CERN director general, Rolf Heuer, and the chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Ansar Parvez, yesterday signed a document in Islamabad admitting the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to CERN associate membership, subject to Pakistan government's ratification, India Blooms reported.
The document was signed in the presence of prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
According to Heuer, Pakistan had been a strong participant in CERN's endeavours in science and technology since the 1990s.
Bringing nations together in a peaceful quest for knowledge and education was one of the most important missions of CERN, he said, adding that welcoming Pakistan as a new associate member state was therefore a very significant even for the organisation and he looked forward to enhanced cooperation with Pakistan in the near future.
According to Ansar Parvez, it was indeed a historic day for science in Pakistan. He said the signing of the agreement was a reward for the collaboration of Pakistan's scientists, engineers and technicians with CERN over the past two decades.
The membership would bring in its wake multiple opportunities for Pakistan's young students and for industry to learn and benefit from CERN. For Pakistan, he said, science was not just pursuit of knowledge, it was also the basic requirement to help build the nation.
Pakistan had become the formal associate member of CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research, bagging an opportunity for its scientists and engineers to benefit from scientific expertise at the prestigious institution, The Nation reported.
Prime minister Nawaz Sharif termed it a "landmark moment in the development of science in the country" as he witnessed the signing. The membership would help Pakistan in establishing a sustained and institutionalised relationship with CERN.
Addressing the signing ceremony, the prime minister thanked the director general of CERN and the CERN Council for recognising the hard work and capabilities of Pakistani scientists, engineers and technicians, and for allowing Pakistan to become a part of unique and leading institution of scientific research.
"Today's event is also a testimony to the fact that whenever provided an opportunity, the people of Pakistan are capable of standing up to any international standard," he added.
Sharif urged Pakistani scientists not to rest on the membership, rather take it as a means to pursue and acquire new scientific and engineering knowledge.
He called on scientists and engineers to use the opportunity to interact closely with international community and gain expertise in science and technology.