Federal Minister for Environment Hameedullah Jan Afridi has
called on scientists, civil society representatives and regulators
to take the responsibility of safeguarding agricultural resources
and human health by adopting new "Genetically Modified
Addressing a seminar on 'GMOs Applications and Implications'
organised by Environmental Protection Agency in a hotel Tuesday,
the minister said, "GMOs has attained utmost importance
due to increasing demand of food products world over.
He said such seminars were essential for awareness raising
and educating the masses about the importance of engineered
food and non-food items and highlighting the need for environmental
He said biotechnology, its dynamics and rapidly evolving scientific
research had created need for GMO applications in lifelines
including agriculture, health, industry and environment. Afridi
said modern techniques of biotechnology was being utilised
to stabilise and enhance crops yield, improve the standard
of livelihood of poor population, provide nutrient enriched
and better quality food and reduce negative environmental impacts.
"Our institutions like National Institute of Biotechnology
and Genetic Engineering, Centre for Excellence in Molecular
Biology and National Institute of Agriculture and Biology can
play a vital role in research and developments of GM Technology
and promoting its responsible use," he said.
The minister called on National Bio-Safety Centre of Pak-EPA
to closely work with these institutions and particularly with
the ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock to build their
regulatory capacity for enforcing Bio-safety Regulations. Federal
Secretary for Environment Ejaz Ahmed Qureshi told the audience
that the Ministry of Environment had set up a National Bio-safety
Centre in Pakistan and Environmental Protection Agency would
implement and execute the Pakistan Bio-safety Rules and National
The secretary informed more than 35 research and academic
institutions were working in the country in the field of biotechnology,
which was very encouraging sign. These institutes, he said,
needed to be encouraged for research and development in GMO
technology under adequate Bio-safety conditions. He said the
world community was conscious of the risks of GMOs and their
He said the United Nations had introduced Cartagena Protocol
on the Bio-safety under the umbrella of Convention on Biodiversity
which was an effective tool to create a regime of Bio-safety
among countries involved in "Genetically Modified Organisms" trading.
Qureshi said Pakistan was a signatory to the Cartagena Protocol
on the Bio-safety and was in the process of its ratification. "We
need technically sound institutes in the country to regulate
GMO products once the protocol is ratified," he added.