Pakistan has made notable advances in nuclear technology since the 1980s, when its Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) developed a nuclear plant for electric power generation and research programs. The AEC's three nuclear centers for agricultural research have employed nuclear techniques to improve crop varieties. Six nuclear medical centers provide diagnosis and treatment of patients with radioisotopes produced from Pakistan's own uranium resources. In May 1998, Pakistan conducted nuclear weapons tests in the desert of the Chagai Hills in response to Indian testing earlier that month. Five nuclear bombs were fired on 28 May and a sixth on 30 May.
The Karāchi Export Processing Zone (EPZ), established in 1980, has attracted foreign capital investment in advanced technologies. Another EPZ has been proposed for Lahore. EPZ now include those for computer assembly and parts manufacture, television assembly, other electrical and electronic products, and engineering.
Scientific learned societies include the Pakistan Academy of Science (founded in 1953 at Islāmābād), the Pakistan Association for the Advancement of Science (founded in 1947 at Lahore), and the Scientific Society of Pakistan (founded in 1954 at Karāchi). The Pakistan Council for Science and Technology is the chief government advisory body. The Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Pakistan Medical Research Council (both in Karāchi), and the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (in Islāmābād) promote research in their respective fields. In 1987–97, research and development expenditures totaled0.92% of GNP; 72 scientists and engineers and 13 technicians per million people were engaged in research and development in Pakistan in the 1990s. In 1996, Pakistan had 28 universities and colleges offering courses in basic and applied sciences. In 1987– 97, science and engineering students accounted for 32% of college and university enrollments.