International Basic Course on Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons Held in Pakistan

20 October 2011

The National Authority of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the OPCW jointly organized the course, which was conducted from 10 to14 October 2011 at the National Centre of Physics in Islamabad. The course related to an offer made by Pakistan under Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and was attended by 26 experts from 19 States Parties representing four regional groups.* 

The course was opened by the OPCW Deputy Director-General, Mrs Grace Asirwatham, and Ambassador Munawar Saeed Bhatti, Additional Foreign Secretary in Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Deputy Director-General expressed appreciation for the Government of Pakistan’s active role in implementing the Convention and for its invaluable support to the OPCW, citing the Basic Course as a demonstration of Pakistan’s continuing contribution.  

Ambassador Bhatti stressed the importance of Article X as a means to foster the exchange of preventive capacities and expertise against the possible use of chemical weapons or toxic industrial chemicals for malicious purposes.  He highlighted several legislative, organizational and administrative measures taken by Pakistan to fulfil its obligations under the Convention, and reiterated his country’s pledge to provide protective equipment for the Technical Secretariat and its offer to host a Regional Assistance and Protection Centre. Ambassador Mr Bhatti stated that Pakistan was also willing to host such courses on an annual basis. 

Following the opening ceremony, Mrs Asirwatham and Ambassador Mr Bhatti witnessed a demonstration of OPCW-approved assistance and protection equipment developed by Pakistan’s Defence Science and Technology Organization (DESTO). 

While in Islamabad the Deputy Director-General also met with Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary and Ambassador Bhatti to discuss various aspects of CWC implementation and visited the Wide Area Network (WAN) of the National Authority. 

The course provided participants practical hands-on training and familiarized them with assistance and protection responses to a range of chemical-related incidents. The participants exchanged experiences and best practices, and identified areas where value could be added for effectively coordinating assistance and protection, and emergency preparedness and response.  

* Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Georgia, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Moldova, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates.