Pakistan assails nuclear doublespeak

New York, 06 April 2016

At the United Nations, Pakistan assailed the double standards practiced by some states, which preach nuclear disarmament but fail to take necessary steps themselves.

Speaking in a session of the UN Disarmament Commission, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said that a handful of nuclear weapon states advocate abstinence for others but are unwilling to give up their large inventories of nuclear weapons or their modernization.

She said this doublespeak has only aggravated the sense of insecurity among other countries.

Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN told the world body that some nuclear weapon states have also concluded discriminatory nuclear cooperation agreements and helped grant waivers in an unfortunate departure from long held non-proliferation principles.

She said progress towards nuclear disarmament is being delayed and hindered by some who wish to divert the Conference on Disarmament’s focus to partial non-proliferation measures such as a Fissile Materials Cut Off Treaty (FMCT).

Reiterating Pakistan’s position on the FMCT, she said a treaty that is discriminatory in nature and does not address the existing stockpiles of fissile material would impinge on the security of some states while being cost free for those with the largest amounts of fissile stocks.

She pointed out that claims by some that an FMCT would put a quantitative cap on nuclear weapons were false. The reasons, she said, were self-evident; because the vast stockpiles of fissile material, coupled with the continued unsafeguarded production for civilian and non-explosive military purposes, provide a ready reserve of fissile material that could be waeponized at will.

Ambassador Lodhi said that there was no provision in the treaty favoured by some states that would constrain a quantitative or qualitative increase in nuclear weapons.

“Pakistan therefore cannot support an unequal treaty that has direct implications for our national security”, she added.

“Ambassador Lodhi also explained that as a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan’s nuclear policy is shaped by the evolving security dynamics in South Asia. “Our nuclear capability is geared towards assuring our security and self-defence, based on credible minimum deterrence”, she added.

She quoted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s address to the General Assembly last year in which he said “Pakistan neither wants to, nor is engaged in, an arms race in South Asia.” But the Prime Minister also made it clear that Pakistan cannot remain oblivious to the evolving security dynamics and arms build-up in our region, which obliges the country to take essential steps to maintain its security.

Ambassador Lodhi stressed that double standards were not only evident on nuclear issues but also in the area of conventional arms. “While professing strict adherence to responsible arms transfers, some powerful States continue to supply increasing number of conventional weapons in our region, thereby aggravating instability in South Asia”.

The Pakistani envoy said it was a grim irony that weapons, which propel and sustain conflicts, come from areas or regions that enjoy peace. Only four countries account for two thirds of global arms exports, while major importers are developing countries, mainly in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.