ISLAMABAD: The European Council for Nuclear Research (Cern) has decided to grant Pakistan the status of an associate member.

Pakistan is the first Asian country and third after Turkey and Serbia to have received the associate membership.

The decision was taken at a session of the 21-member Cern Council held in Geneva on Thursday.

“It is an acknowledgement that Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state with strong credentials in using civil nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, including in the areas of power generation, agriculture and medicine,” the ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement.

Having received Cern’s associate membership, Pakistan looks forward to benefiting from and contributing more intensively to the increasingly innovative and challenging initiatives in science and technology, it adds.

The council took the decision on the recommendation of its task force which visited Pakistan early this year. Members of the task force held talks with senior officials of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and visited various nuclear research institutions in the country. Pakistan had formally applied for an associate membership in February 2013.

The country has a two-decade long history of collaboration with Cern which began with the signing of a Cooperation Agreement in 1994.

Since then, Pakistan has carried out a number of successful projects involving a variety of technical disciplines with sophisticated technologies and precision engineering science, including the manufacture of various equipment and components of Cern’s Large Hadron Collider and associated experiments.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2014

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