Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, at the 2017 Substantive Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission
(New York, 03 April 2017)


We congratulate you on your election as Chair of the Commission. This being the final year in the 3-year cycle of UNDC is of great significance. I assure you and the Bureau of our full support and cooperation.

Pakistan aligns itself with the statement delivered by Indonesia on behalf of Non-Aligned Movement.

We also thank High Representative Mr. Kim Won-soo for his statement.


The proceedings of this Commission are taking place against a turbulent global security backdrop. The international security picture is far from encouraging. Old conflicts continue to fester, as newer ones flare up. There are also signs of growing global tensions and confrontation.

Not surprisingly this fraught global political landscape has had a negative impact on the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Differences on perspectives, approaches and modalities continue to persist.

The hostile use of cyber and other emerging technologies, development and use of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) and armed drones, as well as the development of advanced conventional hypersonic systems of global reach are all worrying developments.


Most aspects of the disarmament and non-proliferation landscape do not present an optimistic picture. Instead the trends are mostly negative. The principal reason for this is the lack of progress made by the Nuclear Weapons States in fulfilling their legal nuclear disarmament obligations. That has negatively impacted on the efficacy of the non-proliferation regime.

Some Nuclear Weapon States are neither willing to give up their large inventories of nuclear weapons nor their modernization programmes, even as they pursue non-proliferation with messianic zeal. And, some thirty non-nuclear-weapon States – members of nuclear-armed alliances – continue to rely robustly on nuclear weapons while advocating abstinence by other States facing real security deficits, some of which are exacerbated by extravagant arms exports and nuclear cooperation.

The progress may further be impeded by certain recent developments including some nuclear weapon states vowing to ‘greatly strengthen and expand nuclear capabilities’ by outmatching potential competitors, thus, starting a new nuclear arms race. This is in flagrant violation of the basic principles enshrined in SSOD-I according to which, the nuclear weapon States together with other militarily significant States, have primary responsibility for nuclear disarmament and for halting and reversing the arms race.


Another key challenge to long-held non-proliferation norms and rules is the grant of discriminatory waivers to some and making exceptions for power or profit reasons.

Such waivers carry obvious proliferation risks. These ‘special arrangements’ are not only discriminatory and denote nuclear double standards but also open up the possibility of diversion of material intended for peaceful uses to military purposes. They contravene non-proliferation rules and also undermine regional strategic stability.

Many States continue to pursue these policies of granting waivers and exemptions, thus contributing to insecurity and imbalances in certain regions – especially in South Asia, where military expenditures are rising and conventional weapons inventories are expanding.


Disruption of strategic stability in South Asia by induction of nuclear weapons in our neighborhood fundamentally challenged my country’s security. We were left with no option but to follow suit in order to restore strategic stability in the region and deter all forms of aggression.

Pakistan has made a number of proposals to keep South Asia free of nuclear weapons and missiles. These included the simultaneous application of IAEA safeguards on all nuclear facilities and bilateral arrangements for their reciprocal inspections; simultaneous accession to the NPT; regional CTBT; Zero Missile Regime in South Asia; and the signing of a Non-Aggression Pact. Unfortunately, none of these proposals elicited a positive response.

In his address to the UNGA last year, our Prime Minister underlined Pakistan’s resolve to maintain strategic stability in the region. Guided by our commitment to the principles of non-proliferation, and with the aim of maintaining peace and stability in the region, our Prime Minister expressed readiness to agree on a bilateral arrangement between Pakistan and India on a nuclear test ban. This awaits a response.

Peace and stability in South Asia cannot be achieved without resolving underlying disputes; agreeing on measures for nuclear and missile restraint, and instituting conventional forces balance. Our proposal for a strategic restraint regime, based on these three inter-locking elements, remains on the table. Our conduct continues to be defined by restraint and responsibility, and avoidance of an arms race.


The existing and emerging challenges to global and regional security, and consequentially to arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, need to be addressed holistically on the basis of constructive and cooperative multilateralism.

