Maria Sultan: Pakistan’s position on the issue of blocking the negotiations of FMT at the CD cannot be seen in isolation and is the product of destabilising trends in the S. Asian region and the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.
Dr Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema: The NPT regime is not as effective as it used to be in its formative years. Now even great powers have lost their interest in the treaty. The US policies are fast eroding non-proliferation regime by its discriminatory policy in South Asia.
Mohammad Malick: The Indo-US Treaty seriously undermines global non-proliferation agenda. There is a growing need to achieve nuclear disarmament on global level and not on the interests of the only power, which is guiding a policy of discrimination.
Dr. Javed Laghari, chairman of the Higher Education Commission and patron-in-charge of the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute, said that any discriminatory waiver would only increase the asymmetry of fissile material stockpiles in South Asia, which not only goes against Pakistan’s security interest but could very easily push the region into a nuclear arms race which is neither desirable nor helpful.
He was inaugurating the three-day International Conference 2011 on ‘Fissile Material Treaty (FMT): Possibility and Prospects’ organised by the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) here on Sunday night. Maria Sultan, director-general of SASSI, conducted the proceedings.
Dr. Laghari hoped that the conference would justify the need for consensus to start negotiations on FMT, which were central to international non-proliferation and arms disarmament measures and keeping the effectiveness of the Conference of Disarmament (CD) as the custodian of the multilateralism in international arms control negotiations. He said that the CD at this moment was facing a deadlock. He lamented that a new trend of selectivity based on commercial interests was developing which would increase the possibility of proliferation without the fear of costs.
He said this would result in the creation of a new category of nuclear weapon state outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which must not only be discouraged but also stopped because it was contradictory to the original bargain of the NPT, and a challenge to national security of member states as well as the international security.
The HEC boss observed to be rightly proud of partnership with SASSI with its 50 research publication over the last six years and the holding of almost 36 international workshops and seminars and 58 in-house and bilateral meetings.
Talking at the first plenary session on Monday morning, Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman said that the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute deserved great appreciation for organising such a thought-provoking workshop on FMT which became central to Pakistan’s security and consequently to regional and international security.
He said that Pakistan is not alone in talking about the pre-existing stocks of fissile material as NAM and G-21 also support Pakistan’s stance. He said that Pakistan is not in violation of any rule in the CD and the whole nation is united when the issues of national security surface.
He said that Pakistan proposed to establish strategic restraint regime in South Asia in 1980s but due to Indian reluctance, nothing could be achieved in this regard. When India and Pakistan tested their nuclear weapons in 1998 and later on both states imposed moratorium on further nuclear weapons testing, he said, our foreign secretary observed that this self-imposed moratorium imposed by India and Pakistan could turn into a legally binding moratorium but once again India did not reply positively.
Maria Sultan said that Pakistan’s position on the issue of blocking the negotiations of FMT at the CD cannot be seen in isolation and is the product of destabilising trends in the South Asian region and the global nuclear non-proliferation regime as a result of the policies of discrimination and selectivity of the powerful few.
Dr. Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, dean of the National Defence University, said that if the stockpile issue was addressed, the path of FMT would be easy as Pakistan would not then resist it. He said that the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project could not be materialised due to the vacillating attitude of India. He said that the NPT regime is not as effective as it used to be in its formative years. Now even great powers have lost their interest in the treaty. He said that the US is fast eroding the non-proliferation regime by its discriminatory policy in South Asia. The nuclear order has rapidly been replaced by the nuclear disorder, he said.
Dr. Mumtaz Ahmad, president of the International Islamic University, said that the US and the West want iron-clad guarantees from Pakistan that the nuclear weapons or material does not fall in the hands of Osamas and Taliban of this world. Referring to the threats to Fukushima reactor in Japan, he said that Osamas of tsunami and Taliban of earthquakes also need to be addressed. If a developed country like Japan feels it so difficult to face the challenge, what will be the situation of other countries like Pakistan, he asked.
Mohammad Malick, resident editor of ‘The News’, said that multilateralism refers to the United Nations whereas unilateralism is a US-led mechanism. He said that in multilateralism, all countries should realise that their existence is linked with world peace in a world where all countries are equal. He said that an FMT should put a ban on all weapons (present or future), as if it only curtails future weapons, it will serve the haves. He said there would be increased pressure to shun weapons under the pressure of the ‘coalition of willing’. He said that the Indo-US Treaty seriously undermines global non-proliferation agenda. There is a growing need to achieve nuclear disarmament on global level and not on the interests of the only power, which is guiding a policy of discrimination.
Shumaila Ishaque Chaudhry of the SASSI said that national security of the powerful would dominate the global non-proliferation security agenda, which would not lead to a strengthened non-proliferation regime. She said that pressure on Pakistan to negotiate the treaty is undermining the purpose of CD as no state can pursue policies or treaty, which undermines its national security interest while it does not undermine the security of major powers.
Sajida Mansoor in a joint presentation with Majid Mehmood said that the regional and global trends in the domain of space accentuate asymmetries and would perpetuate instability in South Asia. Nasir Naveed Dogar of the SASSI said that FMT should not be negotiated in vacuum and security concerns of all states must be considered.
In the presentation by Rida Zeenat and Syed Adnan Bukhari, Ms Rida said that India is capable of detecting very small targets in the 600-km to 800-km range and can spot objects as small as a cricket ball. Referring to destabilising trends like mutual vulnerability to pre-emption and Indian nuclear triad, she said that our leaders should play wiser.
Presenting a joint presentation of Sobia Saeed Paracha, Sidra Malik, Mohammad Suleman and Masood ur Rehman Khattak of the SASSI, Ms Sobia said that it is imperative for the international community, including US-EU and other stakeholders in CD, to come forward and resolve the outstanding issues between India and Pakistan to make ground for an effective FMT.
Tahir Nazir, in the presentations jointly prepared with Mehwish Lodhy and Khadija Sharif, said that effective, credible and legally binding security assurances for non-nuclear weapon states against the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons are required adding that negative security assurance does not require any additional burden. Anum Fayyaz made presentation she jointly wrote with Yasir Halim.