ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Wednesday said that it was committed to non-proliferation of the Weapons of Mass Destruction and shared the concern over the threat it posed to international peace and security.

Addressing the two-day international seminar on ‘the present and future of strategic export controls’, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua said Pakistan remained fully committed to the objectives of non-proliferation and disarmament.

“We recognise the necessity of exercising effective controls over the transfer of sensitive goods and technologies to prevent their misuse and diversion to non-peaceful uses. At the same time, all states have a legitimate interest in accessing dual-use technologies for genuine socio-economic development needs,” she said.

Earlier, the two-day seminar organised by the Strategic Export Control Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was opened. The seminar is aimed at reinforcing networking among export control community and strengthening engagements for promoting regional and international cooperation against the proliferation of WMDs and their delivery systems.

Independent experts and representatives from different regions and countries including from states which are members of Nuclear Suppliers Group, international export control regimes, UNSCR-1540 Committee, academia and industry are taking part in the seminar.

The foreign secretary reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the objectives of non-proliferation and export controls and said, Pakistan’s strategic export control regime followed international best practices and that export control guidelines, licensing procedures, and control lists were at par with the standards followed by the NSG, Missile Technology Control Regime and Australia Group.

She underscored Pakistan’s potential as a supplier state of items of the NSG’s lists and had the ability, expertise, infrastructure, and human resource to contribute to the objectives of the multilateral export control regimes.

Janjua emphasised that any country-specific exception for NSG membership, that overrode the long-established principles and norms, would be detrimental to the credibility of the global non-proliferation regime.

The seminar will cover a wide range of topics of contemporary relevance to trade in sensitive goods and technologies including emerging challenges and the latest developments, best practices in implementation, enforcement of export controls and the UN sanctions resolutions.

Janjua said the seminar provided an opportunity to share the details of the export control system in Pakistan and learn from the experiences and national and international best practices from the several experts.

She said Pakistan took it international commitments on non-proliferation very seriously. “We are fully implementing our obligations as a state party to various international instruments including the Chemical Weapons Convention, Biological Weapons Convention, Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Facilities, nuclear safety conventions and the International Atomic Energy Agency Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources,” she said.

Janjua said Pakistan had recently subscribed to the IAEA Supplementary Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources.

“We also actively participate in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. Pakistan regularly shares reports to the UN Security Council 1540 Committee on the implementation of the SC Resolution 1540,” she added. Over the years, she said, Pakistan had streamlined and strengthened its export control system and enhanced its engagement with multilateral export control regimes.

Janjua said the elements of nuclear security in Pakistan include robust command and control system led by the National Command Authority, rigorous regulatory regime, comprehensive export controls and international cooperation.

The regulatory regime encompasses all matters related to nuclear safety and security, including physical protection of materials and facilities, material control and accounting, transport security, prevention of illicit trafficking and border controls, she said.

“National plans are in place to deal with possible radiological emergencies through an elaborate Nuclear Emergency Management System,” the secretary said.

She said a state of the art Centre of Excellence on Nuclear Security had been established, which had grown into a regional and international hub, with the support of the IAEA.

“In March 2018, DG IAEA visited Pakistan’s nuclear facilities and appreciated the standards of safety and security being implemented by Pakistan,” she recalled.

Janjua said Pakistan had declared voluntary adherence to the Guidelines of the NSG and, has submitted its application for the Group’s membership.

“Our application is based on merit and grounded in sound technical capabilities. Pakistan has a complete programme to harness the full potential of nuclear energy for peaceful applications. We possess the expertise, infrastructure, human resource, as well as the ability to supply items listed in NSG Part-I and Part-II. Pakistan has a long tradition of international scientific collaborations. In addition to being actively involved in IAEA’s activities, for decades Pakistan has been contributing and regularly participating in European Organization for Nuclear Research’s projects, theoretical and nuclear experiments,” she said.

Pakistan, she said, became the first country in the region to gain Associate Membership of CERN in 2014.

The country also interacts with the World Association of Nuclear Operators, CANDU Owners Group and World Nuclear Association with regard to enhancing safety of the nuclear power plants, she said. Janjua said as a country with significant nuclear programme and the ability to supply items controlled by the NSG, Pakistan’s participation will further the non-proliferation objectives of the Group.     

“In this regard, Pakistan would be willing to consider any objective and non-discriminatory criteria that the Nuclear Suppliers Group agrees for membership of the non-NPT States, and applies fairly,” she said.

The secretary said any country-specific exception for NSG membership that overrides the long-established principles and norms, will be detrimental to the credibility of the global non-proliferation regime.

“The NSG waiver in 2008 has neither benefitted the non-proliferation regime nor the objective of maintaining regional strategic stability,” she added.

In fact, she said, since then we have seen a rapid increase in military nuclear capabilities in our neighbourhood, including the nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean, development of new inter-continental ballistic missiles and induction of other destabilizing weapon systems.

“Pakistan’s call for restraint, responsibility and avoidance of arms race, have not been able to moderate the pursuit of aggressive force postures and offensive security doctrines,” Janjua said.

She said the NSG was again at a critical juncture on the issue of membership of non-members states of the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty. “It is important that the NSG that be seen as a rule-based organisation rather than a grouping which is driven by commercial and political considerations,” she said.

Janjua said Pakistan was facing acute power shortage as it is a fossil fuel deficient country. “In order to meet its enormously increasing energy needs and to support sustained economic growth and industrial development, reliance on civil nuclear energy is an imperative,” she said.

She said the energy requirement was expected to grow by a factor of 7 over the next two decades. “Therefore, our national goal envisages expansion in the nuclear energy capacity to 50,000 Megawatt by 2050, as nuclear power is a clean and cost-effective alternative to fossil fuel,” she maintained.