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BIOSECURITY AND PAKISTAN: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL

  • 来源:反恐研究院特约专稿
  • 发布者:反恐法学院
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BIOSECURITY AND PAKISTAN:

A CRITICAL APPRAISAL

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

Abstract

The biological threats have been arising from both

natural and man-made pathogens. Indeed, the dual-use

characteristic of biological research increases the chances of

its misuse. The biological research dissemination, however,

could not be banned because of the immense use of biological

agents in human medicines, veterinary prosperity, and

agriculture productivity. The benevolent and malevolent use

of biological sciences intensifies the significance of

Biosecurity. Despite its importance, Biosecurity receives

inconsequential attention in Pakistan. The focus on

Biosecurity in Pakistan is not much different from other

developing countries. The people of Pakistan are vulnerable

to Biosecurity related challenges. The complex nature of

Biosecurity challenges and underscores that no nation and

no institution is capable to deal with them on its own. The

only way to deal with these threats and challenges is through

an integrated and allied strategic approach, which includes

both non-military and military capabilities of like

Introduction

The revolution in biological-sciences and biological-

technology signifies Biosecurity in the twenty-first century. 1

Biosecurity is often interchangeably used or confused with

Bio-safety. The concepts of Bio-safety and Biosecurity deal

with related, but distinctly different puzzles. Bio-safety is a

well-established concept with a widely-accepted meaning and

international guidance on how it is put into practice at the

national level. 2 The Bio-safety measures aim to prevent the

unintentional exposure to pathogens and toxins, or their

accidental release. 3 The term Biosecurity is a comparatively

new one, and thereby its’ concept has been evolving. Since

2003, in the setting of the Biological and Toxin Weapons

Biosecurity and Pakistan: A Critical Appraisal

NDU Journal 2015

2

Convention (BTWC), Biosecurity has most commonly been

used to refer to the mechanisms that establish and maintain

the security and oversight of pathogenic microorganisms,

toxins and relevant resources. 4 Hence, Biosecurity protects

germs from people. And its measures focus on the prevention

of theft, misuse, or intentional release of pathogens and

toxins. 5 Today, however, the Biosecurity scope is broader than

the BTWC delineation.

The impressive advancements in biotechnology or rapid

advances in genetic engineering and the study of pathogenesis

(the molecular mechanisms by which microbes cause disease)

alarm that terrorists’ could be able to create “improved” bio-

warfare agents for their nefarious objectives. The ability of

scientists to produce life from scratch provides an option to

the terrorist group to synthesize deadly pathogens having

greater lethality, environmental stability, difficulty of

detection, and resistance to existing drugs and vaccines.

Jonathan B. Tucker pointed out: “The efficient dispersal of a

few kilograms of a biological agent, such as the dried spores of

the anthrax bacterium, over a troop concentration or a major

city could sicken or kill many thousands of people.” 6 Tucker’s

anxiety about biological agents was shared by numerous

security observers, who believed that “Biotechnology is one of

the two technologies that truly deserve the label ‘agent of mass

destruction’ and it is by far the more accessible of the two.” 7

Tucker also pointed out that: “the limited quantities of

biological agent required for a devastating attack could be

produced with small-scale equipment, occupying perhaps only

a single room, and nearly all such equipment is dual-use and

available throughout the world.” 8 The dual-use phenomenon

added a subverting variable in the Biosecurity. In simple

words, a scientists or laboratory technician can steal a small

quantity of dangerous pathogens and use it to develop

biological weapon himself or pass it onto a terrorist group for

monetary or even ideological reasons. 9

Although, the bioterrorism centralized Biosecurity debate,

especially after the anthrax use in fall 2001, yet it has kept the

discourse within the traditional security paradigm. The Severe

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

NDU Journal 2015 3

Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) contagion in 2002-

2003, 10 Influenza A virus epidemic of 2006 (avian influenza),

2007 Equine influenza, 2009 Swine flu and again the Swine

flu pandemic outbreak in India in December 2014,

11

have

alarmed security analysts. Consequently, Biosecurity has

emerged as an important area of investigation for the Human

Security analysts in the developed world. Conversely,

bioterrorism, emerging diseases (SARS) or reemerging

infectious disease (tuberculosis, plague) and pandemic flu

strains, which are all within the context of rapid global travel,

have failed to draw serious response in the developing states.

The focus on Biosecurity in Pakistan is not much different

from the other developing states. The people of Pakistan are

vulnerable to the Biosecurity related challenges. It was

reported that on April 14, 2015, a 57-year-old man died in

Lahore after allegedly contracting swine flu. 12 On May 8, 2015,

a person died in Islamabad due to Crimean-Congo

Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF). 13 Three deaths caused by

Naegleria fowleri, commonly known as the ‘brain-eating’

amoeba, in Karachi during the first half of 2015. 14 Around 500

camels infected by ‘mysterious disease’ in Noorpur Thal

(District Khushab-Punjab) and adjoining areas in May 2015. 15

Despite the government of Pakistan’s serious efforts, Polio

remains endemic disease in the country. 16 Today, “Pakistan is

far away from target set by WHO and we failed to completely

eradicate polio from Pakistan. 17 According to the Global Polio

Eradication Initiative (GPEI), four sanctuaries for the polio

virus exist in Pakistan, i.e. Quetta, the districts of Qila

Abdullah and Pishin and Karachi. 18

The mosquito borne diseases are common in Pakistan. For

example, in 2011, Dengue caused havoc in Lahore. 19 The foot-

and-mouth (FMD—a pathogen of cattle and other ungulates)

disease is very common in the rural areas of Pakistan. 20 The

common man live stocks in the rural areas of the country

suffered immensely from this disease. Similarly, Pakistani

agriculture sector, especially citrus and mango growing

regions are sufferer of diseases affecting the trees and plants.

The citrus greening, caused by the bacteria Liberibacter

Biosecurity and Pakistan: A Critical Appraisal

NDU Journal 2015

4

asiaticus 21 takes its toll on the productivity of the citrus. The

mango growers’ economy severely affected during the recent

years, especially in District Multan and Sind province. The

repetition of the diseases reflects the poor management of

Biosecurity in Pakistan.

The objective of this study is to critically examine the

Biosecurity’s puzzles. The key research questions are: What is

meant by Biosecurity? What is the Spectrum of the Biosecurity

threat? What are the alarming facts? What is the situation in

Pakistan? The answers of these questions assist us in chalking

out the appropriate countermeasures to redress the

Biosecurity challenges in the twenty-first century. The first

section contains discussion on the theoretical

contextualization. It is followed by securitization of

Biosecurity phenomenon. The third section briefly highlights

the spectrum of biological threats. The fourth section

deliberates about Pakistan and Biosecurity. The fifth section

contains discussion on the Biosecurity related challenges to

Pakistan. The final section contains countermeasures.

Theoretical Contextualization

The Traditional and Non-Traditional security theorists

have been critically examining the significant issues like bio-

risks, bio-safety, and bio-security that impinge on daily

human existence and welfare. In the traditional security

paradigm, the BTWC prevents biological warfare and the

deliberate use of disease as a weapon. The Convention,

however, has failed to eradicate the stocks of Biological

weapons completely, because of the absence of verification

and enforcement mechanism. The Convention also could not

dissuade the use of Biological agents by the local, national and

international terrorist groups for their nefarious objectives in

the prevailing asymmetrical warfare.

The Non-Traditional Security school of thought warned

that the entire world has been gradually inching towards bio-

insecurity. While discussing current non-traditional security

threats, Mely Caballero-Anthony pointed out: “Aside from

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

NDU Journal 2015 5

being non-military in nature, these challenges share other

common characteristics: they are transnational in scope

(neither purely domestic nor purely inter-state); they arise at

very short notice and are transmitted rapidly as a result of

globalization and the communication revolution; they cannot

be prevented entirely, but can be mitigated through coping

mechanisms; national solutions are often inadequate, and

thus regional and multilateral cooperation is essential; and

finally, the object of security is no longer just the state (state

sovereignty and territorial integrity) but also the people —

their survival, well-being and dignity, at both individual and

societal level.” 22 This understanding of non-traditional

security challenges underscores that infectious disease, such

as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the H5N1-

Bird flu virus, etc, have the capacity to detrimentally affect

national security.

