UN accepts Pakistan’s extended sea border

The UN has accepted Pakistan’s claim to extend its\ maritime exclusive economic zone to 350 nautical miles from 200 nautical miles. Addressing a news conference here Wednesday, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Azam Khan Swati said Pakistan filed its case at the UN on 30th of the last month and it got the historic success two day ago.
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After the UN acceptance, Pakistan will have right on all the resources of this additional maritime zone. He said under the UN laws a complete survey of the area was conducted which indicates that Pakistan will get economic benefits from this extended maritime zone.
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This will enable Pakistan to explore petroleum and mineral resources in general and benefit the offshore maritime industry and market in particular. The Federal Minister said that only twenty nine countries of the world have so far availed the right to file case in the UN.
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Earlier, Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York filed the claim to United Nations Commission on the Limit of Continental Shelf( UNCLOS) for extension of its continental shelf to 350 nautical miles from the present 200 nautical miles.
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The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) was involved in the preparation of the claim for the last couple of years. The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), an autonomous organization of the Ministry was entrusted the task to prepare the claim in accordance with the UN requirements. The case was prepared and submitted to Pakistani Mission in New York during April 2009 for submission before the deadline of 13th May 2009. The Pakistani Mission filed the claim on 30th April 2009.
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The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was adopted in 1982 and came into force on 16 November 1994. Pakistan ratified the Convention on 26 February 1997. The Convention entered into force for Pakistan on 28 March 1997.
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Under the UNCLOS, Pakistan presently has an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending up to 200 nautical miles which would be extended up to 350 nautical miles on meeting some conditionalities. Therefore, recognizing this and taking opportunity of UNCLOS Article 76, MoST has been endeavoring to address and pursue this extremely important issue of national interest, to have Pakistan’s Continental Shelf extended from 200 to 350 nautical miles.
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Pakistan would accrue substantial benefits from the extension as vast area of more than 50,000 km may be gained after the continental shelf extension. The data acquired during the project will provide a reliable and firm database and foundation, essential for future marine research and exploration of living and non-living marine resources.
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It will also provide ‘a good basis for our scientists/ technicians to further promote and develop the marine geological and geophysical research and survey capabilities.

From The Daily Mail, Islamabad

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