By Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, Weekly Pulse Magazine, September 16, 2013
Pakistan is facing a serious propaganda problem. Despite its cooperative and transparent foreign and strategic policies, many international security observers express their unjustifiable anxiety on country’s nuclear program in particular and armed forces in general. Last week, once again, a brigade of security analysts repeated their concocted concerns regarding Pakistan’s nuclear program.
Admittedly, it’s not a new initiative; it is the same old story. Nevertheless, this kind of propaganda maligns country’s stature as a responsible nuclear weapon state. It also frustrates and repeals Islamabad’s efforts to engage the technological advanced nations to boost the peaceful use of nuclear technology for the prosperity of the people of Pakistan.
Importantly, the prejudiced conclusions about Pakistan’s nuclear program’s safety and security are neither successful in capping nor rolling backing the developmental process of the country’s program. On September 5, 2013, the National Command Authority in its meeting under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif reaffirmed the centrality of Pakistan’s nuclear program for the defence of the country. In addition, the NCA reposed full confidence in Pakistan’s robust nuclear Command and Control structure and all the security controls related to strategic assets of the country.
The Obama Administration has openly been supporting New Delhi’s membership in the four multilateral export control regime. These are the Nuclear Suppliers Group; the Missile Technology Control Regime; the Australia Group; and the Wassenaar Arrangement. India’s entry into these groups definitely minimizes Pakistan’s options to benefit from the sophisticated dual use technology for the peaceful use.
Washington had already ensured an uninterrupted nuclear material supply and nuclear technology transfer to India by an amendment in the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) in 2008. Importantly, the preferential treatment of India has not only inflicted irreparable damage on the twentieth century intelligently architecture nuclear nonproliferation regime, but is also encouraging arms race in South Asia. In addition, since the amendment in the NSG rules in 2008 to facilitate India, the items of the core agenda of the Conference on Disarmament at Geneva, Switzerland have been losing support from the member nations of the Conference.
The Pakistani new government could be confronting a nuclear related pressure in the near future. The United States led Western nations have already been pressurizing Islamabad to enter into the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (Treaty) negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament. Ironically, they demand from Pakistan to sacrifice its option to produce weapon-grade fissile material without contemplating its proposal to negotiate, constitute and finally implement a treaty, which would not only prohibit the current production of fissile material, but also ensure the elimination of the existing weapon-grade fissile material.
Besides FMCT, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), once again has been resurfacing in the international nuclear discourse. Indeed, it CTBT entry into force depends very much on the Obama Administrations attitude towards treaty as well as its lobbying within the United Senates for its approval. Notably, CTBT lost its significance, when Senate rejected President Obama’s bill for the ratification of CTBT in October 1999.
The preceding discussion underscores that Pakistanis should be vigilant about the new wave of nuclear discourse in the international media. Perhaps, the subjects and arguments will be the same, but the actors are different. Islamabad, therefore, needs to be only stick with its own national interest.