For over a decade, Pakistan has been advocating the renewal and rebuilding of an international consensus on disarmament issues on the basis of the principle of equal and undiminished security for all. The international consensus which was reached about 4 decades ago through SSOD-I in 1978 has been eroding ever since. This Commission, as a deliberative body with universal membership, can play an important role in evolving such a consensus.


Rebuilding of the consensus is not going to be easy, given the interplay of competing perceptions, interests and approaches. However, it is becoming imperative for the Commission, to give a fresh impetus to this.

Let me outline some factors that can guide such an agreement:


To bolster consensus, progress is required on all four core issues of the disarmament agenda. There should be a renewed commitment to achieve nuclear disarmament within a reasonable timeframe. Without this commitment, the “bargain” of the non-proliferation regime will continue to erode.


For shifting the focus away from their failure to comply with their legal disarmament obligations, some Nuclear Weapon States and their allies have found it convenient to preach for commencement of negotiations for a highly discriminatory and imbalanced treaty – the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty.

As envisaged at present, a cut-off only treaty would freeze the status quo to our permanent disadvantage and negatively affect strategic stability in South Asia.

For Pakistan, a treaty on fissile material concerns our vital security interests. Among the states that possess nuclear weapons, most have either announced a unilateral moratorium on the production of fissile material or attained a level of comfort through continued national production and conclusion of special arrangements. It is only after amassing tons of fissile material, far in excess of any foreseeable defence need, that they were converted to the cause of FMCT.

Pakistan voted against UNGA resolution 71/259 titled “Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” Pakistan did not participate in the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on FMCT that worked during 2014-15 and is not going to participate in the 25-member High Level FMCT Expert Preparatory Group that is being established pursuant to this resolution.

The fate of this group will be NO different from the so-called “consensus” report of the previous GGE which utterly failed to reconcile the differing views, not just on scope, but also on principles, objectives, definitions, verification and entry into force. What could not be glossed over is the divergence of positions on almost all elements of the treaty among the 25 selected experts.


When it comes to giving legally binding assurances to non-nuclear weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, the position of some Nuclear Weapon States and their allies is simply incomprehensible. This issue is the ‘most ripe’ issue on the CD agenda and a legitimate demand of the over whelming majority of non-nuclear weapon States, pending progress on nuclear disarmament. Such assurances will not undermine the security of any nuclear weapon State. The reason for their opposition to such a cost-free measure is the perceived fear of their loss of hegemonic superiority.

Those Nuclear Weapon States need to take guidance from the cardinal principle of SSOD-I i.e. ‘equal and undiminished security for all at the lowest level of armament and military forces’.


Pakistan has been an active participant of and contributor to the initiatives like Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) process, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and its Implementation and Assessment Group. Pakistan has recently ratified the 2005 amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and declared adherence to NSG Guidelines.

Our export controls are fully harmonized with those of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Australia Group. In order to give effect to these measures, a well functioning Strategic Export Control Division (SECDIV) and an inter-agency Oversight Board to oversee the work of the Division, are in place for a decade now.

Pakistan accords the highest priority to ensuring a fool-proof safety and security mechanism in chemical, biological and nuclear areas. Over the years, we have put in place extensive physical protection measures, robust Command and Control structures, and effective regulatory regimes.


As manifestation of its continued commitment to the objective of non-proliferation, Pakistan hosted a 2-day 1540 Regional Seminar last month. It was attended by 28 participants from 16 countries of the region and international organizations. The Seminar served as a platform to provide useful guidance for participating States from the region in their implementation of resolution 1540.


In closing, let me recall that Pakistan has the requisite credentials and expertise to be part of international export control bodies and has therefore, as a first step, sought membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). As the NSG deliberates on the legal, technical and political aspects of membership of non-NPT countries, it must establish and adhere to a transparent, objective and non-discriminatory criteria that ensures equal treatment of non-NPT applicants for the Group’s membership.

I thank you.