‘Fertiliser as explosives’: government tightens mechanism to regulate nitrate trade


October 30, 2013


The government has tightened the mechanism to control/regulate manufacturing, sale, storage and transportation of ammonium nitrate, calcium ammonium nitrate and potassium chloride, etc, to prevent their use as an ingredient in explosives in use by terrorists, well-informed sources in the Ministry of Industries and Production revealed.

Calcium ammonium nitrate is used in roadside bombs in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the US believes that this fertiliser comes from Pakistan. In December last year, Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organisation (JIEDDO) had informed the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern, South and Central Asian Affairs that Pakistan’s national counter-IED strategy had not been fully implemented and legislation pertaining to the matter had yet to be passed by the Parliament.

He maintained that a strong US-Pakistan partnership was required to tackle IED networks on both sides of the border and that both countries needed to move beyond discussing co-operation to actual co-operation. The US Administration took up this issue at all the high level fora aimed at stopping smuggling of fertilisers being used in manufacturing of explosives. The sources said GoP has taken a number of measures to control illicit use/sale of such materials.

According to sources, border security/other security agencies have been assigned the task of exercising strict control on smuggling of such fertilisers and even authorised/licence holding manufacturing companies are bound to obtain No Objection Certificate (NoC) from the government for the purpose and to arrange for transit security to deter pilferage.

“Manufacturer/importer/purchaser/user of such products are bound to submit fortnightly reports to the Chief Inspector Explosives regarding extent of their manufacturing, import, sale and use,” the sources continued. The sources stated that manufacturer/importer/purchaser and users are also bound to get NoC from the Explosives Department for the release of such products from the custom authorities.

The stakeholders are responsible for preventing unauthorised access to these products during transportation and storage. The record of stock position of the products is required to be maintained at all levels, ie, manufacturing, sales, storage and use.

However, US officials fear that the threat of IEDs will increase next year as international troops begin the process of leaving their bases and pulling out of the country. According to the US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson around 2,395 people were killed till December 2012 in such attacks in the past year. The causality figurers were based on the data collected by the US embassy in Pakistan. Courtesy BR

Fertiliser, Nitrate, Calcium Ammonium Nitrate, Potassium Chloride

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