CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer and the Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Ansar Parvez, signed today in Islamabad, in the presence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, a document admitting the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to CERN Associate Membership, subject to ratification by the Government of Pakistan.
"Pakistan has been a strong participant in CERN’s endeavours in science and technology since the 1990s," said Heuer. "Bringing nations together in a peaceful quest for knowledge and education is one of the most important missions of CERN. Welcoming Pakistan as a new Associate Member State is therefore for our Organization a very significant event and I'm looking forward to enhanced cooperation with Pakistan in the near future."
"It is indeed a historic day for science in Pakistan. Today's signing of the agreement is a reward for the collaboration of our scientists, engineers and technicians with CERN over the past two decades," said Parvez. "This Membership will bring in its wake multiple opportunities for our young students and for industry to learn and benefit from CERN. To us in Pakistan, science is not just pursuit of knowledge, it is also the basic requirement to help us build our nation."
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and CERN signed a Co-operation Agreement in 1994. The signature of several protocols followed this agreement, and Pakistan contributed to building the CMS and ATLAS experiments. Pakistan contributes today to the ALICE, ATLAS and CMS experiments and operates a Tier-2 computing centre in the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid that helps to process and analyse the massive amounts of data the experiments generate. Pakistan is also involved in accelerator developments, making it an important partner for CERN.
The Associate Membership of Pakistan will open a new era of cooperation that will strengthen the long-term partnership between CERN and the Pakistani scientific community. Associate Membership will allow Pakistan to participate in the governance of CERN, through attending the meetings of the CERN Council. Moreover, it will allow Pakistani scientists to become members of the CERN staff, and to participate in CERN’s training and career-development programmes. Finally, it will allow Pakistani industry to bid for CERN contracts, thus opening up opportunities for industrial collaboration in areas of advanced technology.