Saturday September 18, 2021

Nuclear discrimination impacting regional security, says Pakistan

February 13, 2016

Foreign secretary demands NSG membership for Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry on Friday said discriminatory approach towards Pakistan on the nuclear issue had impacted the strategic stability in South Asia.

He was speaking at the launch of three reports under the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad’s nuclear paper series, organised by the (ISSI) here.He said Pakistan was a responsible nuclear state and a peace-loving nation and was compelled to acquire nuclear weapons after explosions by India. He said Pakistan offered many proposals including a non-aggression pact to India which it did not respond favourably.

As a nuclear state, Pakistan always endeavoured to fulfil its international obligations, he stressed.He pointed out that the nuclear programme of Pakistan was working under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “We have invested heavily on nuclear safety export control regimes and robust command and control structure.”

He said during the last strategic talks, the US acknowledged in unambiguous terms credibility of Pakistan’s nuclear programme. He said Pakistan should be given the membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), adding Pakistan had legitimate uses for fissile material.

Pakistan had been consistently and constructively engaging the international community members of the NSG and IAEA, Aizaz said adding a criterion-based approach for the membership of NSG would serve the purpose of strategic stability.

He said Pakistan had not indulged in nuclear arms race and had only acquired minimum credible deterrence. Pakistan believed that scarce resources should be used for socio-economic development, alleviation of poverty and economic growth, he added.

Aizaz Chaudhry said Pakistan reserves the right to keep its nuclear programme running for its defence and balance the numbers game.

Director General ISSI Ambassador Masood Khan said Pakistan had demonstrated utmost restraint in its nuclear programme, which was India-specific. He reminded that Pakistan had been discriminated with all sorts of sanctions during the development of its nuclear programme.

The discrimination must come to an end and double standards should not be applied. He said Pakistan should continue to pursue dialogue for civil nuclear deal with the US adding Pakistan was a legitimate and normal nuclear power and had legitimate needs for nuclear energy.

Director General Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs Khalid Banuri said dispute resolution dialogue and equal security would enhance peace in South Asia. Pakistan was not the first to acquire the nuclear weapons and it desired regional peace, security and stability, he added.

“Our nuclear capability is meant to maintain regional security and avoid war by maintaining credible and minimum nuclear deterrence.”For India, nuclear weapons were for prestige while for Pakistan the purpose was to stop external aggression, Banuri said adding only necessary national resources were devoted for nuclear programme.

Banuri said India was increasingly getting belligerent and its relations with neighbours had deteriorated.Dr Rizwana Abbasi, Dr Zafar Khan, Malik Qasim Mustafa, Ghazala Yameen, Jalil Tahir, Mahmood Azad and Dr Naeem Salik presented their papers on nuclear issues.