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News of Chinese lab creating ‘anthrax-like pathogens’ in Pakistan baseless: FO

Pakistan condemns killing of Kashmiri youth
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has rejected a story published in an Australian news outlet on a Wuhan lab conducting alleged covert operations in Pakistan, terming it “politically motivated and baseless”.
The Australian news outlet report, quoting unnamed intelligence experts, claims China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology has “set up operations in Pakistan as part of a broader offensive against India and Western rivals”.
“The secret facility is allegedly making anthrax-like pathogens which could be used in biological warfare,” the report published on July 23 alleges.
According to a statement issued by Foreign Office spokesperson on Sunday,  “It is composed of distortion of facts and fabrications that quote anonymous sources.”
“There is nothing secret about the Bio-Safety Level-3 (BSL-3) Laboratory of Pakistan referred to in the report,” the statement said.
It further said 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.
“The facility is meant for diagnostic and protective system improvement by Research and Development (R&D) on emerging health threats, surveillance and disease outbreak investigation, it added.
The FO clarified, “Pakistan strictly abides by its BTWC obligations and has been one of the most vocal supporters for a strong verification mechanism to ensure full compliance by the States Parties to the Convention.”
“The attempt to cast aspersions about the facility is particularly absurd against the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak, which has highlighted the need for better preparedness in the areas of disease surveillance and control and international collaborations in that regard, consistent with Article X of BTWC,” read the statement.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology came under scrutiny in April with the US probing whether the COVID-19 actually originated in the virology institute — located in China’s coronavirus epicenter — with a high-security biosafety laboratory.
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