In the aftermath of terrorist activity in Pakistan, the Australian government has banned the sale of some kinds of scientific instruments to Pakistan. Yesterday, the Australian government issued orders against the sale of two atomic absorption spectrometers to a Pakistani engineering firm, stating that it feared the equipment would be used in building weapons of mass destruction.
Whether it is a pretention or real fear of the misuse of apparently harmless equipment, it is clear that the terrorism in Pakistan has tarnished the country’s image to an awfully serious degree. Atomic absorption spectrometers, which are used to analyze liquid samples, are being banned from selling to Pakistan by speculating on their proper use. Does this distrust call for international monitoring?
Apparently, the growing fears of the western nations regarding their relations with Pakistan are precursors to strict monitoring policies regarding projects running in the country, including scientific research. Will the Pakistani government allow it? For a number of reasons, it may not be acceptable to Pakistan. But then, will Pakistan be left alone? Again an unlikely scenario, and equally unacceptable to Pakistan as well. We are in a kind of catch-22 here.