On Wednesday May 28, 2014 Dr. Shireen Mazari (MNA ) Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf and Director General of the Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad (SSII) hosted a seminar on “The Changing Nature of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Debate” at the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) in Islamabad. Diplomats, politicians and representatives of the civil society attended the seminar, which coincided with the sixteenth anniversary of Pakistan’s nuclear tests at Chaghai in 1998. Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi Deputy Parliamentary Leader , Pakistan Tehreek I Insaaf presided over the seminar. The speakers included Dr. Shireen Mazari, Ambassador (R) Tariq Osman Hyder and Mr. Khalid Banuri, Director General ACDA at the Strategic Plans Division.
In her presentation titled the changing nature of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Debate, Dr Shireen Mazari highlighted the discriminatory approach of the global non-proliferation regime. She highlighted how the US India Nuclear deal and the NSG waiver for India had undermined the global non-proliferation regime. She said that the contemporary non-proliferation debate was focused exclusively on the nuclear programmes of certain countries namely Iran and Pakistan. In order to make progress on the issue there was a need to talk about the proliferation by Western Countries specially those supporting the Israeli nuclear programme. In conclusion Dr Mazari suggested that the only way forward for both India and Pakistan was the security route to cooperation which would be based on mutual trust and enhance cooperation between both nations. “After all, both Pakistan and India are conventional energy deficient states and both are overt nuclear powers so there is no reason not to cooperate in the field of civil nuclear energy with both countries sharing joint control of the relevant technology.”
Mr Khalid Banuri’s paper focused on Pakistan’s Nuclear Policy especially in the context of India-Pakistan relations. Referring to “Nasr” he said that it demonstrates a capability that Pakistan possesses and both India and the West need to keep that in mind. It offers full spectrum deterrence but does not move the country away from credible minimum deterrence. Talking about the peaceful uses of nuclear energy he said that although the issue remained largely eclipsed, Pakistan’s achievements in the field of nuclear medicine and agriculture merit greater attention. On the issue of Nuclear safety and security he emphasized that Pakistan was confident but never complacent. In conclusion he said that the road to CBM’s with India always remains open.
In his presentation titled Pakistan and Suppliers Cartels, Ambassador Tariq Osman Hyder provided an overview of Pakistan’s Strategic Trade Controls and how they fit into the country’s larger efforts concerning non-proliferation. He spoke about how being outside the supplier cartels Pakistan inevitably reacts slowly to proposed changes in supplier’s lists etc. On the issue of Nuclear Suppliers Group Ambassador Hyder said the NSG’s credibility would be further eroded based on the proposed exemption for India. If such an exemption is not offered to Pakistan it will create problems for the non-proliferation regime and be totally unacceptable to Pakistan. Higlighting the discriminatory approach of the regime he said that Pakistan’s MTCR membership is pending since 2006. He concluded by saying Pakistan cannot be treated as a partner and discriminated against at the same time.
In his concluding remarks Mr Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Pakistan has always been supportive of non-proliferation and Pakistan was a nuclear power albeit a reluctant one. Qureshi argued that access to nuclear technology is a requirement for Pakistan. He also spoke about the advancements in nuclear medicine and agriculture and how they benefited Pakistan. Pakistan has been sponsoring resolutions at the UN for a nuclear weapon free zone in South Asia . How much more commitment can Pakistan show? Nuclear Energy is now a requirement of not only security but our economy too. How do we overcome electricity problems? Referring to the Kalabagh issue he said that Pakistan could not build consensus on a vital national issue. Afghanistan situation is not permitting TAPI Pipeline to be expedited. Pakistan signed agreement with Iran to address the issue. It could however not find financers because of sanctions on Iran. The only way out is nuclear energy or peaceful use of nuclear technology. Pakistan has a fairly good track record and the IAEA has expressed satisfaction on our safety mechanisms. The world has to recognize the concerns of NPT member states including Iran who have a right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Pakistan has a reasonable case too in context of FMCT. If there are security concerns for the country, they will need to be resolved. If security concerns are not addressed, countries will find a way eventually and Pakistan is a case in point.