Team CPGS wishes you a joyous and blessed New Year, May this be a year full of success and may the joyful spirit keeps glowing in your heart forever.

“Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance.”

-Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary General of the United Nations (UN)
12 September 2013

CPGS joining hands with Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform & United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in achieving SDG’S Targets; SDG’s a Step towards better tomorrow:

United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 inter-linked targets. There is no denying the fact, that the world is in a grip of multiple challenges in general and Pakistan in particular. The changing dynamics of the national interests transformed the nature of problems and subsequent solutions the world at large. By considering the evolving nature of the world, member states adopted 2030 agenda for sustainable development to mitigate the challenges spewing due to man-made interventions in prevalent environment. Pakistan is also a country working under SDG’S framework. But there is a grim picture to oversight these 17 areas highlighted under SDG’S network and data is not sufficient to give an exact estimate and clear picture of prevalent development. By realizing the fact that what is Pakistan’s current position to achieve the targets? What are the challenges faced in achieving the set targets? Where the gaps are originally found? What are the barriers in foreseeing the areas? CPGS initiated a project to establish and join a task force with Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform & United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and play its role in enforcement of Sustainable Development Goals, suggesting and developing possible measures to achieve SDG’S targets in Pakistan. CPGS partnership with Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform would not only assist in research to identify problems, data collection, propose solutions and strategies but will also help the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform to devise strategies based on creating the public awareness campaigns and suggest better outreach for the implementation of the targeted goals set by SDG’s. The 17 Goals set by SDG’s are as follows:

Understanding the challenges faced by Pakistan, the CPGS has taken an initiative to carry research for developing policies and propose strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The CPGS has identified the key areas to contribute in a systematic manner by setting up a priority list of 10 pivotal goals that need dire attention in order to mitigate the challenges namely:

A research by Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies
Case Study by: Maryum Maqsood
Info-graph Design by: Fatima Sureyya
Last Updated : Nov 5, 2018 

  Last Updated : July 26, 2018

After the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) government came to power to till now, the American CIA has carried out 55 drone strikes in Pakistan. In these attacks, approximately 321 militants have been killed, including Hakeem Ullah Mehsood – the former Chief of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Afghan Taliban Ameer Mullah Akhtar Mansoor.

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Updated: July 26, 2018

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by: Tahir Nazir
21 July 2018

 To this day, there are nine nuclear weapon states, in possession of approximately 14 935 nuclear weapons, of which nearly 4150 are deployed and about 1800 are on high alert, ready for use at short notice. The Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council, the United States, China, the Russian Federation, France and the United Kingdom, are upgrading their nuclear arsenal, spending hefty sums on new weaponry systems. The US, for example, is projected to spend $1.7 trillion on maintaining and upgrading its nuclear forces over the next 30 years. Similarly, Russia is spending about $70 billion a year on modernizing its military and strengthening its nuclear muscle.

In South Asia, India has spent about a billion dollars over the past decade to modernize its military and nuclear forces. India under PM Modi, spent $63.9 billion on its military in 2017, an increase of 5.5 per cent compared with 2016 and of 45 per cent since 2008. According to estimates by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India was the world’s largest importer of major arms between 2013 and 2017, accounting for 12% of the global total; its imports have increased by 24% between 2008–12 and 2013–17.

Despite emphatic calls to move towards “nuclear zero”, a world without nuclear weapons remains a perpetually distant, idealist’s dream. North Korea’s nuclear capability continues to pose a real threat to international peace and stability. Likewise, the hostility between India and Pakistan, exacerbated by the introduction of the Cold Start Doctrine, an offensive military strategy to flatten Pakistan’s military might without invoking the nuclear threshold, the acquisition of destabilizing technology, i.e. Ballistic Missile Defence systems, and a massive increase in India’s conventional defence spending is pushing the region towards increasing instability, and could potentially lead South Asia towards a ‘nuclear nightmare’ According to  data provided by India’s Institute for Defence Studies Analysis (IDSA) India will spend over $62 billion on defence in 2018-2019,  in contrast to Pakistan’s meagre $9 billion. . Such developments also have the potential to increase the level of an arms race which will erode the deterrence stability of the South Asian Region.

In this context, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) remains a linchpin for nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. It caps the development and modernization of nuclear weapons systems, in an attempt to leave a narrow space and very little motivation for states to build new weapons. By banning all nuclear explosions, the CTBT also puts qualitative constraints on the development of new nuclear weapons. Thus there is direct linkage between ending nuclear testing and progressing toward a world without nuclear weapons.

The Treaty’s relevance and importance was underlined first in 1998 when nuclear tests were carried out initially by India, followed by Pakistan,. More recently the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted a test in 2017 and previously in 2006, 2009, 2013, and 2016. Nearly two decades have elapsed since the Treaty was first opened for signatures, but due to various political and geo-strategic obstacles, its entry-into-force is yet to be achieved, which has prevented the CTBT from entering into full legal effect.

