By Senator Sehar Kamran (TI)
Oct 28, 2013
In mid 1970s, Pakistan embarked upon the most difficult and challenging project in its history and began developing the infrastructure to build its own nuclear weapons capability. This was a very tough decision, especially at a time when the country had recently suffered dismemberment at the hands of its staunch enemy India in 1971, who also introduced nuclear weapons to the subcontinent by conducting an overt nuclear test in 1974. Pakistan, though struggling economically, felt it had no choice but to go down the path of nuclearization as well in order to ensure its survival. The dedicated and continual efforts of many determined individuals finally came to fruition on 28th May 1998, when Pakistan tested six nuclear devices in response to India’s tests of 11th May 1998.
Currently, Pakistan possesses a sizable nuclear arsenal, which can be launched via an array of land-based and air-based delivery means. Pakistan is maintaining the policy of ‘Minimum Credible Deterrence’, to deter all form of aggression, particularly the threats emanating from its eastern borders. The country has developed well-integrated and strong national institutions for effective command and control of these weapons, to ensure the continued surveillance and response mechanisms built around the overall control of the National Command Authority and chaired by the political office of the Prime Minister.
Pakistan has continuously engaged with the international community at all levels, in all nuclear related initiatives. The Pakistani policy decision to remain outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970 was a wise and timely decision, based on its apprehension of regional developments especially with regards to the Indian nuclear ambitions, which have since been proven right. Pakistan also willingly joined the negotiations of Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the 90s, but was waiting for a positive Indian response before a final decision. Once again however, the Pakistani position was prudent and Indian nuclear testing of May 1998 proved these misgivings to be correct. In recent years, another treaty mechanism – the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) has been under discussion at Conference on Disarmament, and Pakistan is very actively engaged in this discussion.
Despite all these positive gestures and cooperation, Pakistan is being treated discriminatorily at all international nuclear forums. On the contrary, India which has always violated international norms and obligations is being accommodated. There may be multiple reasons for this tilt of the international community, especially the US, but there are also some weaknesses in the formulation and articulation of our arguments and their presentation. There is a dire need to further explore the reasons behind this failure in projecting the case of Pakistan in the international arena for nuclear non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament forums.
There are many questions which have been and are being raised against Pakistan at various multilateral forums by non-proliferation experts whether from media, academia, or policy circles. These questions, at some levels, are resulting into calcifying misperceptions, which directly or indirectly, are being used by academics, media persons and policy practitioners to portray Pakistan as an irrational, irresponsible and a proliferator state at various international forums and spheres.
A palpable size of literature is available on Pakistan’s nuclear weapon program, its capabilities, and guesstimates on Pakistan’s nuclear development posture, but less attention has been given to address the real causes and reasons behind the questions and resultant misperceptions. This paper is aimed at clarifying some of the positions that Pakistan has taken on different multilateral forums, as far as the issue of nuclear non-proliferation is concerned.
Pakistan’s Policy on Nuclear Non-Proliferation
To analyze Pakistan’s nuclear non-proliferation policy one should not ignore the fundamental fact that Pakistan’s nuclear weapon program is tied to its security concerns with regard to India. Both India and Pakistan have fought three major wars (1947, 1965, and 1971) and a small scale war (1998) and have gone through multiple episodes of serious crisis. Moreover, strategic and conventional asymmetries, close proximity of borders, legacy of fighting wars, shortest missile flight times, unresolved and bloody territorial, unresolved political and ideological disputes,lower temptation for arms race stability and emergence of provocative military doctrines in Indian strategic thinking, and above all the presence of sub-national groups with irrational, often violent doctrines are some of the prevalent factors shaping new strategic realities. Pakistan being on lower end of power calculus as compared to its arch rival feels insecure and vulnerable.
However, despite having the serious security threats, Pakistan has been found proactive in proposing various bilateral and regional non-proliferation arrangements to India. India refused on all accounts. These proposals include a Joint Indo-Pakistan Declaration Renouncing the Acquisition or Manufacture of Nuclear Weapons (1978), A South Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (1978), Mutual Inspection by India and Pakistan of Each Other’s Nuclear Facilities (1979), Simultaneous Adherence to NPT and Acceptance of Full-scope IAEA Safeguards (1979), Bilateral Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (1987) and South Asian Missile Free Zone (1994). 