The non-traditional security theorists also pointed out that

Biosecurity of a state is very much vulnerable to the

atmospheric changes due to natural calamity and man-made

environmental degrading agents and population growth. The

state’s national policies for food security and scientific

inventions for the comfortability of citizens have serious

repercussions for global atmospheric system. In spite of this,

people have non-serious approach towards Biosecurity and

therefore, the link between combating biological weapons and

combating infectious diseases has not yet been established.

This raises a question: how real is the threat? More precisely,

demographic change, climate change, economic growth and

the rising demand for resources have all posed serious threat

to Biosecurity. Hence, there is a need to prevent, deter and

deal with the threat of Biosecurity.

Securitization of Biosecurity

The rise of Non-Traditional security concept and

asymmetric warfare pattern in the inter-state and intra-state

theaters have signified Biosecurity puzzle in the post-Cold

War security calculus. 23 Laura A. Meyerson and Jamie K.

Reaser argued that: “Imported goods and animals can harbor

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6

undetected species such as microbial pathogens, arthropods,

or plant seeds with the potential to become invasive and cause

significant harm.” 24 The U.S. anthrax attacks in 2001 and

revelations about al Qaeda’s attempts to develop a Biological

Weapons (BW) program alarmed the policymakers,

particularly Bush Administration in the United States about

the Biosecurity imbroglio. Kendall Hoyt and Stephen G.

Brooks argued: “Even before the anthrax attacks in the fall of

2001, there was a growing understanding within the security

and global health communities that pathogens pose a threat

equal to, if not greater than, military might. Biological

weapons offer a relatively inexpensive and surreptitious

method of inflicting mass casualties.” 25 Notwithstanding, the

term Biosecurity was originally used to describe an approach

designed to prevent or decrease the spread of naturally

occurring infectious diseases and pests in crops and livestock.

The approach’s primary concern was the threats to animal and

plant health and to biodiversity, which might have an indirect

impact on human health, but not direct effect. More precisely,

in veterinary and agricultural fields the term denoted

protecting biological resources from foreign or invasive

species. In the late 1990s, the threat of bioterrorism gave a

new definition to Biosecurity. In this context, Biosecurity is

defined as “the protection of microbial (bacteria causing

diseases) agents from loss, theft, diversion or intentional

use.” 26 During the last decade, the scholars having

multidisciplinary background had intensively debated the

concept of Biosecurity. The primary objective of the debate

was to ensure the physical security of a designated list of

dangerous pathogens. Consequently, Biosecurity definition

has become more explicit and its focus has been broadened. 27

Since, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI)

conclusion (in August 2008) that Bruce Ivins, a scientist at

the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease

(USAMRIID), was the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax

letters attack, greater attention has been paid to ensure the

reliability of personnel with access to microbial agents. 28

Bruce Ivins terrorism act had further intensified the

significance of both protection of microbial and dual-use

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NDU Journal 2015 7

biotechnology from scientists’ intentional misuse. This

introduced a comprehensive perspective of Biosecurity. For

instance, the United States National Academy of Science

defined Biosecurity as: “security against the inadvertent,

inappropriate, or intentional malicious or malevolent use of

potentially dangerous biological agents or biotechnology,

including the development, production, stockpiling, or use of

biological weapons as well as outbreaks of newly emergent

and epidemic disease.” 29 While discussion the National

Academy of Science definition of Biosecurity Gregory D.

Koblentz pointed out that: “This definition is characterized by

the inclusion of both deliberate and natural sources of disease

outbreaks, the threats posed by pathogens as well as

biotechnology, and the vulnerability of humans, plants, and

animals to biological threats.” 30 This understanding of

Biosecurity necessitated the protection of germs from people.

So that; an individual or a group could not steal, misuse, or

intentional release the pathogens and toxins. 31

The Americans realization of the intensity of biological

related threats contributed positively in the Biosecurity

debate. In the aftermath of 2001 Anthrax letter attacks, the

Biosecurity has become one of the primary security concerns

in the United States. Its’ National Science Advisory Board on

Biosecurity while keeping in consideration the oversight of

dual-use research, warned that a “biological research with

legitimate scientific purpose that may be misused to pose a

biological threat to public health and/or national security.” 32

It has broadened the scope of Biosecurity beyond the

pathogenic organisms that were the focus of previous

definitions to include techniques and technologies that can be

used to create new pathogenic organisms or biologically active

compounds.

Although dual-use characteristic of biological research

increases the chances of misuse, yet its dissemination cannot

be prohibited due to the use of biological agents in human

medicine, veterinary prosperity, and agriculture productivity.

Moreover, under the Article I of the BTWC States Parties are

authorized to acquire and manipulate pathogens for

Biosecurity and Pakistan: A Critical Appraisal

NDU Journal 2015

8

protective, prophylactic (refers activities related to the

protection of the human body from the effects of organisms or

substances to which an individual might be directly exposed)

and other peaceful purposes. Such activities include biological

defense programs. The dissemination and legitimate

biological defense programs increase the probability of

biological attacks; boost emergence and re-emergence of

biological diseases, and also make difficult to distinguish

legitimate from illicit research and development activities.

Though, the Australia Group controls or limits the export of

materials and technologies relevant to the production of

chemical and biological weapons to proliferant countries as

well as non-state actors, such as terrorists, 33 yet this control

apparatus is inconclusive.

The dual-use biological equipment-items that can be used

for both peaceful research and biological weapons production,

and the global expansion of the biotechnology and

pharmaceutical sectors undermine the effectiveness of

Australia Group export controls mechanism. Realizing the

loopholes in Australia Group controlling system; the United

States executed ‘Patriot Act of 2001 and the Public Health

Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Act of 2002’, which

criminalized the unauthorized possession, use, or transfer of

the forty-nine biological agents or toxins listed by HHS.

Individuals working with these agents must register with HHS

and institute access controls, handling and reporting

requirements, and personnel screening for their

laboratories. 34 Despite these arrangements; Biosecurity

remains vulnerable to acute risks. The dual applications of

Chimeric Organism, Synthetic Biology, Synthetic Genomics,

Molecular Biology, Bioregulators, and Genomic sciences or

the “new biology” could be misused to undermine Biosecurity.

Spectrum of Biological Threats

The preceding section underscores the biological threats

arising from natural or man-made pathogen. It identifies

factors that pose challenge to Biosecurity and draws our

attention to the reality that there is a broad array of biological

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

NDU Journal 2015 9

threats, natural as well as deliberate. It marked the risk that

misuse of the life sciences could result in the deliberate or

inadvertent release of biological material in a manner that

sickens or kills people, animals, or plants, or renders unusable

critical resources. The following table explains the spectrum of

biological risks, ranging from natural occurring factious

disease to deliberate use of disease as a weapon.

Spectrum of Biological Threats

Naturally

occurring

diseases

Resurrect

infectious

diseases

Unintended

consequences

of research

Laboratory

incidents

Lack of

awareness

Negligence Deliberate

misuse

Source: Terence Taylor, “Safeguarding Advances in the Life

Sciences,” EMBO Reports, Vol. 7, Special Issue (July 2006), p.

S61.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1490302

/pdf/7400725.pdf, accessed on September 15, 2010.

Biosecurity and Pakistan

Pakistan has developed a modest bioscience and

biotechnological infrastructure. It is a debatable variable that

whether or not Islamabad is sensitive to the gravity of

Biosecurity challenges. Nevertheless, Islamabad has taken a

few constructive measures, which generate impression that

the Government of Pakistan has not entirely insensitive to the

Biosecurity quandary. For instance, Pakistan is party to BTWC

and Convention on Biodiversity. It is signatory to the 2001

Cartagena Protocol on Biodiversity, 35 and had promulgated a

national legislation entitled, Export Control on Goods,

Technologies, Material and Equipment related to Nuclear

and Biological Weapons and their Delivery Systems Act,

2004 in September 2004. 36 In addition, the National Institute

of Health (NIH) located at Islamabad regularly refurbishes

guidelines and monitors research in life sciences to protect

Pakistani citizens from any precarious use of dangerous

pathogens. Its public health strategy has been focusing on the

eradication of microbes by using powerful medical weaponry,

i.e. antibiotics, anti-malarias vaccines, etc. On June 22, 2005,

Ambassador Masood Khan, Pakistan’s permanent

Biosecurity and Pakistan: A Critical Appraisal

NDU Journal 2015

10

representative at Geneva claimed at the Meeting of Experts to

the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development,

Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and

Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction that Pakistan had

adopted following measures for the protection of human

beings, animals and plants:

It developed an elaborate system, supported by 2,000

reporting stations, for early detection and surveillance

of diseases.