The CTBT remains a crucial element of the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Currently, it has 183 State signatories, and has been ratified by 166 States, the vast majority of the world’s nations lending their voices to prevent further nuclear testing. However, for the Treaty to enter- into force, the signature and ratification of the remaining eight Annex 2 States is a necessity.

Pakistan and India are both among these eight Annex 2 states, and both have not found it possible to sign and ratify the CTBT due to regional security constraints. As far as Pakistan’s position is concerned, it has indicated its intent to sign and ratify the CTBT in parallel with India. Even in 1974, when India tested its nuclear weapons under the guise of a ‘peaceful test’, Pakistan proposed the idea of a regional CTBT. Since 1998, Pakistan has put forth proposals on a strategic restraint regime and bilateral dialogue on security and arms control issues to India many times, but unfortunately none of these proposal have been received with any enthusiasm or met with reciprocation from India.

Another of the eight Annex 2 countries – the US – recently published its nuclear posture review, indicating the role of nuclear weapons will increase in its national security policy, possibly opening a window for nuclear testing under extreme circumstances. Without doubt, the Trump administration’s decision to have the option to resume testing a will also have negative consequences for the South Asian region’s nuclear politics, as both countries (India and Pakistan) are continuing to develop new nuclear weapons delivery systems to counter the other.

Despite these dangerous and contrary developments at the global level, I believe that in South Asia, the signing of the CTBT by India and Pakistan has the potential to stabilize and strengthen the deterrence equation between the two arch-rivals in the long run, particularly by dis-incentivizing the development of new nuclear weapons. Hypothetically, even a sharp move by India to ‘sign’ the CTBT could place China and the US in an awkward position, where they would  be left with very little space and excuses to continue to remain outside the Treaty, and perhaps be encouraged to expedite the process for ratifying it.

It is therefore prudent for the international community to push India to sign the CTBT if the country really wants to be integrated into the Nuclear Suppliers Group and other high tech multilateral cartels. In 2008, at the time of Indo-US nuclear deal, a similar golden opportunity was lost to integrate the CTBT as one of the nuclear non-proliferation benchmarks when granting an NSG waiver to India. Let us hope that the same mistake will not be repeated in the discussions for Indian NSG membership proposal, and signing of the CTBT may be set as one of the preconditions.

 Author’s bio:

Tahir Nazir is a research associate at the Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS. The views and opinions expressed in this essay are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of CPGS. He tweets @tahirdss

By: Tahir Nazir

Jun 13, 2018

 In 2009, then US President Barak Obama announced the plan to hold a Nuclear Security Summit to increase awareness regarding potential terrorist threats posed against nuclear material nuclear facilities, at the highest level. And also, to formulate a joint action plan to deal with the continuously evolving complex security threat i.e. in the shape of nuclear terrorism, using radiological or nuclear material to make dirty bombs and subsequently use them to disperse radioactive material against civilian populations to achieve their political objectives.

In this context, successive nuclear security summits i.e. 2010, 2012, 2014 and the concluding one in 2016 at Washington, laid strong but normative standards for the security of the nuclear and radiological materials.

Pakistan being an established nuclear state along with the 53 states having attended all the nuclear summits has time and again exhibited its nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear safety and nuclear security credentials in front of the international community. In response to these endeavors, international community, especially the former US President Obama acknowledged, and reposed confidence on Pakistan’s robust nuclear command and control system.

As a mature nuclear state, Pakistan has been continuously engaged with different international regimes and treaties which prohibit the nuclear material, knowledge and dual-use technology. Pakistan has signed and ratified the IAEA Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material in 2000, also participating in the activities of the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) 1540 and submitted a report to the Committee. Pakistan has an observer status at the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a U.S led initiative to counter nuclear proliferation. In addition to this, Pakistan joined the US-sponsored Container Security Initiative (CSI) in March 2006[1] and endorsed Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) in June 2007. By joining these International Conventions and Initiatives, Pakistan clearly demonstrated that it is a responsible nuclear state, committed to non-proliferation, global peace and stability.

Pakistan’s decision to ratify the Conventions on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities’ (CPPNM) Amendments 2005, once again demonstrated, the country’s commitment and enforced the importance it attaches to physical protection of nuclear materials and nuclear security. Undoubtedly, the ratification of the CPPNM enhanced and reinforced Pakistan’s international nuclear credentials and helped to attain international community’s recognition in order to access civil nuclear technology and meet the growing demand of energy, subsequently stepping closer to meet the Paris agreement objectives and reducing carbon emissions.

