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Friday, April 19, 2024

How Pakistan has strengthened its non proliferation regime?

Pakistan has always urged the international community to adopt a non-discriminatory and uniform approach, in order to promote the norms of the nuclear non-proliferation regime in South Asia. The international actors should appreciate the responsible behavior of Pakistan and its efforts towards achieving the goal of non-proliferation.

Pakistan is a country in South Asia that very well realizes the significance of the non-proliferation regime and its impact on peace and security especially living in a fragile South Asia’s complex environment. Unfortunately, Pakistan has been treated distinctively in a discriminatory manner in nuclear matters by international actors. Ironically, here, lies the answer as to why the world is not successful towards achieving its long overdue goals of a non-proliferation regime. A comprehensive mechanism has been offered in terms of IAEA Safeguards, Export Control Cartels, Nuclear Weapons Free Zones and of course, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Over the decades, Pakistan has proved itself as a responsible nuclear weapon state in its policies, in fact, more than any other signatory member of NPT. Pakistan respects and supports the global non-proliferation regime at different organizational platforms. It has voluntarily contributed extensively to all multilateral accords and conventions to counter the increasing threat of proliferation. The country presented its approach in settling the issues in CTBT, FMCT and MTCR. It has also played an active role in developing a consensus on UNSC Resolution 1540 which aims to prevent the proliferation of CBRN weapons and to prevent these weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists.

Pakistan’s effort in strengthening its defense equipments

At home, Pakistan has built up a robust command and control system to ensure effective safeguards to its nuclear assets against any odds. The country has left no stone unturned to match up its nuclear program to the international standards of nuclear safety and security. It enjoys close cooperation with IAEA and enjoys the organization’s appreciable acknowledgments regarding the comprehensive safety measures. Pakistan recently hosted an Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) Follow-up Mission comprising 10 foreign experts from IAEA and nuclear regulatory bodies of UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia, and Ethiopia from 28 Feb to 7 Mar, 2022which lauded Pakistan’s efforts to keep its nuclear regulatory infrastructure and functioning at par with the international safety standards of the IAEA.

Despite being an active member of global non-proliferation regime, Pakistan has experienced a sheer discriminatory & unjust approach when it comes to the membership of NSG.DG of Foreign Ministry’s Arms Control and Disarmament Division, Mr. Kamran Akhtar said in a seminar in January 2021, “NSG very much epitomizes the politics of non-proliferation at the global level.” He accused the NSG of according “precedence to the interests of the nuclear supplier states.” Indian and Pakistani applications for membership have been held up at the NSG since 2016 because of their non-NPT status and differences between NSG members over the admission criteria.

According to Mr. Akhtar, Pakistan is better qualified than India, even going by the formula proposed by DG IAEA Grossi in 2016, unlike India, it does not have a mix of safeguarded and unsafeguarded nuclear facilities and has been more forthcoming in accepting legally binding commitments. He further added, “If there was an argument that mainstreaming of India would benefit the non-proliferation regime, the Indian behavior since joining MTCR belies that argument.”Pakistan thus rightly has urged the international community to devise non-discriminatory and unbiased policies for all. Pakistan calls for the equal treatment of two South Asian nations when it comes to NSG membership.

What has shaped Pak’s non-proliferation policies?

It is a very well-known fact that Pakistan‘s non-proliferation policies have been shaped and conditioned by its regional security environment. As India embarked upon a status-driven ambitious nuclear and missile program, Pakistan was compelled to develop a nuclear and missile capability of its own to counter the security threat from India. Very recently, Pakistani delegate Mohammad Omar recently told the Conference on Disarmament (CD)in January 2022, “It is India which dealt a death blow to non-proliferation norms by conducting its first nuclear test in 1974, followed by additional nuclear tests in 1998.” India conducted the test by diverting nuclear material from the Canada-supplied CIRUS reactor in clear violation of its safeguards commitments to the suppliers.

Following a policy of Credible Minimum Deterrence, Pakistan has always exercised restraint and it maintains a posture of full-spectrum deterrence to deter all conventional and nuclear threats emanating from India and to maintain the regional strategic balance. It has categorially denounced the Indian ambitious nuclear arms program.

Pakistan is a strong advocate for the peaceful use of nuclear technology as it has to meet the challenges of energy security. Pakistan‘s nuclear energy goal of producing 40,000 MW by 2050 stems from its growing energy demands. Pakistan cannot achieve this goal until international state actors and organizations adopt a non-discriminatory and unbiased approach towards handling nuclear matters of Pakistan.

On 5 Mar 2022, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) successfully connected its Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Unit-3 (K-3) to the national grid. K-3 is the second NPP in Pakistan with a generation capacity of 1100 MW and its addition to the national grid is expected to help reduce electricity tariff. NPPs of Pakistan are being operated under the safeguards of IAEA.

Pakistan has always urged the international community to adopt a non-discriminatory and uniform approach, in order to promote the norms of the nuclear non-proliferation regime in South Asia. The international actors should appreciate the responsible behavior of Pakistan and its efforts towards achieving the goal of non-proliferation. At the same time, Pakistan should be given opportunities and support to achieve peaceful nuclear energy goals in order to ensure its energy security as well as share its pivotal role against climate change goals mentioned in COP26 guidelines. Nuclear energy is safe, reliable, and an important source of electricity with zero carbon emission besides being economically competitive. Pakistan continues to seek equality in both multilateral and bilateral measures in order to ensure nuclear non-proliferation in South Asia.


The writer is a visiting Senior Research Associate at SVI, Islamabad and previously served as Visiting Faculty, NUST, Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.