Its National Bio-safety guidelines covering laboratories,

research field studies and commercial release of

(GMOs) Genetically Modified Organisms and products

thereof - were approved in May 2005. These guidelines

have the support of the academic institutions, R & D

organizations, NGOs, and industry and are in

conformity with UNIDO, FAO, WHO, and UNEP

guidelines duly adapted to Pakistani socio-economic

and geographical environment.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) developed and

implemented a code of conduct in accordance with the

International Health Regulations (IHR) adopted by the

World Health Assembly.

A Bio-safety Committee has been set up to monitor the

research and development activities in life sciences and

ensures that the conduct of the scientists in consonance

with the provisions of the BTWC.

Faculties and students of leading universities and

research institutions have been sensitized of their

responsibilities for Bio-safety and Biosecurity. The

premier institutions have been encouraged to develop

their own codes of conduct.

In September 2004, Pakistan enacted an Act of

Parliament to control export, re-export, trans-shipment

and transit of goods, technologies, material and

equipment related to nuclear and biological weapons. 37

The preceding discussion generates impression that

Islamabad is very much responsive to the Biosecurity and Bio-

safety problems. In reality, these arrangements have

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

NDU Journal 2015 11

constructive effect in the realm of Bio-safety, but have limited

outcome in the sphere of Biosecurity. Importantly, Pakistan

cannot get rid of infectious diseases completely because

microbes and the insects, rodents, and other animals that

transmit infectious diseases are in a constant state of

biological flux and evolution. Secondly, dual-use biological

agents are regularly used in the Pakistani laboratories ranging

from those in colleges and universities to more advanced

national institutions and the research and development

facilities run by pharmaceutical companies. Thirdly, it has a

less developed health-care infrastructures, especially in the

rural areas. It is an open secret that pharmaceutical

availability is restricted to urban centers. Whereas, majority of

the Pakistanis reside in rural areas, and thereby medical care

is unavailable to a larger section of the population/society in

the country. Above all, the people have intimidating

indifference to the Biosecurity.

Pakistan: Intimidating Indifference

Pakistan today, is countering both interstate and intrastate

security challenges. Since 9/11, its Federal Administrative

Tribal Areas (FATA) has become the epicenter of the

transnational terrorist organizations, to be called “Terrorist

Syndicate led by al Qaeda”, nefarious activities. 38 These

organizations successfully established their links with the local

(Pakistani) terrorist groups and thereby successfully

conducted acts of terrorism in the urban centers of Pakistan.

The armed forces of Pakistan launched operation Zerb-e-Azb

in June 2015 and successfully destroyed the terrorist

sanctuaries located in Tribal Agencies, especially North

Waziristan. 39 Conversely, the Biosecurity makes faint

scratches on the minds of the Pakistani security observers.

There is hardly any reference to Biosecurity in the Pakistani

electronic and print media. Even the international meetings of

public health and law enforcement officials, which take place

annually in Geneva to discuss improved capabilities for

responding to an attack with biological weapons and

outbreaks of infectious diseases, remained unnoticed in the

Pakistani media. Moreover, Biosecurity has also failed to

Biosecurity and Pakistan: A Critical Appraisal

NDU Journal 2015

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attract the attention of the Pakistani social scientists in their

academic discourse as well as in literature produced by

security analysts’ on National Security of Pakistan. 40

Admittedly, a few Pakistani biologists enthusiastically have

been campaigning to create awareness about both the

Biosecurity puzzles and preventive apparatus of Bio-safety. 41

Similarly, a few organizations have been working for the

environmental sustainability. The natural scientists campaign,

certainly, maximize the awareness and efficacy of the Bio-

safety practices and kit. It could not be an alternative to the

social scientists realization and articulation of Biosecurity

phenomenon. Hence, the initiation of Biosecurity puzzle

discourse among the Pakistani social scientists is imperative.

Although, Pakistan’s geostrategic environment has

germinated a vibrant security debate in the country, yet an

absence of deliberation on Biosecurity warrants a serious

attention. What are the causes of this apathetic attitude

towards Biosecurity in Pakistan? Hypothetically, three factors

seem responsible for this apathetic attitude: First, both India

and Pakistan are parties to the Biological Weapons

Convention. That is why; the Pakistani strategic pundits are

not deliberating the threat of an attack with biological

weapons and outbreaks of infectious diseases. Similarly, the

military planners of Pakistan are least concerned about

biological weapons as well as Biosecurity challenges. Second,

the Tehrik-i-Taliban and al Qaeda attacks in Pakistan,

regardless of their enormous impact, were conventional in

nature till the writing of these lines. A suicidal attack with a

Biological device would have had much more of devastating

effect than their attacks with conventional devices in densely

populated centers of Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi,

and Quetta. The absence of the biological terrorism’s

precedent provides luxury to the civil law enforcement

agencies in Pakistan to ignore the Biosecurity related threats

till the small parcel containing a small amount of deadly

anthrax spores reached in the Prime Minister secretariat at

Islamabad in October 2011. 42 Third, although a few American

security analysts had highlighted the challenges of Biosecurity

in the twenty-first century, yet scarcity of deliberation on the

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NDU Journal 2015 13

subject continues at both global and domestic levels, including

Pakistan. On July 22, 2012, Talat Naseer Pasha (Vice

Chancellor of the University of Veterinary and Animal

Sciences, Lahore) stated that: “No Biosecurity rules exist in

the country.” 43 Hence, both government agencies and civil

society do not comprehend the intensity of infectious

pathogens threat to human beings, live-stoke industry and

valuable crops in the globalized world. Moreover, the

developed world’s donor agencies, which provide mega

financial support to the non-governmental organizations or

civil society activists in Pakistan to create awareness and

devise countermeasures to the non-traditional security

threats, are not forthcoming in Biosecurity realm.

The military planners’ indifference towards Biosecurity

puzzle is understandable. The modern armed forces, including

Pakistani armed forces, possess advanced lethal weapons than

biological weapons, such as nuclear weapons. Secondly, being

a party to BTWC, Pakistani armed forces are prohibited to use

biological weapons. However, the civil law enforcement

agencies or relevant government departments and ministries

(Ministry of Interior/Health/Agriculture) casual or apathetic

attitude towards Biosecurity are incomprehensible.

Significantly, the disinclination of the terrorist groups to

use the infectious pathogens in their terrorist attacks in

Pakistan and elsewhere has generated a misguided impression

about the comprehensiveness of Biosecurity apparatus in the

country. We have fortunately not seen our worst fears become

reality. The objective analysis, however, underscores that

Biological Weapons, presently, lack significance in the

terrorist’s strategy and tactics. Simultaneously, we don’t have

even a hint of the level of bioscientific-biotechnical capability

of transnational terrorist organization possess. Realistically,

nothing can guarantee that ideologically motivated and

manifestly ruthless terrorist groups will not use biological

agents for maximizing their attacks’ impact in the densely

populated centers of Pakistan. In addition, the biological

weapons might be used by the terrorists to cause large-scale

Biosecurity and Pakistan: A Critical Appraisal

NDU Journal 2015

14

damage to our agriculture and live-stock industry by killing

economically valuable crops and animals.

The following are a few factors which need serious

attention of both the state and society because they could

contribute negatively to the Biosecurity apparatus in Pakistan.

Naturally Occurring Diseases

Naturally occurring disease outbreaks are important

source of lethal organisms. Indeed, natural out breaks are the

ultimate origin of the agents historically used in nations’

biological weapons programs. For example: Avian Influenza

and Zoonotic Diseases. The Influenza A virus has various sub

types and is mostly found in birds – particularly wild aquatic

birds. Avian influenza is highly pathogenic, which refers to its

high mortality rate in poultry infections. The virus is also

highly resistant to avian host immune systems, making it

difficult for experts to develop vaccines to the strains, which

have limited effectiveness because of the speed at which

influenza evolves. In a few countries, Avian influenza also

spread from bird-to-human. The avian influence has been

spreading due to the increase in poultry production without

improved Biosecurity measures, free range duck production

and live bird markets – which may allow greater likelihood of

infected birds mixing with healthy birds – and the close

contact between poultry and people during the raising and

slaughter of poultry. 44 Importantly, due to the bird migration,

the deadly viruses spread in other parts of the world. For

example, the summer 1999 outbreak of the West Nile virus in

New York was caused by an infected traveler or mosquito

transported from the Middle East. Later, it spread in other

states of the United States.

