Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)

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Last Updated: September 27, 2011
Other Name: N/A
Location: Islamabad [1]
Subordinate To: Strategic Plans Division [2]
Size: 9 permanent members, 4 part-time members [3]
Facility Status: Active, but less involved in weapons development than in the past

Pakistan’s development of solid-fueled ballistic missiles began at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). [4] Benefiting from substantial Chinese assistance, the PAEC historically competed with the North Korea-assisted liquid-fuel missile programs at the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL). [5] The 1999-2001 command-and-control reforms consolidated the bulk of nuclear weaponization activities, including missile development, under the National Defence Complex (NDC). [6]

The PAEC, however, remains credited with overseeing and administering the transfer of solid-fuel ballistic missile technology, the procurement of solid-fuel M11 missiles from China, and the development of indigenous production capabilities for the similarly designed Ghauri-series missiles. [7] This included the 1995 construction of a missile production facility in Fatehjung, the Tarwanah suburb of Rawalpindi. [8] At the time, U.S. intelligence agencies noted that the Tarwanah factory was likely built “using blueprints and equipment supplied by China.” [9] The Tarwanah facility bears a strong physical resemblance to the M11 production facility in Hubei. Engineers from the China Precision Machinery Import/Export Corporation were sighted at the plant on several occasions, and numerous shipments of Chinese components were sent to the plant. [10]

The PAEC now focuses on civilian research, and hosts a wide range of such programs ranging from nuclear medicine to biotechnology. [11] The PAEC also actively collaborates with the European Organization for Nuclear Research on fundamental particle physics research, providing both human capital and financial contributions. [12]

Following Pakistan’s 1998 nuclear tests, the Clinton Administration sanctioned the PAEC and roughly 20 of its subsidiaries under the Arms Export Control Act for involvement in “nuclear or missile activities.” [13] President George W. Bush waived these sanctions in 2001 to facilitate post-September 11 cooperation with Pakistan. [14]

Sources:
[1] “Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission,” Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, accessed 2 February 2011, www.paec.gov.pk.
[2] Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the Rise of Proliferation Networks – A Net Assessment, (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2007), p. 111.
[3] “Composition – Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission,” Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, accessed 2 February 2011, www.paec.gov.pk.
[4] Joseph Cirincione, Jon B. Wolfsthal and Miriam Rajkumar, Deadly Arsenals: Tracking Weapons of Mass Destruction, (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2003), p. 81.
[5] Gordon Jacobs and Tim McCarthy, “China’s Missile Sales – Few Changes For The Future,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, December 1992, p. 560; Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the Rise of Proliferation Networks – A Net Assessment, (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2007), p. 22.
[6] Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the Rise of Proliferation Networks, (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2007), p. 110.
[7] Joseph Cirincione, Jon B. Wolfsthal, and Miriam Rajkumar, Deadly Arsenals: Tracking Weapons of Mass Destruction, (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2003), p. 214.
[8] “Pakistan Defence Industries,” Defence Export Promotion Organization, accessed 26 January 2011, www.depo.org.pk.
[9] R. Jeffrey Smith, "China Linked To Pakistani Missile Plant; Secret Project Could Renew Sanctions Issue," Washington Post, 25 August 1996, p. A01; in LexisNexis Academic Universe, www.lexisnexis.com.
[10] Douglas Waller, "The Secret Missile Deal," Time, 30 June 1997, www.time.com.
[11] Paul Guinnessy, “Pakistan Reshuffles Weapons Program,” Physics Today, May 2001, p. 28; “Functions – Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission,” Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, accessed 2 February 2011, www.paec.gov.pk.
[12] “Pakistani, European atomic energy bodies mark 10 years of cooperation,” PTV World, 15 December 2004 in LexisNexis Academic Universe, www.lexisnexis.com.
[13] “India and Pakistan Sanctions and Other Measures,” 63 Federal Register 223 (19 November 1998), pp. 64322-64342.
[14] “Presidential Determination No. 2001-28 of September 22, 2001: Waiver of Nuclear-Related Sanctions on India and Pakistan, Memorandum for the Secretary of State,” 66 Federal Register 191 (2 October 2001), p. 50095; “India and Pakistan: Lifting of Sanctions, Removal of Indian and Pakistani Entities, and Revision in License Review Policy,” 66 Federal Register 190 (1 October 2001), p. 50090; Dianne E. Rennack, India and Pakistan: U.S. Economic Sanctions, CRS Report to Congress RS20995 (Washington, DC: The Library of Congress, 3 February 2003).

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2017.