Pakistan moves to ban bioweapons

The federal Cabinet of Pakistan has given its tentative support to a new draft bill that would ban biological weapons activities.

The Biological and Toxin Weapon Convention Bill 2009, which would allow for the implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention, would require necessary legislative, regulatory and administrative steps be taken to prevent the proliferation of biological weapons of mass destruction.

The bill, based on U.N. Security council Resolution 1540, which was adopted in April 2004, would also call for the prevention of delivery systems and related technologies for biological weapons.

The new law would require that no person develop, manufacture, design, produce, stockpile, transport, import, export, sell, transfer or otherwise acquire, possess, control or retain biological weapons.

Additionally, the bill outlaws the manufacture, development, design, production, stockpiling, transportation, transferring or acquisition or retention of any material, equipment or technologies intended for the preparation of biological agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.

The bill also bans any delivery designed to use biological agents or toxins for hostile purposes or for use in armed conflict.

Violators of the Biological and Toxin Weapon Convention Bill 2009 would be liable for punishment, including imprisonment ranging from 10 to 25 years and a fine of up to 10 million rupees.