45 Moreover, the Zoonotic diseases

such as anthrax, bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis, cysticercosis,

echinococcosis (hydatid disease) and rabies are endemic in

many developing countries of Africa, Asia and South and

Central America. Many of the most affected countries have

poor or nonexistent veterinary public health (VPH)

infrastructures. 46 In Pakistan, the poultry industry has been

flourishing without any systematic government regulatory

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NDU Journal 2015 15

apparatus. The increasing number of control-sheds to breed

chickens in Pakistan alarms the probability of the spread of

Avian influenza in the country.

Resurrect of Infectious Diseases

The revolutionary developments in genetics, genomics and

other areas of the biomedical sciences create possibilities for

the resurrection of infectious pandemic virus. For instance, in

October 2005, a team of US scientists, headed by Jeffery

Taubenberger from the US Armed Forces Institute of

Pathology published the full sequence of the highly virulent

strain of influenza virus that caused the Spanish influenza

pandemic in the winter of 1918–1919 and killed up to 50

million people worldwide. The report was the paradigmatic

proof to the reconstruction of the Spanish influenza virus. 47

The Biological sciences maturity, especially in the area of

biotechnology in Pakistan necessitates that government

should adopt preventive measures to check the misuse of the

genetics or genomics’ experts in the country.

Unintended Consequences of Research

The Biological weapons are not the only type of risk to

involve biological agents. There are also inadvertent and

accidental creation of micro-organisms and bioregulators that

have enhanced potential for causing disease. For instance,

Australian researchers had inadvertently developed a lethal

mouse virus—mousepox. The results of mousepox experiment

were published. It was noted that the experiment could be

easily replicated and verified in independent laboratories. This

information had widespread terror within the international

defense and medical community. It is because smallpox and

mousepox are very closely related. 48 While commenting on the

mousepox, virus expert Professor John Oxford claimed that he

would not have expected this result. He added: “though, that

while rare, it is inevitable that unpredictable events will occur,

which is why such experiments are closely monitored and

performed in isolated laboratories.” 49 The creation of

mousepox manifests that the Scientists can acquire potentially

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deadly biological agents in the course of legitimate research. 50

Hence, the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan ought

to chalk out a policy, which without harming the scientific

research publication prevents the crisis akin to mousepox

publication.

Laboratory Accidents

The pathogens (including high consequence pathogens)

and toxins can be found in clinical laboratories, hospitals,

research universities, private industry, and numerous

government facilities. Many of these facilities are easily

accessible to the public. Moreover, the fermenters required to

produce biological agents in large quantities are widely used

in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and even beer

industries. The probability of accident cannot be ruled out.

The alarming factor is that if an incident (accident,

inadvertent release, and deliberate release) involving a

biological agent occurs; it is not possible to immediately

identify what type of biological risk had caused it. It is because

the biological agents are invisible and silent killers. Most of

the microbes used in the research laboratories are not visible

to naked eye, usually do not have any smell or taste and have

incubation periods ranging from weeks to month. Moreover,

the bacteria and viruses have reproducing ability and thereby

microbes’ number continues multiplying after the initial

dissemination. Thus, it is imperative that the industry which

uses biological agents, and academic institutions having

biological laboratories ought to have contingency planning

and equipments to tackle the incidents that entail the release

of biological agents.

Lack of Awareness

The results of mousepox experiment were published. It

was noted that the experiment could be easily replicated and

verified in independent labs. This information had widespread

terror within the international defense and medical

community. The scientist consulted Australian Ministry of

Defence before disseminating their research finds about the

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

NDU Journal 2015 17

lethal mousepox virus. When they published their findings,

along with a description of the materials and methods, in the

Journal of Virology in 2001 ( Jackson et al, 2001), critics

complained that they had thereby alerted would-be terrorists

to new ways of making biological weapons and had provided

them with explicit instructions. 51 The possibility of

reconstruction of Spanish influenza by rogue state scientists

has been increased after the publication of full sequence of the

highly virulent Spanish influenza or the availability of its full

genome sequence on the internet.

52

The preceding discussed

incident necessitates that the Higher Education Commission

of Pakistan makes it compulsory for both biologists and the

scientific journals publishers in the country to consult the

defence ministry before such publications.

Negligence

Eckard Wimmer pointed out that “Bioterrorism relies

mostly on infectious agents. Defence against these agents rests

principally on research aiming to limit the impact of a harmful

agent through either novel drugs or new vaccines.” 53 The

shocking reality is that despite the realization of Biosecurity

significance, the rate of bio-defence vaccine development has

not kept pace with the growing number of biological threats

facing the entire international community. Kendall Hoyt and

Stephen G. Brooks claimed that: “Of the forty-nine biological

threat agents identified by the [U.S.] Department of Health

and Human Services (HHS), the [U.S.] Federal Drug

Administration (FDA) has licensed vaccines to protect against

only four agents on this list (anthrax, cholera, plague, and

smallpox). Each of these vaccines was developed in the 1970s

or earlier, and none is proven to protect humans against

weaponized versions of these pathogens.

54

It was estimated

that one needs $300 million to $1 billion and seven to ten

years to bring a single vaccine to market.

55 In addition, the

U.S. regulatory framework for preventing the proliferation of

Biological Weapons has negatively influenced the Bio-defence

research. The trial of Dr. Thomas Butler, chief of infectious

diseases at Texas Tech University Medical School, terrorized

the researchers working in the field of biological sciences. 56

Biosecurity and Pakistan: A Critical Appraisal

NDU Journal 2015

18

Ronald Atlas, president of the American Society for

Microbiology, stated, “If I had select agents in my lab, I think

I'd give serious consideration in the morning as to whether I

really want to do this or not.” 57

Deliberate Misuse

The rapid progress in biotechnology makes possible the

creation of epidemic viruses in a few days. For instance,

biologist could synthesize poliovirus in a few days. 58 In the

near future, for example, sophisticated terrorists might exploit

gene-synthesis technology to recreate deadly viruses in the

laboratory, thereby circumventing the strict controls on access

to “select agents” of bioterrorism concern.

59 There is a need to

prevent such a deliberate misuse of virsuses.

Domestic Migration

In Pakistan, humanity is on the move from rural areas to

urban centers. The unchecked urban population expansion

raises the statistical probability that pathogens will be

transmitted, whether from person to person or vector—insect,

rodent, or other—to person. As Laurie Garrett noted that:

Urbanization and global migration propel radical changes in

human behavior as well as in the ecological relationship

between microbes and humans. Almost invariably in large

cities, sex industries arise and multiple-partner sex becomes

more common, prompting rapid increases in sexually

transmitted diseases. Black market access to antimicrobials is

greater in urban centers, leading to overuse or outright misuse

of the precious drugs and the emergence of resistant bacteria

and parasites. Intravenous drug abusers’ practice of sharing

syringes is a ready vehicle for the transmission of microbes.

