Pakistan’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Credentials

The Shaheen-III missile is displayed during the Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2016.
The Shaheen-III missile is displayed during the Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2016. Image courtesy: Dawn

Nuclear security requires utmost vigilance and preparation at all the levels without any complacency. Pakistan accords utmost importance to nuclear security and that is why Pakistan has an excellent nuclear command and control structure. Pakistan has instituted measures in the broader realm of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear security are legislative, legal, regulatory, institutional development, operational and enforcement, and international cooperation. However, Pakistan is still being brought into the spotlight for baseless remarks made internationally by the segments who just want to discredit Pakistan.

India’s non-proliferation record has always been problematic, and the security of its nuclear infrastructure has always been questionable. India has a poor record of maintaining the security of its civil and military nuclear enterprise. Its nuclear program is not under IAEA safeguards, which could lead to nuclear terrorism, whereas, several incidents of Uranium theft have also been reported. India also has been involved in the nuclear proliferation activities to other countries, including Iran and Iraq. The most significant proliferation act was the diversion of nuclear energy into the nuclear weapon program in 1974, which lead to the formation of NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group). The world, instead of keeping an eye on this irresponsible nuclear weapon state, maligns Pakistan without any evidence.

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Pakistan is the most secure state in terms of nuclear security, amongst the non-NPT states. It has established a comprehensive and effective national nuclear security regime which is at par with international standards and guidelines. Despite that Pakistan is often under critical spotlight for the security concerns, overlooking the flagrant security and safety loopholes of the other nuclear weapon state in South Asia. Recently, there have been reports in British media regarding a package containing Uranium, found at London’s Heathrow Airport, originated from Pakistan. Though, Pakistan Foreign Office has denied such allegations, but why they have been made at first place, without proper investigation, is highly irresponsible of the British media. This is an open attempt to defame Pakistan. For the identification of the source of Uranium material, nuclear forensic needs to be done to trace the origin of radioactive material. When any radioactive material is found, experts gather and analyze the evidence, and the sample is compared with the other radioactive material in the specified country, which helps investigators track where the seized material came from. Nuclear forensic has not been done in this case, and Pakistan has been falsely blamed for being the origin source.

Pakistan has always been a responsible nuclear weapon state, its safety and security records are impeccable. Pakistan has a comprehensive nuclear security regime, which comprises of the legislative and regulatory framework, which governs the security of nuclear material. Pakistan developed National Command Authority as an effective and robust command and control structure. It is the apex decision making body for all nuclear matters including nuclear security.  Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) is the competent and independent body for the regulation of nuclear safety, physical protection, radiation protection, transport and waste safety in Pakistan. PNRA promulgated ‘Regulations on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Installations’, which is in consistent with the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, and its 2005 amendment. The ‘Regulations on Security of Radioactive Sources’ is in line with the IAEA code of Conduct on nuclear safety and security of radioactive resources and its two supplementary guidance documents.

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Pakistan has developed a stringent export control system to monitor the items that could be used for the development of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or their delivery systems. The Strategic Export Control Division (SECDIV) administers the export controls. The Export Control Act of 2004 is an effort of Pakistan to strengthen the control over exports on nuclear, biological and related material and their delivery systems. The National Control Lists of Pakistan are comprehensive and are reviewed periodically, taking into consideration the changes made by the international export control regimes. The system for the classification of dual-use technology is in consistent with the European Union integrated list. Moreover, Pakistan very well contemplates that the weak security of nuclear and related material, like in India, could result in any kind of mishap, and thus vigorously enforces United Nation Security Council Resolution 1540.  Pakistan has successfully implemented IAEA nuclear security program. Pakistan contributes and benefits from the IAEA regarding security of nuclear material in accordance with its mandate.

Nuclear security regime of Pakistan includes not only technological systems, but the human resources needed to manage, operate, administer and maintain equipment. For that purpose, Pakistan has developed, Pakistan Centre of Excellence for Nuclear Security (PCENS, NCA); National Institute of Safety and Security (NISAS, PNRA); Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS, PAEC). Various national and international nuclear security courses are being conducted in collaboration with the IAEA. Moreover, Pakistan has been internationally endorsed by many knowledgeable persons for its effective security measures, even PCENS has been used as a training institution by IAEA.

Thus, Pakistan is contributing more to the international non-proliferation efforts and through its highly responsible behavior makes sure no incident of theft or any other kind befalls. Still, Pakistan has been brought into unfavorable attention over such immature behavior of media. The international media, however, closes its eyes to India’s shenanigans, whose nuclear weapons are in the hands of religious fundamentalist regime, and who over and again threatens its use just for their political motives. The real danger lies in India, where the nuclear weapon, since its inception has been used a political tool, and they are, thus, least interested in its protection, as we have seen numerous examples of nuclear theft in India.

Moreover, the world should play its role now. It is for the non-proliferation regime now to play its part and adopt a non-discriminatory and criteria-based approach in order to create space for Pakistan to become the part of non-proliferation regime, considering its excellent record and responsible behaviour. Pakistan’s expertise, capabilities, and strong credentials of cooperation could help further the goals of non-proliferation regime.  Moreover, it is India that needs to be schooled on by the international nuclear establishment regarding the importance of securing the nuclear and nuclear related material for national, regional and international security.



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