To ensure the safety of nuclear power plants and associated facilities, Pakistan has established the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) as a watchdog to oversee all aspects of nuclear civil applications. In addition, Pakistan has an extensive export control regime which is at par with the same standard followed by the “Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, and the Australia Group.”

In its bid to strengthen the global nuclear security architecture, Pakistan has offered its services to the international community with regards to nuclear security training. In 2014[2], Pakistan established the Centre of Excellence on Nuclear Security (PCENS). Through joint initiatives with IAEA, Pakistan organized multiple courses and training workshops for the professionals working in the field of nuclear safety and security.

Additionally, Pakistan established the Nuclear Emergency Management System (NEMS)[3] at the national level to handle nuclear and radiological emergencies. And Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Support Centre (NURESC) along with the Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Coordination Center (NRECC) which provides technical guidance to licensees and users of nuclear and radiation facilities, in case of an emergency and coordinate the response.

On the question of creating a parallel institution to oversee nuclear security, Pakistan views the “nuclear security summit process as a catalyst of fostering nuclear security culture” rather then creating a “new, parallel institutions or mechanisms for nuclear security”. Fundamentally, nuclear security is the responsibility of individual states. It is partly true that the existing nuclear security architecture is appropriate and possess the ability to deal with the current as well as potential futuristic challenges. Furthermore, it is absolutely essential to strengthen the role of International Atomic Energy Agency to reinforce the global nuclear order for peace and prosperity.

While looking at Pakistan’s current nuclear security regime, it is understandable that its nuclear security architecture has considerably improved and is now more aligned to the international best practices. Pakistan has a robust command and control system, in the form of Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) and Strategic Plans Division (SPD). These strategic organizations review “all aspects of policy, procurement, operations, and, most importantly nuclear security”.

The recent visit of Yukia Armano, DG International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to Pakistan is a testament to the country’s outstanding partnership with the IAEA and its significance as an important nuclear state. While speaking at international conference in Karachi, Mr. Armano stated that “Karachi nuclear power plants heavily protected” and the IAEA greatly values cooperation with Pakistan in peaceful uses of nuclear technology.”[4] He conveyed complete confidence and trust on Pakistan’s nuclear security regime.

While keeping in view the country’s established nuclear regime, Pakistan is fully eligible to become the member of the NGS. On the basis of internationally acknowledged nuclear non-proliferation record, Pakistan on 19 May 2016[5] submitted its formal application for the membership of the Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG) to the Chairman of NSG.

That said, the NSG was created as a result of India’s so-called ‘peaceful’ nuclear explosion in 1974[6], which demonstrated that nuclear technology acquired for peaceful purposes could be diverted for advancing military program. Ironically, the very state i.e. India, cheated the international non-proliferation safeguards, again received the NSG waiver in 2008 with the support of United States. Hence, it has not just eroded the international nonproliferation principles but also set a dangerous precedent that a Non-NPT state without giving any legally binding commitment, can manipulate the established nuclear nonproliferation normative order.

As stated above, Pakistan, has a robust nuclear safety and security regime but due to global power politics and regional geopolitical alliance structure, it has been bared to get access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. It is high time for the NSG members’ to revisit their “Cold War” style approach and create “criteria led approach” for new entrants and judge their credentials accordingly. Furthermore, inclusion of Pakistan into the NSG will only strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime and a potential step towards the universalization of NPT.

It would be prudent for NSG members’ states to give a level playing field to Pakistan in competing for the membership of NSG. Notably, any “discriminatory approach” in the context of expansion of NSG, would potentially weaken the NPT regime. And, any sign of weakening of the treaty would have a colossal impact on the health of global non-proliferation regime (NPR). Moreover, discriminatory policies based on “balance of power’ will not bring peace, rather further complicate the regional and global security landscape.


Tahir Nazir is a research associate at the Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS). The views expressed by the author do not represent the institute. He tweets @tahirdss

[1] Nawaz Zafar, “Pakistan’s nuclear weapons safety and security,” The Nation, February 23, 2013, http://nation.com.pk/23-Feb-2013/pakistan-s-nuclear-weapons-safety-and-security, (Accessed on 25, May 2018).

[2] Ministry of Foreign Affairs Government of Pakistan, Pakistan’s National Statement Nuclear Security Summit Washington, 31 March – 1 April 2016, http://www.mofa.gov.pk/pr-details.php?mm=MzYwNA, (Accessed on 25, May 2018).

[3] ibid

[4] “Karachi nuclear power plants heavily protected: IAEA chief,” Dawn, March 15, 2018, https://www.dawn.com/news/1395361 (Accessed on 26, May 2018).

[5] Ministry of Foreign Affairs Government of Pakistan, Pakistan applies for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), http://mofa.gov.pk/pr-details.php?mm=MzczOA, (Accessed on 28, May 2018).

[6] Hart, David. “Nuclear power in India: a comparative analysis.” (1983).

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