Under funded urban health facilities often become unhygienic

centers for the dissemination of disease rather than its

control.” 60 Hence, the megacities, like Karachi, Lahore, etc, of

Pakistan are vulnerable to epidemics and unusual outbreaks

of disease due to inadequate sewage and water systems,

housing, and public health provisions. For instance, in the

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

NDU Journal 2015 19

recent year’s people in different cities of Pakistan suffered

from super lethal dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Dengue Fever: Intelligent Move

The constructive role of the government and aid agencies

to prevent the water borne diseases has increased during the

recent years. They have launched an awareness campaign and

warn about the likely spread of epidemics, particularly of

water-borne diseases such as cholera, in the flood-stricken

areas prior to the monsoon season. 61 Realizing the threat of

dengue fever spread in 2012, the government took

precautionary measures. On August 27, 2012, the federal

government organizations, including cantonment boards and

Pakistan Railways, were asked to launch anti-dengue

campaigns in their jurisdictions to support the efforts of the

Provincial governments to avert the dengue mosquitoes

spread and prevent dengue fever outbreak. 62 The Punjab

government had also taken effective measures to prevent the

dengue epidemic. It announced September 2, 2012 as Anti-

Dengue Day in Punjab. In Lahore, a citywide dengue

awareness campaign was launched during the last week of

August 2012. Since then, every year, various government

departments, hospitals, schools and universities have been

participating in the campaign. ‘Doctors and nurses have been

trained to deal with the potential epidemic. Lahore has been

festooned with anti-dengue mosquito kits, leaflets and

billboards bearing necessary information on recognizing and

treating the symptoms of the disease, but most importantly,

how to prevent dengue mosquito breeding.’ 63 This campaign

has immense dividends and thereby both the central and

provincial governments have spared funds for the continuity

of this campaign. Punjab Government’s Health Ministry

department announced to restart the anti-dengue campaign

on February15, 2015. 64

Backward Health-Facilities

Being a developing state, Pakistan is lacking financial and

human resources to provide adequate health facilities to its

Biosecurity and Pakistan: A Critical Appraisal

NDU Journal 2015

20

entire population. Therefore, the detection and prevention of

infectious diseases, such as Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic

Fever (CCHF), 65 at early stage is very remote, especially in

rural areas and peripheral districts of the country. Some time

one counters this problem in the advanced urban cities of

Pakistan, as well. For instance, in September 2010, Rasheeda

Begum, aged 35, from Village Toot, Dhoke Golguppa of Tehsil

Pindigheb, Attock, was infected with Crimean-Congo

Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF). Neither her local hospital nor the

Holy Family Hospital, Rawalpindi was able to treat her. She

received proper medicinal treatment from Shifa Hospital,

which is one of the costliest hospitals in Islamabad, Pakistan.

It was reported that the treatment costs her from Rs 30,000 to

Rs35,000 per day and the family was not in a position of

retaining treatment at Shifa Hospital. 66 The National Institute

of Health reported that eight employees of Holy Family

Hospital suffered from CCHF. General perception was that

these employs were exposed to CCHF while attending to two

patients, one of whom died on September 24, 2010. On

October 1, 2010, four suspected CCHF patients were

hospitalised in Peshawar. The NIH had confirmed that the

Congo virus was responsible for Dr. Hasnain Shah’s death in

Abbottabad in early September 2010. Similar incidents

reported from Karachi during the same month. For example,

two persons died due to CCHF in September 2010. 67 On

August 29, 2012, Abdur Razzaq from a village in the area of

Choa Sayden Shah, District Chakwal died at the Holy Family

Hospital due to CCHF disease. 68

Rabies is a severe viral disease caused by a virus ‘Rabdo-

Virus’ carried in the saliva of infected animal and is

transmitted to human beings through bites, scratches or licks

even. It is fatal if not treated properly. It was reported in the

newspaper on the World Rabies Day (September 28, 2010)

that in most parts of Pakistan including major cities like

Rawalpindi, the ideal treatment for suspected rabies patients

was not available in the public sector hospitals and in primary

and secondary healthcare facilities despite the fact that the

disease had claimed nearly 25,000 deaths within past one

decade. Dr. Shahab Akhtar Qazi, National Coordinator of

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

NDU Journal 2015 21

Rabies Prevention Programme at National Institute of Health,

Islamabad, pointed out: “We have not been given any funds

for the last three years for running prevention and awareness

activities.” 69 The incapability of the government hospital to

treat rabies patient was reported on August 29, 2012. It was

reported that in Faisalabad, a person died due to non

availability of rabies vaccination in the government hospitals.

Importantly, situation of these hospitals has not changed even

in 2015.

The aforementioned incidents of CCHF and Rabies

highlighted two important factors: First, the government

hospitals were incapable to detect, report, and respond to

outbreaks of infectious disease, such as Zoonotic diseases, in

their vicinity that have the potential to spread across locally,

nationally and internationally. Second, treatment is very

costly and overwhelming Pakistanis cannot afford the cost of

the treatment. More precisely, the people of Pakistan are

vulnerable to serious threat of the outbreak of Zoonotic

diseases, which are transmitted from animals to humans.

Natural Calamity: Floods

Pakistan faced one of the worst flood crises in its history

from late July to September 2010. 70 The devastating floods

destroyed large populated and agricultural areas of Pakistan.

Over 20 million people were severely affected due to the

washing away roads, bridges, communication networks,

powerhouses, livestock, standing crops, and health-care

centers. 71 The floods created various health problems for the

people. It increased the transmission of the communicable

water-borne and vector-borne diseases. Mosquitoes breed in

stagnant water and spread gastroenteritis, and malaria. The

important water-borne diseases were typhoid fever, cholera,

leptospirosis and hepatitis A. The vector-borne diseases were

malaria, dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever, yellow fever

and West Nile Fever. 72

Biosecurity and Pakistan: A Critical Appraisal

NDU Journal 2015

22

Agriculture Industry: Livestock and Poultry

The domestic animals are an integral part of the socio-

economic activities of the rural areas of Pakistan. The general

perception is that one out of four families in rural areas of the

country are dependent on livestock for their livelihood. It was

reported that livestock “contributed over 11 per cent to the

GDP during 2005-06 which is more than the aggregated

contribution of entire crop sector (10.3 per cent) of the

country.” 73 Despite its impressive contribution in the national

economy, the sustainable operational budgets for Veterinary

Services are insufficient in the country. For instance, the foot-

and-mouth disease—one of the most contagious and

economically devastating viral diseases—is very common in

the rural areas of Pakistan. It causes a high rate of sickness in

cattle, buffalo, sheep and goats. Though most affected animals

recover, yet the disease leaves them debilitated and causes

severe loss in the production of meat and milk. Professor

Aqeel Ahmed, a microbiologist at Karachi University pointed

out: “Unfortunately there is no concept of animal welfare in

Pakistan. Secondly we have no system in place to monitor the

health of our animals and we tend to take them for granted.” 74

Interestingly, the government of Pakistan had set veterinary

hospitals at municipal or union council level, but their

performance is questionable due to the lack of both

professional commitment of the veterinary doctors and

financial resources. Consequently, majority of farmers treat

their animals with traditional methods, due to non-availability

of vaccine and proper guidance.

The Poultry sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in

Pakistan. It was reported that during the first four months of

2012, this sector lost Rs 10 billion due to spreading of

Newcastle (Ranikhet) disease. Newcastle is a highly

contagious viral disease which affected all ages of chickens

and birds. On May 31, 2012, president of Pakistan Veterinary

Medical Association, Dr. Waseem Rafiq claimed that “about

44 million broiler chickens died of Newcastle disease during

past four months.” 75

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

NDU Journal 2015 23

Countermeasures

The preceding discussion manifests that Pakistan is

vulnerable to biological threats. Therefore, the investment in

better defensive measures is crucial for Islamabad. Indeed, no

credible defensive effort can move forward without

accelerating the rate of bio-defence vaccine development.

Regrettably, the rate of indigenous vaccine development in

Pakistan is far behind the growing number of biological

threats over the past several decades. Perhaps, the

government of Pakistan should legislate and execute laws to

institutionalize the national biological research security

system that would not only track the pathogens themselves

but also oversee particularly dangerous categories of research.

In this context, bolstering research capacity, enhancing

disease surveillance capabilities, revitalizing sagging basic

public health systems, rationing powerful drugs to avoid the

emergence of drug-resistant organisms, and improving

infection control practices at hospitals are essential

countermeasures.

The Biological security requires a different mix of

nonproliferation, deterrence, and defence. It also needs

laboratory Bio-security measures. These measures seek to

prevent the theft or diversion of dangerous pathogens by

ensuring their physical protection, control, and accounting.

Second, the government needs to improve the Public Health

Infrastructure at the Union, Tehsil, District, Provincial and

National levels for detecting unusual outbreaks of infectious

diseases at an early stage, and for dispensing antibiotics and

other medical countermeasures. These health centers have

storage of broad-spectrum antibiotics or antiviral drugs,

which are needed for curing bio-threats as well as monoclonal

antibody preparations that can be administered after

exposure. Indeed, a robust public health infrastructure,

routine surveillance for unexpected threats, and a flexible,

responsive, and adaptive capability for developing, producing,

and distributing medical countermeasures (detection,

diagnosis, vaccines, drugs, etc.) is critical.

