“Introductory Session on Export Control and Pakistan’s Nuclear Policy”
On December 16, 2014, Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad (SSII) organised an introductory session on “Export Controls and Pakistan’s Nuclear Policy” at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ICCI). Dr. Shireen Mazari, Director General SSII chaired the event while the keynote speaker was Mr. Khalid Banuri, Director General ACDA at the Strategic Plans Division.
In her introductory remarks Dr. Shireen Mazari underscored the importance of understanding export control laws and Pakistan’s nuclear policies especially for the business community. She said that institutions in Pakistan worked in isolation and that there is no coordination between the civil society, business community and the government in Pakistan. She said it is important for the business community to be educated about important issues in order to be able to project Pakistan’s position on international platforms. While discussing the prevailing international system, she referred to Ralph Peter’s 2006 article titled “Blood Borders” published in US Armed Forces Journal where he mentios that powerful Muslim states would be weakened and ultimately broken up which is exactly what is unfolding in the contemporary Middle East. Dr. Mazari stated that the world has two competing global orders and there is no stability even today, one is uni-polarity (single hegemon) and the other is a “Coalition of the Willing” while the whole notion of security has been redefined. As a result the UN has been undermined. After the Cold War, people started to assume that economics would dominate the global order but if we look at the collapse of the Soviet Union, militarisation has now become more dominant than before. Economic issues are becoming militarised and they are now used for politico-military purposes, hence the need for the business community to understand such issues.
Dr. Mazari also highlighted the discriminatory approach of the global non-proliferation regime. She mentioned how the Indo-US 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 especially 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 would enhance cooperation between both the 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, DG ACDA Strategic Plans Division, presented the contours of nuclear politics in South Asia and gave an analysis of the uses of nuclear technology both for weapons and peaceful uses. He explained the importance and purpose of the nuclear weapons in the contemporary international strategic environment. He further elaborated the Non- Proliferation efforts by international non-proliferation and disarmament regime. Non- proliferation treaty is an example of the formal mechanisms of the Nuclear non- proliferation regime which is inherently discriminatory in nature. Some informal mechanisms are also significant like the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) which has also become a ground for the nuclear politics in South Asia. Mr. Khalid explained the salient features of different technology control regimes like NSG, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Australia Group (AG) and Wassenaar Arrangement (WA). These regimes consist of advanced technology holders with selective membership.
Talking about the geo-strategic landscape of South Asia Mr. Khalid Banuri said having three nuclear powers in close proximity (India + Pakistan + China) makes the geo-strategic landscape much more complex and prone to conflicts, competition and also cooperation. The geo-strategic interests of Pakistan are to maximize potential to benefit from available resources and to safeguard territorial integrity and sovereignty by increasing national power. India aspires for global power status and to acquire regional dominance by augmenting national power through forging alliances, e.g., with the US. Mr. Banuri presented the evolution of export controls and how they are practiced. He emphasized the significance of information sharing and the importance of acquiring knowledge of export controls for the business community. Regarding nuclear non-proliferation, Mr. Khalid Banuri saids that Pakistan has been taking different non-proliferation initiatives since 1974 and proposed CBSMs to India as well but they were always turned down by India. At the end Mr. Khalid Banuri elaborated the peaceful uses of nuclear technology and emphasized its benefits in agriculture and biotechnology. He said that Pakistani nuclear facilities are well protected in terms of their safety and security.
Question and Answers Session
The business community raised many concerns related to export control laws and procedures. Dr. Iqtidar Mehmood Dara shared his experience of being arrested and imprisoned in London on charges pressed by the German government. He was later acquitted. Dr. Dara was detained on exporting dual use items from Germany. He emphasized that individuals involved in exporting dual use items require awareness about the legal procedures and export control laws. Mr. Khalid Banuri responded that International law covers all aspects relating to export controls and emphasized the need for better information sharing mechanisms between public and private institutions. Another important issue raised during the session was the lack of adequate arrangements for the trading community whereby they can get important information regarding export control procedures. While responding to the matter, Mr. Khalid Banuri informed the Chamber of Commerce that there is a strategic export control division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the detailed information regarding export control laws are available on their website. Dr. Shireen Mazari emphasized that foreign office export control division should establish a liaison with business community across the country so that the businessmen are better informed about export controls. Another issue raised during the session was nuclear waste management. Mr. Khalid Banuri agreed that it is an important area and needs lot of attention. He explained that the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority has a waste management mechanism like any other developed country which works very closely with IAEA.
Another matter raised was the need to address the discriminatory attitude towards Pakistan by foreign manufacturers who market their products in many countries but deny exporting and facilitating Pakistan. Dr. Shireen Mazari argued the need to publicize cases of irrational discrimination .She stressed that these issues should be raised in public domain.