On 19 December, CERN’s director-general, Rolf Heuer, and the chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Ansar Parvez, signed in Islamabad the agreement admitting the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to associate membership of CERN, in the presence of prime minister Nawaz Sharif and diplomatic representatives of CERN member states. This followed approval by CERN Council to proceed towards associate membership for Pakistan during its 172nd session held in September 2014. The agreement is still subject to ratification by the government of Pakistan.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and CERN signed a co-operation agreement in 1994. The signature of several protocols followed, and Pakistan contributed to building the CMS and ATLAS experiments. Today, Pakistan contributes 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 that 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 co-operation 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 CERN staff members, and to participate in CERN’s training and career-development programmes. Finally, it will allow Pakistani industry to bid for CERN contracts, therefore opening up opportunities for industrial collaboration in areas of advanced technology.