Biosecurity and Pakistan: A Critical Appraisal

NDU Journal 2015

24

The following are a few important preventive and curing

measures:

The pathological laboratories across the country ought

to be established and strengthened for the sake of

surveillance and detection of infectious diseases. These

pathological laboratories not only cooperate among

themselves, but also strengthen cooperation between

the relevant organizations and enhance their response

readiness

The doctors and nurses are also trained for the

detection of infectious diseases like smallpox or

pathogenic microorganisms and toxins.

It seems that the overstock of preventive vaccines and

curative drugs for a likely contingency could be a waste

of public funds due to these medicines expiry date.

Nevertheless, the states have to bear this financial

burden and stockpile vaccine for the security of the

public.

The government shall maintain a state of readiness that

will enable it to react in a prompt and effective manner

to a biological terrorist attack. The response capacities

of the police, the fire department and other law

enforcing relevant organizations must be strengthened.

The national and provincial governments should

designate medical institutions in the country, which

collect information to determine the infectious route in

cases of unknown respiratory or skin diseases.

The district governments establish Livestock Hygiene

Service Centers or put into place the Notifiable Animal

Infectious Disease Surveillance System in the existing

live-stock hospitals at the Union Council level in order

to monitor animal infectious diseases, and maintain

stockpiles of vaccines for zoonotic diseases like highly

pathogenic avian influenza, as well as for infectious

diseases that may cause serious damage to the livestock

industry like foot-and-mouth disease and classical

swine fever (hog cholera).

Counter Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear

(CBRN) terrorism squads, equipped with advanced

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

NDU Journal 2015 25

equipment and machinery, such as CBRN

reconnaissance vehicles, chemical surveillance devices,

decontamination vehicles, personal protection

equipments, portable detectors for biological

substances and chemical protection suits, and the

conduct of research and development into CBRN alarm

devices and decontamination kits, are established in

the major cities of the country. In addition, equipment,

for example positive pressure-type chemical hazmat

suits and portable biological agent detectors are also

given to major Fire Defence Headquarters throughout

Pakistan.

Conclusion

Admittedly, neither it is possible to devise a technological

fix to biological threats, nor a State/institution is capable to

address biosecurity challenges single-handedly. The

increasing interdependency and interconnectivity in the

current international politics necessitate that the states should

cooperate among themselves for the sake of public health. It is

because; the infectious diseases can easily spread beyond

national borders with infected travelers carrying the germs,

bacteria or virus. Hence, the international cooperation is

prerequisite for augmenting biosecurity. Whereas, within the

State, the Ministry of Health, Agricultures, Forestry, Fisheries

and Live-stock cooperate among themselves, and also institute

close cooperation, such as exchanging information, with other

countries and international organizations to enhance their

response capabilities to natural or man-made calamities.

The complex nature of Biosecurity challenges underscores

that no nation and no institution are capable to deal with

them on its own. The only way to deal with these threats and

challenges is through an integrated and allied strategic

approach, which includes both non-military and military

capabilities of like-minded nations. In addition, one needs to

realize imperativeness of the microbial forensic

institutionalization at the national level to identify causes of

and responsibilities for intentional biological attacks, illicit

Biosecurity and Pakistan: A Critical Appraisal

NDU Journal 2015

26

biological weapons programs and/or naturally occurring

disease outbreaks. To conclude, the international culture of

comprehensive and cooperative security is imperative to

ensure the Biological security at the global level as well as

national institutions to address the Biosecurity challenges

within state.

Notes

1

Biosecurity means the protection of people and agriculture against

disease threats, whether from biological weapons or natural outbreak.

Christopber F. Cbyba, “Towards Biological Security,” Foreign Affairs, Vol.

81, No. 3 (May - Jun., 2002), p. 122.

2 WHO, Laboratory Biosafety Manual – Third Edition,

http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/biosafety/WHO_CDS_C

SR_LYO_2004_11/en/

3

Dr. Alexander Kelle, Synthetic Biology & Biosecurity Awareness in

Europe, Bradford Science and Technology Report No.9 (November 2007),

p. 7.

http://www.brad.ac.uk/acad/sbtwc/ST_Reports/ST_Report_No_9.pdf,

accessed on November 30, 2010.

4 “2003 Meeting of States Parties,” BWC Sixth Review Conference, Geneva

Switzerland (November 2006),

http://www.unog.ch/80256EDD006B8954/(httpAssets)/12F9BC8D8F5D

B0B6C12571A200318F92/$file/BWC_Backgrounder.pdf, accessed on

December 20,, 2010.

5 Dr. Alexander Kelle, Op. cit, p. 7.

6 Jonathan B. Tucker, “Seeking Biosecurity Without Verification: The New

U.S. Strategy on Biothreats,” Arms Control Today, January/February

2010. http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_01-02/Tucker, accessed on

August 25, 2010.

7 Quoted in Kendall Hoyt and Stephen G. Brooks, “A Double-Edged Sword:

Globalization and Biosecurity,” International Security, Vol. 28, No. 3

(Winter, 2003/2004), p. 124.

8 Jonathan B. Tucker, “Seeking Biosecurity Without Verification: The New

U.S. Strategy on Biothreats,” Op.cit.

9

Brigadier (Retd) Naeem Salik, “Biological & Radiological Terrorism:

Probability, Consequences and Consequences Mitigation: A Case Study on

Pakistan,” LNCV Publications, September 2007, p. 5.

10

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, naturally occurred

during 2002 and 2003. It killed 9.6 percent of those it infected, a fatality

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

NDU Journal 2015 27

rate almost four times higher than the 1918 flu’s. Lynn C. Klotz and

Edward J. Sylvester, “The unacceptable risks of a man-made pandemic,”

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, August 7, 2012.

http://thebulletin.org/web-edition/features/the-unacceptable-risks-of-

man-made-pandemic, accessed on August 17, 2012.

11

This year's outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which causes swine flu, is the

deadliest in India since 2010. The northern state of Rajasthan has been

worst affected. Since mid-December, almost 700 people in India have died

following a swine flu outbreak. “India struggles with deadly swine flu

outbreak,” BBC News, February 20, 2015.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-31547455, accessed on April

15, 2015. “700 people die of swine flu outbreak in India since mid-

December,” The Express Tribune, February 21, 2015.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/841959/700-people-die-of-swine-flu-

outbreak-in-india-since-mid-december/, accessed on April 15, 2015.

12 “Suspected swine flu patient dies in Lahore,” The Express Tribune, April

14, 2015. http://tribune.com.pk/story/869677/suspected-swine-flu-

patient-dies-in-lahore/, accessed on April 15, 2015.

13

Muhammad Qasim, “Private hospital staff put under observation after

death of CCHF patient,” The News International, May 14, 2015.

14

Since five years the cases about the victims of Naegleria fowleri have

been reported in the press. Ironically, the Sind Government has failed to

adopt serious preventive as well as cure measures. Naegleria fowleri (an

amoeba found in rivers, lakes, springs, drinking water networks and poorly

chlorinated swimming pools). The amoeba, which feeds on bacteria of

warm waters, enters the brain through nasal cavity and eats up the brain.

Hasan Mansoor, “Alarm as ‘brain-eating amoeba’ kills two more in

Karachi,” Dawn, May 16, 2015.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1182241/alarm-as-brain-eating-amoeba-

kills-two-more-in-karachi, accessed on May 16, 2015. See also Hasan

Mansoor, “Thar deaths, scary diseases overshadow health legislation in

2014,” Dawn, January 12, 2015. http://www.dawn.com/news/1156412,

accessed on May 1, 2015.

15 It was reported that the camels haddied while grazing gram at Noorpur

Thal, Shah Hussain, Katimar, Shahuwala and Nawan Sagu (of Khushab

district). A camel starts shivering and expired within 10 minutes.

Mysterious disease’ claims lives of 500 camels,” Dawn, May 13, 2015.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1181646/mysterious-disease-claims-lives-of-

500-camels, accessed on May 14, 2014.

16

Pakistan needs to do more to rid polio virus,” The Nation, May 20,

2015. http://nation.com.pk/national/20-May-2015/pakistan-needs-to-do-

more-to-rid-polio-virus, accessed on June 3, 2015.

Biosecurity and Pakistan: A Critical Appraisal

NDU Journal 2015

28

17 Polio is one of the diseases which is incurable but can be prevented. Polio

virus when invades nervous system through blood stream, causes Acute

Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) the person’s life become cripple. Mohan L.

