CERN and Pakistan consolidate their partnership

During the President of Pakistan's visit to CERN, the Laboratory and Pakistan decided to strengthen their collaboration.

The President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, the Chairman of PAEC, Parvez Butt, and CERN's Director-General, Robert Aymar, exchange congratulations following the signing of the letter of intent to strengthen partnership between CERN and Pakistan.

The President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, during his speech in the Council Chamber.

The President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, visited CERN on 27 January this year, accompanied by an important delegation of five ministers from the Pakistani Government, the Chairman of Pakistan's Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Parvez Butt, and an eminent former Chairman of the Commission, Ishfaq Ahmad, who pioneered cooperation with CERN.

Welcomed by CERN's Director-General, Robert Aymar, the President visited the CMS experiment to which Pakistan is making a substantial contribution. The presidential party was given a guided tour of the experiment by CMS's Spokesman, Michel Della Negra, and Hafeez Hoorani, a Pakistani physicist from the National Centre for Physics in Islamabad (NCP), which is a member of the CMS collaboration. President Musharraf briefly met the 25 Pakistani scientists who are currently working at CERN. He then took part in a ceremony in the Council Chamber on CERN's Meyrin site.

In his opening address, the Director-General underlined the reciprocal benefits of cooperation between CERN and Pakistan, making reference to the various programmes of the Laboratory in which Pakistan is participating. 'We at CERN value these important contributions very much, [...] but we equally value the fact that this is achieved in an international collaboration binding scientists beyond cultural and political barriers.' In his speech to the CERN personnel, President Musharraf underlined the importance of scientific research and higher education for economic and technological development. 'I feel proud that Pakistan has been associated very closely with CERN over the past 11 years' he remarked, adding: 'Pakistan has limited resources, but we know the importance of associating ourselves with this advanced scientific endeavour in particle physics.'

CERN's Director-General and the Chairman of PAEC then signed an addendum to the 2003 Protocol Agreement covering the supply of additional equipment for the LHC. They also signed a letter of intent aimed at strengthening scientific and technical cooperation between CERN and Pakistan. The document envisages an extension of the existing partnership not only in the fields of new accelerators, detectors and information technologies, but also in the education and training of scientists and technical experts.

The long-held wish of Pakistan's Nobel Prize winner for physics, Abdus Salam, which was first expressed in the 1960s, was realised in 1994 with the signing of the first formal collaboration agreement between CERN and Pakistan. In 1997, a protocol was signed for the supply of eight huge steel feet for the CMS magnet yoke. In 2000, it was supplemented by a memorandum of understanding for the production of 288 muon chambers and electronic components for the experiment. Three years later, the cooperation gained new impetus with the signing of a new protocol of understanding with CERN. There are currently 75 Pakistani physicists and engineers taking part in three major CERN projects: CMS, ATLAS and the development of the Computing Grid for the LHC (LCG).

The ceremony in the Council Chamber also provided Peter Jenni, the ATLAS Spokesman, with the opportunity to mark the partnership with Pakistan by awarding the prize for the best supplier to Parvez Butt for the production of essential detector components by PAEC's Heavy Mechanical Complex 3 (HMC-3).

The President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf (on the right), and the Chairman of PAEC, Parvez Butt (in the centre), meeting CERN's Pakistani community.