Being elected as the President of Pakistan Biological Safety Association (PBSA) is a true honour for me. I believe that promoting awareness, knowledge and understanding of biosafety at the regional and national level is responsibility of each member and trainer of the PBSA. This organization is commended in many of the national and international forums for its preventive training for Risk Assessment and management, that was much needed at the time of COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, it has promoted strong collaborations and affiliations with various Biosafety developmental programs that align with international standards to acknowledge and recognize biosafety as a separate scientific discipline within Pakistan. I strongly agree that “no one is safe until everyone is safe”, and would like to work with the PBSA team to implement this approach as far and wide as possible.
PBSA is a national treasure for those serving on the front-lines against infectious diseases in Pakistan. With access to multiple human resources – they house the capacity to serve research and clinical laboratorians – along with nurses and doctors who battle against emerging infectious diseases – making both them and Pakistan a safer place to live. PBSA’s leadership and commitment to a safer world along with the mission of service to those fighting infectious disease threats is commendable. Already a Life Member of PBSA – I believe if you live in Pakistan and work with infectious diseases – it is your professional responsibility to join PBSA in their mission of making Pakistan a safer state of all – INSHALLAH.
Since my first contacts with the Pakistan Biological Safety Association in 2011 – working at that time at the design of a BSL3 facility I was invited to provide a training workshop at their first international biosafety conference –, I have been literally impressed by the dedication of the team that manages the association and by the eager to learn and do things better demonstrated by its members. Since then and through the numerous training workshops organised my first impression has never been denied. PBSA has not stopped developing, increasing the level of awareness on biological risks and the competences in biological risk control and management in Pakistan. This has been possible thanks to the “old guard” and their constant will to engage new, young forces together with them in the association. First mainly active in Karachi and the Sindh province, PBSA now tends to cover the whole country through a network of regional chapters, and is now working on its organisational and “business” model in order to become more autonomous and sustainable.
There are other sources of best practices and lessons learned about enhancing the culture of biosafety, biosecurity, and responsible conduct in the international community as well. While it is beyond the scope of this undertaking to assess the activities of all states pertaining to a culture of biosafety, biosecurity, and responsible conduct in the life sciences, a number have made notable strides. The Pakistan Biological Safety Association (PBSA), launched in 2008, is a nongovernmental professional organization that has undertaken “biosafety as a scientific discipline” and seeks to serve as a resource to Pakistan’s growing scientific community. The PBSA has joined with a number of national and international partners as well, including the IFBA, National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center, International Council for the Life Sciences, XIBIOS (Belgium), and ASM. PBSA stands as an excellent example of professional organizations’ ability to prioritize a culture of biosafety, biosecurity, and responsible conduct, and its engagement with the concept can be used as a model for other professional organizations, state initiatives, and international partnerships to replicate.
As IFBA Certified professional and RBP ABSA and founder member of Pakistan biological Safety Association (PBSA), I feel immense pleasure to see PBSA as a National organization committed to its aims and objectives with the help of its members, present and past leadership and never to forget the role of Dr. Anwar Nasim who played a pivotal role in laying the foundation of this organization from scratch in 2008 at COMSTECH. Pakistan Biological safety association in last few years has gone global, after acquiring the position as a country wide organization, keeping in view the period of its foundation which is 2008. In addition it has developed affiliations and collaboration for different Biosafety promotion and development programs in line with International organizations to bring and recognize biosafety as separate scientific discipline within Pakistan. As a founder Member and 1st General Secretary and contemporary Member of Executive Council of PBSA, I feel proud that the landmarks and feats achieved by it in a short period, and also excited with its development and progress under the present talented leadership of PBSA. In near future PBSA can be seen as front-runner association of this region providing Biosafety & Biosecurity training and leadership along with its National and International affiliates and collaborators. Pakistan Zindabad !
While serving as the President of Pakistan Biological Safety Association from 2016-2018, 2018-2020, and 2020-2022, I feel we are working hard to improve the biosafety and biosecurity in Pakistan. We are pioneers in introducing biorisk management in Pakistan and our work has been acclaimed nationally and internationally. We have successfully completed multiple projects and our success indicates our commitment towards our mission to improve biorisk management in Pakistan.