Islamabad, March 24, 2015: The Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) organised a roundtable on, “2015 NPT Review Conference: Expectations and Challenges”, in collaboration with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung(KAS), at the CPGS office.
The discussion was chaired by Lt. Gen (R) Asif Yasin Malik, HI(M), former Defence Secretary; and the keynote speakers were Dr. Tughral Yamin, Associate Dean, Department of Peace and Conflict, NUST, Islamabad, and Munawar Saeed Bhatti, former Ambassador of Pakistan to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg.The event was largely attended by members of academia, government officials, practitioners, journalists and university students. The speakers highlighted the issues and challenges faced by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Senator Sehar Kamran (T.I.), President, CPGS, in her welcome remarks, stated that some of the challenges that could endanger the success of the upcoming RevCon, included proliferation concerns emanating from North Korean and Iran’s nuclear programs, lack of progress of establishing a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (NWFZ) in Middle East and continuing nuclear modernisation programs in the nuclear weapon states.
Dr. TughralYamin, highlighted the opinions of the different countries on NPT review process and illuminated the audience with the past history of NPT review conferences. He also said that Pakistan is not a signatory to the NPT; however it follows all best practices as enshrined in the NPT and related nuclear export control regimes.
Ambassador Bhatti,expressed concerns about evolving geo-political issues which may impact negativelyon the upcoming NPT review conference (RevCon). He said that before 2010 NPT RevCon, the geo-political situation was conducive, which helped in passing of the final document of the 2010 NPT RevCon. Contemporaneously, the global situation has undergone a fundamental change, the US, EU vis-à-vis Russia face serious crisis over Ukraine Issue, the suspension of New START, South China Sea issue, volatile Middle East , Iran nuclear issue, modernization of nuclear weapons by P-5 countries may put constraints on final document of the upcoming review conference.Ambassador Bhatti, also put forth that “the Arab League views the Middle East NWFZ conference as the fourth pillar of NPT”. He said that in the RevCon the most contentious issue would be disarmament.
Chairing the session, General AsifYasin Malik, while critically evaluating the working of the non-proliferation regime, stated that “the norms are used as a political weapon as part of a political motivated campaign”. Stressing upon the need for criteria based approach towards nuclear non-proliferation efforts, Senator Kamran highlighted the discrimination built into theglobal nonproliferation regime, which has undermined stabledeterrencebetween India and Pakistan by engaging in nuclear commerce with India, a state outside NPT. According to her, the nuclear cooperation agreement forged between India and the US, is a clear violation of the NPT’s Article I stipulations. Moreover, she said that “Indian membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) would seriously undermine strategic stability by leaving out Pakistan, which has legitimate nuclear technology needs. Such exceptionalism accentuates regional deterrence dynamics and enhances chances of nuclear competition in South Asia”.
Ambassador (R) Ali Sarwar Naqvi, former Ambassador to United Nation and IAEA, commented on the NPT stating that, “the treaty has eroded from within and lack of progress on disarmament, enshrined in the grand bargain, has bedeviled its review process. Hence, the P-5 should make it less discriminatory by incorporating the changed global realities”.
Commenting on Pakistan’s role in this regard, President CPGS Senator Kamran said that though Pakistan is not a member of the NPT, there are issues in the RevCon that are of interest to us and hence Pakistan should, “while maintaining vigilance, promote the pillar of peaceful uses of nuclear energy”. She emphasized the need to invest in building a strong lobby and coming up with a consolidated policy on projecting the Pakistani perspective as an advanced nuclear weapon state. She stressed that “the time has come to integrate Pakistan as a responsible nuclear weapon state into the international system”.
A lively discussion and question and answer session followed the panel discussion. Most of the participants expressed doubts about the impending success of the upcoming RevCon. In the end, a vote of thanks was extended by President CPGS, Senator Kamran, to the panelists and guests for their active participation.