Pakistan’s policy on nuclear non-proliferation revolves around two main principles—restraint and responsibility. Even after the over nuclearization in 1998, In 2004 Pakistan offered again a comprehensive proposal what many has termed as ‘Strategic Restraint Regime’ (SRR) to India. Recently Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing a high level meeting of General Assembly on nuclear Disarmament reiterated Pakistan’s proposal and said “Pakistan advocates a comprehensive strategic restraint regime that establishes nuclear restraint, balance in conventional forces and a mechanism for conflict resolution.” The SRR with its three interlocking elements nuclear restraint, conventional balance and dispute settlement not only offers a comprehensive formula for ensuring strategic stability in South Asia but also helps to create a conducive environment for nuclear disarmament. India has consistently rejected this proposal because it does not fit in its strategic agenda of regional hegemony.
In a recently held meeting of National Command Authority, Pakistan reiterated its stance of ‘Credible Minimum Deterrence’ and reposed full confidence in its command and control system to ensure safety, security, and reliability of its nuclear weapons. However, Pakistan is much concerned about some regional and international developments, which are directly or indirectly linked with its security. These developments include Indo-US strategic partnership (Indo-US Nuclear Deal), NSG membership waiver to India and US efforts to promote the cause of including India as a permanent member of United National Security Council (UNSC). Apart from these apprehensions, Indian Cold Start military doctrine, its pursuance of Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) and assured sea based second strike capability; Conventional Arms modernization and its advanced and ambitious military space program are major concerns of Pakistan that affects the prospects for nuclear arms control and disarmament in South Asia.
Pakistan’s position on FMCT is determined by its national security interest. Pakistan believes that without considering the existing fissile material stockpiles asymmetries, halting the further production would not be a real step towards disarmament, rather the Fissile Material Treaty (FMT), which calls for even considering the existing stockpiles would be a real step towards nuclear disarmament. The proposed FMCT, which is viewed as specifically targeted towards Pakistan has the potential to further deepen and widen the strategic asymmetry and hence deterrence instability between India and Pakistan. Same is the case with CTBT. Though Pakistan is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nor the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and is opposed to the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT). However, Pakistan joined some multilateral nonproliferation and anti-terrorism efforts such as the Global Initiative on Combating Nuclear Terrorism and the US Secure Freight Initiative.
In recent years, Pakistan has sought to strengthen export control of sensitive nuclear technologies and to improve nuclear safety by passing the 2004 Export Control Act, establishing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Strategic Export Control Division (SECDIV), and adopting measures to strengthen physical security of nuclear weapons and installations.Pakistan has taken solid and robust steps to enhance the efficiency of security system and has improved its supervisory procedures for military and scientific manpower. First Pakistan introduced the Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) and Human Reliability Program (HRP) or the employment of military and civilian personnel. These programs involved a battery of checks to rooting out human eccentricities like lust, greed, depression, and tendency towards radical religious behaviors. PRP is designed along the same lines as in the US. Second a system of security clearance based on annual, semiannual, and quarterly review is in place, and it is based upon the principle of “trust but verify.” Third a system of sensitive material control and accounting under the supervision of SPD has been created which involves regular and surprise inspections to tally material production and waste in order to maintain transparency and accountability. Fourth the inception of Nuclear Security Action Plan (NSAP) by Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) which evolves the identification of radiological sources, detection of orphan radioactive sources, and to secure borders against any illicit trafficking of sensitive material.
Pakistan has actively participated in the last two NSS summits, which have given huge impetus to nuclear security worldwide. Pakistan marked a history by joining these summits and ensures that nuclear security lies within the state. However, in any form, the security of the state is its national responsibility. Pakistan being a responsible nuclear weapon state, inclined to make its nuclear security as utmost priority.
Pakistan’s policy on nuclear non-proliferation is very transparent and clear. It is directly linked with its national security interests and concerns. Pakistan wants its inclusion in all nuclear export control regime including Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG), as it has been playing a vital role at regional and global level, as far as the nuclear non-proliferation is concerned. Pakistan believes that Pakistan fully qualifies to have full access to civil nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, as it has acquired expertise, manpower and infrastructure to produce civil nuclear energy.
The strains on the global non-proliferation regime have become acute in the recent years. The pursuit of policies based on discrimination and double standards by some major international powers has damaged the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. Pakistan wants to work with international community in pursuit of reestablishing a robust global nonproliferation regime. Pakistan does not believe in No Nuclear First USE (NFU), but believes in Nonaggression and No Use of Force (NUF) posture both in conventional and strategic domains.
Pakistan fully qualifies for full access to civil nuclear technology for peaceful purposes to meet its future and ongoing energy challenges. The civil nuclear technology for power production in Pakistan will not be used for weapon production as any agreement in this regard would be under IAEA statute. It will create immense economic development opportunities and will contribute in establishing peace and prosperity.