Workshop: Violations of the NPT

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“Violations of the NPT” in collaboration with the Research Society of International Law (RSIL)

Flags of member nations flying at United Nations Headquarters. 30/Dec/2005. UN Photo/Joao Araujo Pinto. www.unmultimedia.org/photo/

Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad (SSII) organised a workshop on July 28, 2016 titled “Violations of the NPT” in collaboration with the Research Society of International Law (RSIL). The workshop was attended by lawyers representing the Islamabad Bar Council and journalists from various media houses. Speaking on the occasion, DG SSII and Member National Assembly (MNA), Dr Shireen M. Mazari gave an overview of the importance of NPT in the global Non-proliferation regime.

Whilst discussing article 6 of the NPT, Dr Mazari said that all the five accepted nuclear weapon states have committed in good faith that they will reduce and eventually eliminate their nuclear weapons. She, however, emphasised that article 6 is a non-binding clause of the NPT saying it is the unique characteristics of the treaty because it has different sets of obligations for countries that don’t have nuclear weapons and countries that are recognised and are allowed to have nuclear weapons. Highlighting article 1 of the NPT, Dr. Mazari said that the five nuclear weapon countries have committed that they will not give any nuclear device and component to non- nuclear weapon states, especially those who have not signed the NPT. Therefore, she said, giving nuclear component to Pakistan or India is totally contrary to article 1 of the NPT. She said that the Indo-US nuclear deal and the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group waiver for India undermined the global non-proliferation regime and termed it as a clear violation of the international law by the major powers.

In Pakistan, she said, the successive governments have failed to build up the case against the violations of the NPT and never focused on the legal issues. She said that the media and legal fraternity should press the government to make a legal case against the violations of the non-proliferation regime by the major powers.

While appreciating the efforts made by Dr. Shireen Mazari regarding awareness creation on nuclear issues, Ahmer Bilal Soofi, President, Research Society of International Law (RSIL), said that in order to understand the contemporary world politics it is important to have the know-how of legal aspects of nuclear issues. International Law (IL) has now become a language of International Relations (IR). Affairs between state to state or state to non-state actors run within the framework of IL. Issues of IR, and nation-states’ foreign policies have legal dimensions, which the world understands with the help of IL. Therefore, the more states effectively use IL, the more chances are created to avail foreign policy goals. According to a Professor David Kennedy from a Harvard Law School, a dimension of world politics has emerged, which can be defined as a Lawfare, used to exert influence to achieve the national interests. Bilal Soofi explained that as wars are now characterised illegal, except for self-defence wars, therefore, states use IL for their interests. Similarly, nuclear law, which is a part of IL, is used by the states for nuclear issues.

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Mr. Soofi stated that NPT is the derivative of nuclear law. NPT was signed in 1968 and entered into force in 1970.  IAEA was created for the implementation of the NPT, under the IAEA statute. IAEA also monitors the nuclear trade for peaceful purposes of the nuclear energy. IAEA’s safeguard agreements are meant to ensure the non-diversion of the nuclear material and dual-use technology from peaceful purposes to military purposes.  For this purpose, the agency manages to establish distinction between civil and military nuclear facilities. However, if we talk about Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation deal, it can be said that the distinction between civil and military distinction is not very clear. Pakistan takes it as a violation of the NPT because there are chances of diversion of nuclear material from peaceful purposes to military purposes. Above that, the US is strongly supporting Indian candidature for a seat in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NPT), which is again a gross violation of NPT because a non-NPT state cannot become a member of NSG.

Bilal Soofi also shed light on the safety and security of nuclear material. He said that UNSC Resolution 1540 obligates states to ensure the safety and security of nuclear weapons, material, sites and dual-use technology. In this regard, Pakistan established National Command Authority (NCA) and enacted laws to manage the safety and security of nuclear materials and sites. Pakistan’s measures and export control lists are even considered to be better than that of other countries.  However, Pakistan is frequently blamed and criticised for having inappropriate safety and security measures, despite the country’s compliance with UNSC Resolution1540 and IAEA requirements.

Mr. Soofi further said that Pakistan considers nuclear power as source of their defence, therefore, the country did not sign the NPT, owing to its national security interests and inherent discrimination in NPT. The treaty bars its signatories from making or acquiring nuclear weapons, except five countries including Russia, Britain, France, China and the US. These five states are characterised as ‘nuclear weapon states’, and NPT does not oblige them to disarm their nuclear arsenals. However, discrimination in NPT and special treatment with India through various means are not being properly articulated in the Pakistani government policies. Pakistan should use various international forums for registering its concerns regarding the discriminatory nature of the NPT, and negative implications of Indo-US nuclear deal on the non-proliferation regime and peace and security of South Asia. Mr. Soofi criticised the US saying that if the US cannot resolve the regional disputes of South Asia, then it should not treat India with special arrangements, as it will only result into imbalance of power in the South Asian region. Pakistan has to formulate a legal approach towards all discriminatory issues. Moreover, Pakistan should also submit an application for amendment in NPT through IAEA for a special protocol recognising the country as a ‘nuclear weapon state’.

In conclusion, Mr. Soofi said that in Pakistan, there is little interpretation of NPT and understanding of nuclear issues. Pakistan should carry out serious policy making on the legal aspects of nuclear issues and register the violations of NPT and IAEA safeguard agreements. Furthermore, awareness should be raised on nuclear issue through workshops and seminars. Institutions can also teach short and long courses of nuclear studies, covering its political and legal dimensions.

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