Pakistan formally submitted its membership application on May 19, 2016, a week after India applied for the group’s membership.
Sources within Pakistan have expressed hope that the group will stick to the non-discriminatory and impartial approach while considering grant of a ‘participating government’ status to Pakistan.
“Pakistan considers the nature of the threat that exists today needs to be addressed collectively and therefore, sees itself as a likeminded partner in the global non-proliferation efforts being a member of the nuke supplier band,” experts.
“Pakistan is participating in and cooperating with the global community to prevent and control proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as a responsible state,” they added.
The experts said, “NSG should follow an objective, equitable and non-discriminatory approach for admitting new members. Grant of exclusive NSG membership to only one non-NPT country would adversely affect progress in non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament measures at the multilateral forums, as well as regional peace, security and stability.”
Being a party to the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) is one of the main factors considered for admitting new participating governments in the NSG. Like India and Pakistan, Israel and South Sudan are also not signatories of NPT while North Korea withdrew from NPT in 2006 before conducting its first nuclear test.
Sources said Pakistan seeks a non-discriminatory and rule-based system for wider access to peaceful nuclear technologies, an imperative for its socio-economic and technological development.
According to Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi, Executive Director Islamabad-based Centre for International Strategic Studies, “Pakistan’s case to become NSG member is very strong as it fulfils all the requirements. Pakistani public has pinned high hopes for a non-discriminatory consideration on NSG.”
NSG’s decisions are influenced by massive United States (US) support, as seen in 2008. The US had secured a special trade waiver for India in spite of its domestic laws and non-proliferation norms that do not permit such exemption.
Despite being a non-NPT state, Pakistan has been a responsible nuclear power and synergistically works with and in accordance with International Atomic Energy Authority’s (IAEA) standards, Naqvi insisted.
Consistent with the NSG Plenary meeting’s decision in April 1992, at Warsaw, Pakistan believes that strategic, political expediencies and commercial competition should not compromise the mutually shared non-proliferation goals of NSG.
Recognising Pakistan’s capability to contribute to global nuclear research, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has also granted it the status of Associate Member. Pakistan is the only developing nation contributing to the highest number of scientists (out of total 300, 37 scientists are Pakistanis) in CERN programme whereas India is not even a member of the world’s prominent colloquium.
“Pakistan has legitimate needs for power generation to meet the growing energy demand of the expanding economy. Civil nuclear power generation under IAEA safeguards is an essential part of the country’s national energy security plan to support sustained economic growth and industrial development, and this can be easily achieved if the status of NSG membership is approved,” said Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema, Head Strategic Vision Institute and an expert on India.
Pakistan has established an autonomous Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) that collaborates with the IAEA, chiefly on matters of nuclear safety, security and radiation protection.
Cheema added, “Pakistan has a four-decade long experience of the safe and secure operation of nuclear power plants.”