NEW YORK: Pakistan Permanent Representative to United Nations Maleeha Lodhi said that some nuclear weapons states preaching non-proliferation to others while intent upon upgrading and modernising their inventories.
Pointing to this “nuclear doublespeak”, Ms. Lodhi said that the global disarmament agenda was being impeded by lack of progress by the nuclear weapons states in fulfilling their legal disarmament obligations.
Speaking in the annual Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission, she reiterated Pakistan’s principled opposition to an unequal and discriminatory Fissile Material Cut off Treaty (FMCT).
He said that some states have chosen to call for commencement of negotiations to divert attention from their failure to comply with legal disarmament obligations.
Explaining the rationale of Pakistan’s misgivings about an FMCT as envisaged, she said the treaty would serve to Pakistan disadvantage and negatively affect strategic stability in South Asia.
“For Pakistan, a treaty on fissile material concerns our vital security interests,” Lodhi stressed.
She added that countries possessing nuclear weapons 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.
She pointed out that 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.
Ms. Lodhi also drew attention to the grant of discriminatory waivers as a key challenge to long-held non-proliferation norms and rules, saying that such waivers carry obvious proliferation risks.
“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,” she said.
“Disruption of strategic stability in South Asia by induction of nuclear weapons in our neighborhood fundamentally challenged my country’s security,”she added saying the Pakistan was left with no option but to follow suit to restore strategic stability in the region and deter all forms of aggression.
Ambassador Lodhi regretted that none of the proposals made by Pakistan over the years to keep South Asia free of nuclear weapons and missiles elicited a positive response.
She recalled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s address to the UNGA last year in which he had underlined Pakistan’s resolve to maintain strategic 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”.
Ms. Lodhi said that Pakistan’s nuclear conduct “continues to be defined by restraint and responsibility, and avoidance of an arms race.”
She that Pakistan has the credentials and expertise to be part of international export control bodies and has sought membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
She urged the NSG to establish and adhere to a transparent, objective and non-discriminatory criterion that ensures equal treatment of non-NPT applicants for the group’s membership.