Islamabad: The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mr. Rafael Mariano Grossi, called on the Prime Minister Mr. Shehbaz Sharif on 15 February 2023.
Welcoming the Director General, the Prime Minister appreciated the ongoing cooperation between the IAEA and Pakistan in the areas of health, agriculture, industry, nuclear medicine and power generation. The Prime Minister expressed Pakistan’s full support for various projects and programmes of the Agency and conveyed Pakistan’s keenness to expand its footprints in the Agency’s work both as a recipient and provider of expertise and technical assistance.
Director General Grossi was briefed by the Prime Minister about the crucial role being played by the 19 cancer hospitals being operated by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) which were bearing the bulk of cancer burden in Pakistan and offering services to the general public at nominal rates. Acknowledging Pakistan’s expertise in nuclear applications in various fields the Director General noted the important role Pakistan can play for supporting the Agency’s work including its ‘Ray of Hope’ initiative for cancer treatment.
While highlighting the impact of climate change on Pakistan and its attendant challenges, such as water, energy and food security, the Prime Minister stressed the need for greater collaboration with the IAEA in terms of research on new high-yield and drought resistant varieties of crops. He further noted the contribution of nuclear power generation to Pakistan’s energy mix as a cleaner and more affordable source of energy.
The IAEA Director General agreed to the need for expanding applications of nuclear technology in countries like Pakistan to address a whole suite of climate-related challenges. He expressed his appreciation for the good work of the agricultural research institutions in Pakistan, including NIAB which is one of the IAEA Collaborating Centers in Pakistan.
The IAEA Director General is on a two-day visit to Pakistan. During his stay in Pakistan he will be visiting various nuclear facilities, cancer treatment centers and agricultural research institutions employing nuclear technology for sustainable development. He will also get an opportunity to witness the excellent standards of nuclear safety and security being maintained by Pakistan.