ISSN 2330-717X

Pakistan’s Nuclear Safety Deserves NSG Membership – OpEd

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To circumvent any threat of nuclear terrorism, on April 2009, President Barack Obama announced the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) initiative as an edge to keep nuclear weapons safe. The broader aspect was to minimize and secure nuclear weapons, while enhancing international cooperation to avoid any accident or incident, whereas the most important part was to enhance the cooperation in a way that terrorist groups could become unable to achieve any nuclear weapons as usable material.

In an effort to all this President Obama held the fourth Nuclear Summit in Washington, DC from March 31 to April 1, with some positive outcomes. The former Summits were held in Washington D.C. in 2010, followed by the one held in South Korea 2012, and Hague in 2014.

Recently, Pakistan’s Ratified Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) should be seen as an effort to acknowledge that Pakistan takes nuclear security as a national responsibility. Pakistan accepts nuclear security as a reality and a global concern with progress made in that direction.

With a robust command and control system led by the Apex body National Command authority (NCA) nuclear architecture has been strengthened. With strong credentials in nuclear security, Pakistan had been proactively engaged in promoting nuclear safety.

Additionally, Pakistan has consistently asserted that it is impossible for any outsider or non-state actor to take control over its nuclear weapons nullifying the proclaimed concerns shown in different quarters.

While managing a nuclear safety culture, Pakistan has also strengthened its personnel reliability program (PRP) under the supervision of Strategic Plans Division (SPD) to prevent radicalized individuals from infiltrating the nuclear program. Precluding any terrorism threat SPD has developed a strong and secure method that broadly covers issue related to national and nuclear security. Added to this-Lt Gen (Rtd.) Khalid Kidwai in a report released by Harvard Kennedy School made it clear that no one could dare to steal Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

This all doesn’t end here. In July 2015, Pakistan was unanimously announced to be a part of the prestigious CERN organization, a European organization for nuclear research, as an associate member —  the first country in South Asia, which is no doubt a major breakthrough keeping in mind all its efforts to promote safe use of nuclear energy.

Despite keeping aside all misgivings and apprehensions, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has on numerous times applauded Pakistan’s role as a responsible nuclear state with a top recipient of IAEA technical cooperation. Operating with over sixty years of unblemished record, the IAEA also praised the safe practice of its nuclear energy that is under IAEA safeguards and fully meeting the obligations in this regards.

Realizing all the positive achievements, Pakistan has kept its weapons safe and secured the attainment of its journey as an associate membership in CERN, with a balanced approach to be included Pin NSG, which will further strengthen the group in a meaningful way to achieve its goals.

As such, and as it is respecting non-proliferation concerns, Pakistan deserves the same bid for NSG criteria as does India, even though India is still having a hard time for making its nuclear weapons safe. After analyzing the procedures that Pakistan has followed for forty years, the country has strong credentials now to be a part of this multilateral export control regime.

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Usman Ali Khan

Usman Ali Khan is a graduate of Defence and Strategic Studies. The area of interests are Dynamics of nuclear proliferation, Tactical nuclear weapons, Disarmament, South Asia and Middle Eastern regional politics. The writer frequently writes on different national and international newspapers.

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