ISSN 2330-717X

Hunting The Wrong Hare – OpEd

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Someone very rightly said that: “Imprudence is a moral failing of sorts, but alas it ranks low as a dreamtime concern”.

Once again, recent reports uncritically parrot the view that the Pakistan government’s nuclear position as dangerous, giving the impression to readers that Pakistan’s claims lack any basis. So, do we smell a conspiracy here too? The logic presented is full of loop holes and there exist no obvious solutions to the problem, as the problem presented in the reports is not the real cause of concern as the overlooking Pakistan’s security perception vis-à-vis India.

Since Pakistan successfully became a nuclear weapon state, it has been a continuous target of such propaganda in the media, sometimes containing a nature of euphemism or dysphemism.

Today, we know the situation is even worse, as not only Pakistan, but almost every other nuclear weapon state in the world now has big enough arsenals to be triggered. Yet, the difference still persists, with all attention focusing towards Pakistan.

Nuclear weapons are definitely absolute weapons. There is no need for Pakistan to balance India quantitatively. Thus, Pakistan has no intention to get into any arms race with India. All we need is the stability in the region, which our weapons have successfully accomplished.

One of the five points proposed to Pakistan is to “Separate civilian and military nuclear facilities”.

Regarding the sale to Pakistan of nuclear reactors by China, it should be noted that this deal is based on the Sept. 1986 civil nuclear deal that provides for a comprehensive civil nuclear cooperation framework under IAEA safeguards. As such, the IAEA must be notified that all the Chinese sales of power reactors to Pakistan comply with the full safeguards of international standards and are governed by the 1986 agreement — which was before China joined the NPT (1992) and the NSG (2004).

While, theoretically, it can be possible to suggest theories that nuclear power reactors can be used to produce weapons-grade plutonium, practically and economically such a procedure would be very disastrous as it needs a very large enrichment facilities such as which are only available in NSG countries.

Needless to say, using civilian power reactor plants to fulfill viable energy needs can be Pakistan’s policy, but nuclear power for weapons purposes has never been our practice. Meanwhile, the country has been steadfast in the implementation of all its international commitments and safeguard agreements for its civilian nuclear facilities.

The history over the past decades has proven that Pakistan is only reacting to the nuclear threat from a larger adversary and has no aggressive or hegemonic designs. Pakistan has been actively following international standards of safety and security. Despite Pakistan complying with the international standard it is still not accepted by the main stream. As such, this demonstrates that it is the international community that is failing, and not Pakistan.

For any nation, there is no interest supreme to its own national interest. So it is clearly in Pakistan’s interest, keeping in view its challenges, to retain its nuclear weapons capability. “How much is enough?” is a relative statement that encompasses many variables. Hence, it is beneficial for the international community to accept and appreciate Pakistan as a nuclear state after witnessing decades of its remarkable journey as a nuclear weapon state despite all the odds.

Lastly, the solutions presented by the experts are still not a guarantee that after even Pakistan accepts them, it will not be treated discriminately with respect to India. As per Real Politik, why will Pakistan sign the FMCT only to gain the moral support, while ignoring what its counterpart in the region is doing? Let’s suppose if Pakistan is bound by the FMCT, then what about the major Indian warfare advancements that are affecting the deterrence in the region — especially if we look at the 2005, Indo-US agreement-123 for civil nuclear energy, which is also known as Indo-US nuclear deal. Through this deal India can enhance the quantity and quality of nuclear weapons. It seems to be an altogether hypocritical policy. Both parties must gain some benefits only then it’s a win-win situation.

External interventions and reports will not give Pakistan nuclear stability nor security since the problem lies within the South Asian security structure that still needs to be understood.

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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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