Bhootrani, Syed Mohammad Tahir. “Polio Free Pakistan: Reality or

Dream?,” JLUMHS, Vol 11: No. 03, September-December 2012, p. 122.

http://beta.lumhs.edu.pk/jlumhs/Vol11No03/pdfs/v11n3e01.pdf, accessed

on June 6, 2015.

18

Polio eradication efforts in Pakistan have been plagued by religious,

cultural and political opposition having fallen victim to misinterpreted

theological opposition. Some clerics have resorted to labeling it a “Jewish

conspiracy” while others have declared that the vaccine is haram’, as it

claims to avert the will of God.” Faris Islam, “Resurgence of Polio virus in

Pakistan is a national emergency,” Jinnah Institute, http://jinnah-

institute.org/resurgence-of-polio-virus-in-pakistan-is-a-national-

emergency/, accessed on June 6, 2015.

19 Lahore is the second biggest city of Pakistan. It is cultural center of the

country and capital of Punjab province, the biggest federating unit of

Pakistan.

20 The author has noted the reemergence of FMD disease in cattle’s since

mid 2010, in a few villages of District Sargodha and Mandi-Bahudin,

Punjab, Pakistan.

21 The disease was originally reported in China over 20 years ago, and has

been spreading to citrus in regions in different continents. Only in

Australia and the Mediterranean Basin has citrus greening not been

reported. Sang Putu Kaler Surata, “Bridging Cross-Cultural Knowledge

Through a Bilingual Biosecurity Glossary,” in Ian Falk, Ruth Wallace,

Marthen L. Ndoen, ed. Managing Biosecurity Across Borders (London:

Springer, 2011), pp. 130-131

22

Mely Caballero-Anthony, “Non-Traditional Security Challenges,

Regional Governance, and the ASEAN Political-Security Community

(APSC),” Asian Security Initiative Policy Series, Working Paper No. 7,

September 2010, p. 1.

23

Christopber F. Cbyba, “Towards Biological Security,” Op.cit p. 122. In

1998, the Nunn-Lugar biological engagement programs were formally

implemented.

24 Laura A. Meyerson and Jamie K. Reaser, “Biosecurity: Moving toward a

Comprehensive Approach,” Op. cit, p. 595.

25

Kendall Hoyt and Stephen G. Brooks, “A Double-Edged Sword:

Globalization and Biosecurity,” Op. cit., p. 124.

26

Gregory D. Koblentz, “Biosecurity Reconsidered: Calibrating Biological

Threats and Responses,” International Security, Vol. 34, No. 4 (Spring

2010), p. 105. Similar definitions of laboratory Biosecurity are used by

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

NDU Journal 2015 29

World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic

Cooperation and Development (OECD). According to the WHO laboratory

Biosecurity refers to institutional and personal security measures designed

to prevent the loss, theft, misuse, diversion, or intentional release of

pathogens and toxins. The OECD defines Biosecurity as “institutional and

personal security measures designed to prevent the loss, theft, misuse,

diversion or intentional release of pathogens, or parts of them, toxin-

producing organism, as well as such toxins that are held, transferred and/

or supplied by BRCs (Biological Resources Centers). Reference No. 50 in

Gregory D. Koblentz, “Biosecurity Reconsidered: Calibrating Biological

Threats and Responses,” International Security, Vol. 34, No. 4 (Spring

2010), pp. 105-106.

27

Various definitions of Biosecurity are: The protection of a country,

region, location’s or firm’s from economic, environmental and/or human

health from harmful organisms; (2) procedures followed or measures

taken to safeguard the flora and fauna of a country etc. against exotic pests

and diseases; (3) a strategic and integrated approach that encompasses the

policy and regulatory frameworks (including instruments and activities)

that analyze and manage risks in the sectors of food safety, animal life and

health, and plant life and health, including associated environmental risk;

(4) effort to prevent, reduce or eliminate the threats, applications and

effects of intentional and unintentional misuse of life sciences and

technology, while promoting and pursuing beneficial pursuits and uses; (5)

measures to protect against the malicious use of pathogens, parts of them,

or their toxins in direct or indirect acts against humans, livestock or crops;

(6) the implementation of measures that reduce the risk of the

introduction and spread of disease agents. Biosecurity requires the

adoption of a set of attitudes and behaviors by people to reduce risk in all

activities involving domestic, captive exotic and wild birds and their

products; (7) precautions taken to minimize the risk of introducing an

infectious disease into an animal population; (8) a set of preventive

measures designed to reduce the risk of intentional removal (theft) of a

valuable biological material. These preventative measures are a

combination of systems and practices usually put into place at a legitimate

bioscience laboratory that could be sources of pathogens and toxins for

malicious use. Although security is usually thought of in terms of “Guards,

Gates, and Guns”, biosecurity encompasses much more than that and

requires the cooperation of scientists, technicians, policy makers, security

engineers, and law enforcement officials. “Glossary of Biosecurity

Management” in in Ian Falk, Ruth Wallace, Marthen L. Ndoen, ed.

Managing Biosecurity Across Borders (London: Springer, 2011), pp. 244-

245.

28

Gregory D. Koblentz, “Biosecurity Reconsidered: Calibrating Biological

Threats and Responses,” Op. cit, pp. 106 and 115.

29 Ibid, p. 107.

Biosecurity and Pakistan: A Critical Appraisal

NDU Journal 2015

30

30 Ibid, p. 107.

31

Dr. Alexander Kelle, Synthetic Biology & Biosecurity Awareness in

Europe, Op.cit.

32

Gregory D. Koblentz, “Biosecurity Reconsidered: Calibrating Biological

Threats and Responses,” Op.cit, p. 106. “The mousepox experience,” An

interview with Ronald Jackson and Ian Ramshaw on dual-use research,

EMBO reports, December 11, 2009.

http://www.nature.com/embor/journal/v11/n1/full/embor2009270.html,

accessed on September 2, 2010

33 The Australia Group was established in 1985. It “is a voluntary, informal,

export-control arrangement through which 40 countries, as well as the

European Commission, coordinate their national export controls to limit

the supply of chemicals and biological agents-as well as related equipment,

technologies, and knowledge-to countries and non-state entities suspected

of pursuing chemical or biological weapons (CBW) capabilities.” Sensitive

items on these control lists can be divided into five categories:

1. Chemical weapons precursors-chemicals used in the production of

chemical weapons.

2. Dual-use chemical manufacturing facilities, equipment, and

related technology-items that can be used either for civilian

purposes or for chemical weapons production, such as reactors,

storage tanks, pumps, and valves.

3. Biological agents-disease-causing microorganisms, whether

natural or genetically modified, such as smallpox, Marburg, foot-

and-mouth disease, and anthrax.

4. Toxins-poisonous substances either made by living organisms or

produced synthetically that adversely affect humans, animals, or

plants, such as botulinum toxin and ricin.

5. Dual-use biological equipment-items that can be used for both

peaceful research and biological weapons production, such as

fermenters, containment facilities, freeze-drying equipment, and

aerosol testing chambers.

Daryl Kimball, “The Australia Group at a Glance,” December 2010.

http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/australiagroup, accessed on

August 26, 2012.

34 Both acts prohibit universities from employing individuals from several

foreign countries (currently seven-- Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea,

Sudan, and Syria) to work with select biological agents and toxins listed by

HHS. All other employees in these laboratories-from principal

investigators to janitors-are subject to extensive background checks to

determine if they are security risks. This regulation also applies to non-

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

NDU Journal 2015 31

U.S. citizens who have become permanent U.S. residents. In addition,

student and researcher visa applications from twenty-six primarily Muslim

countries have been held up for special review by the U.S. government

through the Visas Condor program, initiated in November 2001. This

review is conducted by the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force, which is

led by Attorney General John and comprises experts from a variety of U.S.

federal agencies, including the State Department, Federal Bureau of

Investigation, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Secret Service, and

Customs. Kendall Hoyt and Stephen G. Brooks, “A Double-Edged Sword:

Globalization and Biosecurity,” Op. cit, pp. 138-139. See also Reference No.

56, p. 139.

35

Brigadier (Retd) Naeem Salik, “Biological & Radiological Terrorism:

Probability, Consequences and Consequences Mitigation: A Case Study on

Pakistan,” Op.cit., p. 10.

