Pakistan Cracks Down on Nuclear Smuggling with New Laws

Pakistan Cracks Down on Nuclear Smuggling with New Laws

Karachi, July 6, 2024 – Pakistan has taken a significant step towards bolstering national and international security by introducing stricter penalties for the smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) announced these amendments as part of the recently implemented Finance Act, 2024.

Coming into effect on July 1, 2024, these amendments strengthen the Customs Act, 1969. The new measures establish a tiered system of punishments designed to deter and penalize smuggling attempts based on the quantity and type of nuclear material involved.

FBR sources emphasize that these stricter regulations demonstrate Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to maintaining robust control over nuclear materials and prioritizing public safety. The penalties for smuggling offenses vary depending on the severity of the transgression.

For smaller quantities of specific nuclear materials, the following punishments apply:

• Offenses involving less than 15 grams of unirradiated Plutonium (excluding Plutonium exceeding 80% Plutonium-238 isotopic composition), less than 15 grams of unirradiated Uranium enriched to 20% or more of U-235, less than 1 kilogram of unirradiated Uranium enriched to 10% but less than 20% of U-235, less than 10 kilograms of unirradiated Uranium enriched above natural but less than 10% of U-235, or less than 15 grams of unirradiated U-233, will result in imprisonment for up to seven years, a fine of up to one million rupees, or both.

For larger quantities, the penalties become more severe:

• Smuggling offenses involving between 15 grams and 500 grams of unirradiated Plutonium (excluding Plutonium exceeding 80% Plutonium-238 isotopic composition), between 15 grams and 1 kilogram of unirradiated Uranium enriched to 20% or more of U-235, between 1 kilogram and 10 kilograms of unirradiated Uranium enriched to 10% but less than 20% of U-235, more than 10 kilograms of unirradiated Uranium enriched above natural but less than 10% of U-235, or between 15 grams and 500 grams of unirradiated U-233, will incur imprisonment for up to ten years and a fine of up to five million rupees.

The most significant quantities of smuggled nuclear materials carry the harshest penalties:

• Offenses involving more than 500 grams but not exceeding 2 kilograms of unirradiated Plutonium (excluding Plutonium exceeding 80% Plutonium-238 isotopic composition), more than 1 kilogram but not exceeding 5 kilograms of unirradiated Uranium enriched to 20% or more of U-235, more than 10 kilograms of unirradiated Uranium enriched to 10% but less than 20% of U-235, more than 500 grams but not exceeding 2 kilograms of unirradiated U-233, can lead to life imprisonment or imprisonment for up to 14 years, along with a fine of up to ten million rupees.

The FBR has confirmed that these new regulations strictly adhere to the guidelines set forth in the Regulations on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Installations (PAK/925) or any amendments established by the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA).

By enacting these stringent penalties, Pakistan reaffirms its commitment to upholding the highest international standards for nuclear security. The severe consequences for smuggling nuclear materials serve as a strong deterrent, aiming to prevent such activities and ensure that nuclear and radioactive substances remain under tight control. This, in turn, safeguards Pakistan’s national security and contributes to global efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials.