)Recommend

  • Fieldmartial

    i couldn’t find this article useful it happened in 2010 and posting it in 2014 What a waste of 10 minutesRecommend

  • Faulitics

    :-). You are in the history books now!Recommend

  • Ali

    on scale of 1 to naive how ten are you? :|Recommend

  • Supriya Arcot

    Hmmm .. I can imagine the adreline rush .Recommend

  • Mujahid Latif

    @juma khan….did your comment solved all the problems of Pakistan….people always busy in pulling each other legs rather then appreciating someone.Recommend

  • Usama

    Awesome! :)Recommend

  • Ramiz Qureshi

    People have commented on this picture when it appeared on the ET Facebook pages that “Hey, great. What an achivement (sarcastic)”
    I said this in reply:
    We never said it was a real achievement, although still it was a pretty cool feeling. However I DO conduct astronomy sessions on behalf of an astronomy society I am part of (and i have just this morning conducted a solar astronomy session). Look us up. We are called the Karachi Astronomers Society – and we conduct astronomy sessions EVERY week.

    My question is: What have you done since waking up this morning besides commenting on a status/post?Recommend

  • aatif

    good jobRecommend

  • Hasnain Mamdani


  • Parvez Iqbal Malik

    Well done Zeeshan and friends. Made us all proud. Juma Khan get a life. What have you done ever to get published, what to talk about your “solving problems”?Recommend

  • mememe

    Chris Hadfield responded to my request and took a picture of Karachi from space and posted it on Twitter last year. It’s a great feeling getting the country involved internationally in a mention of humane interaction as opposed to a coverage of violence.

    Enjoy your feeling of achievement! And thanks to all pakistanis who participate in these things and eliminate the stigma surrounding us, little by little (y)


  • Lap pe ati thi tamanna

    inb4 negativity trolls “omg how could you decide to live your life and be happy instead of solving every single one of pakistan’s problems shame on you for following your dreams where’s my bijli/pani/roti”Recommend

  • astonished2010

    I’m not sure if it it is something to celebrate or to be ashamed of if we are proud of a tweet received from the outer space . Other nations are busy sending astronauts to space, and we are content receiving a message from them.Recommend

  • Syed Zeeshan Ahmed

    Thank you for all the appreciation. For those saying this is not an achievement: we never claimed it was one. But what I can say is this: how many of you even knew about ISS before this post? Or how many of you knew that you could actually see the ISS yourself?I am one of the co-founders of Hyderabad Astronomers Society, Pakistan along withAstronomer Bilal and Amjad Nizamani. We conduced the first-ever astronomy event in Hyderabad, and went on to do collaborations with Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, SUPARCO etc. We were also invited to do a session as part of an IEEE event in Jamshoro. We have also been a part of official World Space Week event in 2012.

    As Ramiz Qureshi said, ‘What have you done since waking up besides commenting on a status?’ I would only ask the same question.

    And with due respect, stop complaining over non-issues, it’s a mainstream thing anyway. Be different.Recommend

  • bonga

    Wow…so childish…

    The nation is proud of receiving a tweet? LOLRecommend

  • astonished2010

    Hmmm. Actually you did call it a great achievement for Pakistan:
    “Regardless of that, I considered this to be one of the biggest achievements, not just for myself or Qureshi, but for Pakistan as a whole”.
    That part of your blog understandably drew the negative comments it would have served you better if you had stayed away from hyperbole and emphasized what you said in your comment instead of focusing on getting the tweet.Recommend

  • 2#

    haha they are thinking what does that even mean. for me, its 3Recommend

  • Syed Zeeshan Ahmed

    Yes, thank you for pointing that out. My mistake. I missed it in the first place. But here’s the thing. Calling it an achievement is purely in terms of its worth. I mean, how many of the people actually realize what it is? It might be a simple thing (read: achievement) for me, and I (personally) believe for the country as well. But let’s not the miss the whole point of this. In a country where science is often ignored, and the country where scientists are rarely seen, something like this can make a difference, if not throughout then surely to a tiny extent: and that will be cool.Recommend

  • Ramiz Qureshi

    All things considered, you WOULD call it an achievement, even if a personal one. The effort the people *I know* have put in for the promotion of astronomy in Pakistan is a LOT and – this is just one way it paid off.Recommend

  • Awe

    Awesome dude.Recommend

  • Natasha Afridi

    This is awesome!!Recommend

  • Xman

    @ Syed Zeeshan : Don’t be put off by negative comments. These guys can’t look beyond their noses, least understand about stars and beyond. Indeed we need to create more buzz around such activities, who knows, somewhere ,some curious little child is inspired by this incident. We (as a nation) already have a huge appetite for astrologers and religious moon gazers. It doesn’t hurt to associate with real science every once in a while.Recommend

  • MA

    This post just shares some of the little things in life that could bring a smile to our faces. Why pull down each other at every chance we get? If nothing else, it just talks about space exploration in Pakistan. How many of you go out on clear nights and find constellations, I have done that.
    Instead of encouraging our people to go ahead in life, we just seize every opportunity to bring each other down. Very sad, indeed.
    Criticism is essential, but let’s just make it more constructive.Recommend