ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan on Friday said that India’s rapidly expanding nuclear programme was a ‘grave threat’ to regional and global peace.

Addressing a weekly news briefing in Islamabad, Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said that the Indian build-up has been facilitated by the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s waiver granted to India in 2008.

“This has not only dented the credibility of the non-proliferation regime and undermined its efficacy but also negatively impacted the strategic balance in South Asia,” he said.

Zakaria said that it was unfortunate that the NSG did not oblige India to make any worthwhile non-proliferation commitment at that time. “Another country-specific exemption by the NSG on the membership question would only further exacerbate the ill effects of the 2008 waiver. It remains our hope that the NSG member States would make a well-considered decision this time keeping in view its long-term implications for the global non-proliferation regime as well as the strategic stability in our region,” he said.

The tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbours has heightened in recent weeks amid sporadic skirmishes and cross-firing along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary.

Earlier, the two countries each expelled one High Commission official, declaring them ‘persona no grata’.

First, India asked Pakistani diplomat Mehmood Akhtar to leave the country and, as a tit for tat, Islamabad asked Indian diplomat Surjeet Singh to leave Pakistan by October 29.

Zakaria said that Pakistan hoped that the NSG member States will make a well-considered decision this time around keeping in view its long-term implications for the global non-proliferation regime and strategic stability in the region.

Responding to a question, the spokesman said that Indian involvement in Pakistan was well-proven and “we have irrefutable evidence in this regard”.

He said that evidence collected from Indian spy Kulbushan Yadav was being compiled to make a dossier which will be presented to the UN Secretary General at an appropriate time.

Zakaria strongly condemned the Indian ceasefire violations, adding that India should respect the ceasefire and refrain from targeting civilians and their properties.

He said that India was resorting to such acts to deflect the world attention from its ongoing atrocities in Held Kashmir.

The food crisis and deliberate act of India to create a shortage of basic amenities, continued detention of Hurriyat leaders including Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in torturous conditions, inhuman and sub-standard condition in which Yasin Malik has been kept without proper medical treatment were issues of immense concern, he added.

“We invite the international community’s attention towards India's despicable acts,” he said, appreciating the performance of special envoys on Kashmir for highlighting the issue around the world.

Zakaria said that the Foreign Secretary summoned the Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale on October 27 and conveyed the decision of Pakistan to declare Surjeet Singh as persona non grata.

He said that Singh was involved in such activities which were not in the interest of Pakistan. He made it clear that Pakistan makes no distinction between terrorist groups, adding, “We will not allow our land to be used against any other country.”  He said Pakistan, infact, was the victim of foreign-funded terrorist elements and the recent Quetta attack was a clear proof of it. 

He said that Haqqani commanders were killed on the Afghan land in the month of August which indicated “where these Haqqanis were based”.

About Pakistan’s decision to attend the Heart of Asia conference in India, the spokesperson said that this process was aimed at bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan with the collaboration of regional countries.

Zakaria said that Pakistan’s decision was in line with its commitment to support every effort directed towards bringing peace in Afghanistan.  “We will continue to play our role in this regard and will not allow the forum of Heart of Asia to fall prey to the myopic political agenda of any country,” he said.

He said that Pakistan also supports the quadrilateral coordination group process to bring the warring Afghan parties to the negotiating table.

He said that the Quetta attack had links in Afghanistan. “You have seen the statement of our security commander on the ground there, indicating that according to their monitoring mechanism, the directions for the attack came from Afghanistan,” the spokesman said.

When asked about US top commander in Afghanistan John Nicholson’s statement that the Haqqani network had a free run in Pakistan, he said: “We do not agree with this contention”.