36

The Gazette of Pakistan, Extra Ordinary Published by Authority,

Registered No. M-302/L-7646, Islamabad, Monday, September 27, 2004.

http://www.na.gov.pk/uploads/documents/1321333389_458.pdf,

accessed on May 9, 2015.

37

Statement by Mr. Masood Khan, Ambassador and Permanent

Representative of Pakistan to the UN Geneva, at the Meeting of Experts to

the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and

Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their

Destruction, Geneva, June 22, 2005.

http://missions.itu.int/~pakistan/2005_Statements/CD/ecwbtwc/BTWC

_statement_PR_22JUne-2005.htm, accessed on October 1, 2010.

38 For details see Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, “Threat of Extremism and Terrorist

Syndicate Beyond FATA,” Journal of Political Studies, Vol. 17, Issue 2,

Winter 2010. pp. 19-49.

39

Syed Irfan Raza, “Zarb-i-Azb to be completed by year-end: minister,”

Dawn, February 16, 2015. See also Abdus Salam, Ihsan Bittni, “IDPs’

return to North Waziristan begins”, Dawn, April 1, 2015.

40

Quaid-I-Azam University is the leading university in the country. Only

two M Phil students wrote theses on the Biosecurity subject until April

2015. Currently, only one PhD student is working on the said subject.

41

Workshop on Raising Awareness on Dual Use Concerns in

Biotechnology, Organized by the Department of Biotechnology Quaid-i-

Azam University and School of Politics & International Relations, Quaid-i-

Azam University, Islamabad. It was held under the scope of the European

Union funded Project 18: International Network of Universities and

Institutes for Raising Awareness on Dual-Use Concerns in Biotechnology

at Islamabad, Pakistan on March 25, 2014.

Biosecurity and Pakistan: A Critical Appraisal

NDU Journal 2015

32

42

Anthrax mailed to Pakistani PM's office: spokesman,” Reuters,

February 1, 2012.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/01/us-pakistan-anthrax-

idUSTRE81019Y20120201, accessed on May 9, 2012

43 “Poultry sector attractive for investment: UVAS VC,” Business Recorder,

July 22, 2012.

http://www.brecorder.com/pakistan/business-a-economy/69432-

poultry-sector-attractive-for-investment-uvas-vc-.html, accessed on

August 18, 2012.

44

Dr. Jenny-Ann Toribio, “Avian Influenza Risk: Animal and Human

Dimensions,” paper presented in Seminar on Assorted Perspectives on

Biosecurity, January 14, 2009.

http://www.rsis.edu.sg/nts/Events/Ass%20Persp%20on%20Biosecurity.h

tml, accessed on September 13, 2010.

45

Christopber F. Cbyba, “Towards Biological Security,” Op. cit, pp. 129-

130.

46 “Neglected zoonotic diseases (NZD),” World Health Organization,

http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/zoonoses/en/, accessed on

October 22, 2010.

47

Jan van Aken, “When risk outweighs benefit,” EMBO reports, Vol. 7,

Special Issue (2006), p. S 10.

http://www.nature.com/embor/journal/v7/n1s/pdf/7400728.pdf

accessed on September 16, 2010.

48 The Australian scientists used standard genetic engineering techniques

to modify a mousepox virus to contain the gene for interleukin-4 (IL-4) as

well as the mouse egg shell protein (ZP3). The egg shell protein was there

to encourage a contraceptive response against the mouse's own eggs. The

IL-4 gene was there to increase the immune response against ZP3 protein,

so as to make the contraceptive response more effective. The mousepox

itself was a relatively benign virus, of little threat to the health of the mice

themselves. When the genetically engineered mousepox was put into mice

the mice simply died. The supposedly benign mousepox virus was

discovered to have become a killer. And not only a killer, but a super-killer:

100% of the mice died. The scientists thought they might learn something

useful about mouse contraception, but instead they had learned how to

create a universally fatal virus. And this killer virus had been created via a

very simple genetic manipulation, accessible to every country with a few

PhD microbiologists. The Australian Experiment, Emerging Diseases :

Biological Terrorism : Biological Warfare, ZKEA,

http://www.zkea.com/archives/archive05002.html, accessed on

September 2, 2010. .

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

NDU Journal 2015 33

49 Quoted in “Mouse Virus or Bioweapon?” BBC World Service, January 17,

2001.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/sci_tech/highlights/010117_mousepo

x.shtml, accessed on September 2, 2010.

50 Christopber F. Cbyba, “Towards Biological Security,” Op. cit, p. 127.

51 “The mousepox experience,” An interview with Ronald Jackson and Ian

Ramshaw on dual-use research, EMBO reports, December 11, 2009.

http://www.nature.com/embor/journal/v11/n1/full/embor2009270.html,

accessed on September 2, 2010.

52

Jan van Aken, “When risk outweighs benefit,” EMBO reports, Vol. 7,

Special Issue (2006), p. S 10.

http://www.nature.com/embor/journal/v7/n1s/pdf/7400728.pdf

accessed on September 16, 2010.

53

Eckard Wimmer, “The test-tube synthesis of a chemical called

poliovirus,” EMBO reports, Vol. 7, Special Issue (2006), p. S8.

http://www.nature.com/embor/journal/v7/n1s/pdf/7400728.pdf

accessed on September 16, 2010.

54

Kendall Hoyt and Stephen G. Brooks, “A Double-Edged Sword:

Globalization and Biosecurity,” Op. cit, p. 129.

55 Ibid. p. 135.

56 In January 2003, Dr. Thomas Butler, failed to document the destruction

of thirty vials of plague. Unable to account for the vials, Dr. Butler

suggested that they might have been misplaced or stolen. He was charged

and tried in a federal court on sixty-nine counts of misconduct.

57

Quoted in Kendall Hoyt and Stephen G. Brooks, “A Double-Edged

Sword: Globalization and Biosecurity,” Op.cit, p. 142.

58

Eckard Wimmer, “The test-tube synthesis of a chemical called

poliovirus,” Op.cit.

59 Jonathan B. Tucker, “Seeking Biosecurity Without Verification: The New

U.S. Strategy on Biothreats,” Op.cit.

60 Laurie Garrett, “The Return of Infectious Disease,” Foreign Affairs, Vol.

75, No. 1 (January - February, 1996), p. 72.

61

Disease risk eases in parts of flood-hit areas: UNICEF,” Daily Times,

September 15, 2010.

62 “Dengue Session,” Dawn, August 29, 2012.

63 “Anti-Dengue Campaign,” Daily Times, August 30, 2012.

64

Anti-dengue campaign to begin from 15 th ,” Daily Times, February 08,

2015. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/islamabad/08-Feb-2015/anti-

dengue-campaign-to-begin-from-15th

Biosecurity and Pakistan: A Critical Appraisal

NDU Journal 2015

34

65

Studies reveal that Viral Hemorrhagic fever family including Crimean-

Congo Haemorrhagic Fever and Ebola are zoonotic, diseases that animals

cause to humans. Of all the disease-causing human viruses, these are the

only ones for which the animal host and the virus life cycle could not be

known exactly around the globe so far.

66

Muhammad Qasim, “Suspected patient at Shifa Hospital confirmed

positive,” The News International, September 22, 2010.

67 “Deadly virus,” Dawn, October 3, 2010.

68 “Doctors, staff exposed yet safe,” The News International, September 2,

2012.

69 Muhammad Qasim, “Pakistan severely lacks ideal treatment,” The News

International, September 29, 2010.

70

According to the United Nations assessment report, the destruction

caused by the floods in Pakistan were greater than the damage from the

2004 Asian tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, and the 2010 Haiti

earthquake, combined.

71

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, formerly known as the North-West Frontier

Province, North into Gilgit-Baltistan and South into Southern Punjab and

Sindh were the worst hit areas by floods.

72 “Floods may lead to increase in vector-borne diseases: WHO,” The News

International, October 4, 2010. http://www.thenews.com.pk/latest-

news/2351.htm

73

Pakistan Livestock Census 2006,” Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

http://www.pbs.gov.pk/node/441, accessed on August 18, 2012.

74 Quoted in Hasan Abdullah, “Diseases transmitted from animals to pose

threat,” Dawn, August 18, 2010.

75

Poultry sector faces Rs10 billion loss in four months,” Business

Recorder, May 31, 2012. http://www.brecorder.com/pakistan/business-a-

economy/60156-poultry-sector-faces-rs10-billion-loss-in-four-months-.

html