Pakistan rubbishes report of covert ‘bio-warfare’ deal with China

Islamabad: Pakistan on Sunday dismissed a report published by an Australian news agency regarding China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology conducting some alleged covert operations in the country.

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Allegations of covert China-Pakistan deal in bio-warfare

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A July 23 report by the said news outlet ‘The Klaxon’ while citing unnamed intelligence experts, claimed “As part of a broader offensive against India and Western rivals, Pakistan and China have entered a secret three-year agreement to expand potential bio-warfare capabilities, including several research projects related to the deadly agent anthrax.”

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Wuhan Institute of Virology had “set up operations in Pakistan as part of China’s broader offensive against India and Western rivals,” the report further alleged.

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‘Distorted facts and fabrications’

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The Foreign Office spokesperson dismissed the report, calling it a baseless, politically-motivated and unfounded story.

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“It is composed merely of distorted facts and fabrications and doesn’t give a specific reference, rather quotes anonymous sources,” said Aisha Farooqi in a statement.

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She explained that there was “nothing secret” about the Bio-Safety Level-3 (BSL-3) laboratory referred to in the report. She added Pakistan had been sharing information about the facility with the signatory states of the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention (BTWC) in its submission of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).

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“The facility is meant for diagnostic and protective system improvement by research and development on emerging health threats, surveillance and disease outbreak investigation,” claimed Farooqi.

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“The attempt to cast aspersions about the facility is particularly absurd against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has highlighted the need for better preparedness in the areas of disease surveillance and control and international collaboration in that regard, consistent with Article X of BTWC,” she added in the statement.

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Pakistan abiding by international commitments

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The spokesperson reiterated that Pakistan “strictly abides” by the BTWC commitments and has been “one of the most vocal supporters” for a strong verification mechanism to ensure full compliance by the states complying with the convention.

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“The attempt to cast aspersions about the facility is particularly absurd against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic,” regretted the FO spokesperson adding the pandemic had highlighted the need for better preparedness in the disease surveillance and control and international collaborations in the matter which is consistent with Article X of the BTWC.

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The story in ‘The Klaxon’ claimed that anthrax-like pathogens’ are being developed by the Wuhan Institute of Virology as potential biological warfare.

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In April this year, the said lab came under scrutiny with the US probing whether the virus actually originated in the said lab.

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The Morning and Evening Brief

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