By The SATimes News Service
New Delhi: Pakistan and China have entered a secret three-year deal to expand potential bio-warfare capabilities, including running several research projects related to the deadly agent anthrax, a report by The Klaxon said, quoting multiple intelligence sources.
An Australian investigative media group The Klaxon, in an exclusive report in August this year, revealed that the two countries have been carrying out extensive research operations on deadly ‘animal to human’ pathogens in Pakistan involving more than 7000 Pakistani farmers, herders and others and over 2800 camels and other animals.
The Wuhan scientists have been conducting tests in collaboration with Rawalpindi in Pakistan since 2015, the Klaxon reported. The program is happening under the garb of China’s ambitious BRI project.
The results of at least five studies conducted on some of the world’s deadliest and most contagious pathogens — West Nile Virus; MERS-Coronavirus; Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus; the Thrombocytopenia Syndrome Virus; and the Chikungunya Virus — have been published in scientific papers between December 2017 and March 9, 2020.
In a previous report published in July, The Klaxon quoting “highly credible intelligence sources” claimed that Wuhan Institute of Virology, was testing lethal biological agents in Pakistan and providing “extensive training on manipulation of pathogens and bioinformatics” to Pakistani scientists, which could “enrich a potential offensive biological program”.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to the Klaxon recently signed a secret three-year deal with Pakistan military’s Defense Science and Technology Organisation to collaborate research in “emerging infectious diseases” and the “biological control of transmitted diseases”.
Strangely, the Wuhan-Pakistan military tie-up has never been publicly announced or disclosed before, the Klaxon said adding that the key concerns are that Pakistan could use the technology in bio-warfare, or that deadly pathogens could accidentally escape from inadequately equipped facilities.
Both China and Pakistan have denied the claims. However, the Pakistan government has confirmed the existence of a deal between its military and the Wuhan lab.
“There is nothing secret about the Biosafety Level-3 (BSL-3) laboratory of Pakistan referred to in the report. Pakistan has been sharing information about the facility with the States parties to the biological and toxins weapons convention (BTWC) in its submission of confidence building measures,” Pakistan’s foreign office said in July. Islamabad did not identify the location of the BSL-3 laboratory.
Incidentally, Pakistan’s sharp decline in Covid-19 cases just two months after the mid-June peak of around 6800 cases in a day, has been widely referred to as a mystery.