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Friday June 02, 2023

‘Security threat for Pakistan real, existential’

March 25, 2023

Islamabad:For Pakistan, the security threat is both real and existential, which has been further intensified by the Indian quest for war, domination and hegemony as the so-called “net security provider” in the region.

This was stated by Gen (r) Zubair Mahmood Hayat, former Chairperson, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, at the launching of former ambassador Zamir Akram’s book “The security imperative - Pakistan`s nuclear deterrence and diplomacy” organised here by the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS).

Gen Zubair said that India is the biggest nuclear “black hole” in the world that introduced nuclear weapons in South Asia and the Indian Ocean.

The NSG waiver by the US and the Indian acquisition of BMD (ballistic missile defence) and ASAT (anti-satellite weapons) capabilities are the most destabilising factors in South Asia. Furthermore, the narrative building is a core component of every aspect of the nuclear deterrence spectrum and the author put forward Pakistan`s narrative in an effective manner. The essence of this book is how diplomacy transcends into nuclear diplomacy to support the national policy and posture, he said.

Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, Director, the School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, said that the author sounds nuclear optimist while describing Pakistan`s reasons for developing a nuclear programme. He said that Mr Akram narrated Pakistan`s nuclear history, separating facts from fiction. As a first-hand diplomatic account of Pakistan`s nuclear programme set in the broader geopolitical context, this book is a distinctive addition to the existing literature in the field, he concluded.

Maj Gen (r) Ausaf Ali, Advisor Strategic Plans Division (SPD), said that this book elucidates almost all facets of Pakistan`s nuclear project. It highlights the technical, financial and security challenges faced by Pakistani engineers and scientists. Above all, this book is a narration of how our skilled diplomats quietly but successfully contested, protected and determined Pakistan`s nuclear future at key capitals and various multilateral forums in an unfriendly environment.

Zamir Akram highlighted the biased and unfair treatment towards Pakistan in the nuclear realm. He stressed that Pakistan had repeatedly made clear that the development of its nuclear programme was a ‘security imperative’ and India-specific. The failure of security alliances to protect Pakistan`s territorial integrity and sovereignty in 1965 and 1971, contributed to engendering the determination to acquire nuclear weapon capabilities. The 1998 testing was the finest hour in the history of Pakistan. These tests brought about a paradigm shift in the historic correlation of power between Pakistan and India and replaced it with a new security calculus between India and Pakistan. He also said that credible deterrence does not remain static because of changes in technology and policy. Therefore, Pakistan should be vigilant and continuously evolve its conventional and nuclear capabilities to avoid nuclear ‘blackmail’ from India.

Khalid Mahmood, Chairperson, BoG, Sohail Mahmood, DG, and Malik Qasim Mustafa, all from ISS, also spoke on the occasion.