UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan has told the United Nations that it had repeatedly condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria,  and called for holding accountable the perpetrators of such “heinous crimes”.

“We remain strongly opposed to the use of chemical weapons by anyone and under any circumstances,” Ambassador Tehmina Janjua, the permanent representative of

Pakistan to the UN in Geneva, said in speech to the General Assembly’s  Disarmament and International Security Committee.

Speaking in a debate on weapons of mass destruction on Thursday, she said it was reprehensible that chemical weapons could still be used in the 21st Century, and went on to share the concerns arising from the threat of possible production and acquisition of chemical and biological weapons by States and non-State actors. “Early elimination of remaining stockpiles by States is essential, the Pakistani envoy stressed.”

Sensitive technologies and materials should be adequately controlled to ensure their use solely for peaceful purposes, Ambassador Tehmina Janjua said.

However, that objective could not justify practices and cartels that hindered the legitimate trade in chemicals, equipment and technology among States parties for peaceful purposes, she said stressing the need for restoring balance and even-handedness in the implementation of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions.

Pakistan, she added, remained fully committed to ensuring the full and effective implementation of these Conventions.

Regarding the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a sub-regional Assistance and Protection Center had been established in Pakistan to serve as a centre of excellence in the region. 

Pakistan was among the first countries to support the National Authority Mentorship Programme.

She said that the malicious use of bio-sciences could kill humans, animals and plants, trigger wars, and disrupt infrastructure, and that a coordinated approach needed to be developed to prevent such misuse.

However, a balance had to be struck between addressing new threats and keeping avenues for cooperation and assistance open, she added.

New discoveries in biological sciences that might make their application simpler and cheaper should be widely available for developing countries, the Pakistani envoy said. 

The absence of a dedicated verification mechanism to ensure compliance with the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention remained a source for concern, she said.