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Key Note address by the President of Pakistan at the SSI Conference on the Global Non-Proliferation Regime: Challenges and Responses

SSI Conference on the Global Non-Proliferation Regime: Challenges and Responses

Monday, 15 October 2018


(Dr. Arif Alvi)

Honourable Dr. Shireen Mazari,

Distinguished Director General of the Strategic Studies Institute,

Respected Scholars,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to address this Conference. I thank the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) for inviting me as a Keynote speaker.

The subject of the Conference is of great contemporary relevance and significance for Pakistan. The challenges to the global non-proliferation regime ultimately impact peace and stability at all levels, national, regional and global. For the Government in Pakistan, socio-economic development and welfare of the people constitutes the topmost priority. This, in turn, necessitates a peaceful neighbourhood in South Asia as well as a stable global security environment. Therein lies the significance of evolving a sustainable and equitable global non-proliferation regime which is based on recognition of the right to equal security for all states and does not seek to preserve the security interests of the few at the expense of others.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The international security landscape is far from encouraging. The euphoria generated by the end of Cold War and the concomitant expectations for meaningful steps towards global disarmament have give way to a qualitative nuclear arms race among the leading nuclear possessor states. The same is manifested in terms of increased reliance on nuclear weapons in the national nuclear postures and policies of great powers, plans to modernize and upgrade nuclear forces and testing of new and more lethal weapon systems. Old conflicts continue to fester as new ones flare up. Differences on perspectives, approaches and modalities, are negatively impacting progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Double standards and exceptionalism are undermining the credibility of the non-proliferation regime. As a result the global non-proliferation regime has come under increasing stress. Alongside the existing challenges related to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, new threats have arisen. These include hostile uses of Outer Space, offensive cyber capabilities, development and use of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) and armed drones. Such weapons can lower the threshold for war and put machines at the helm of decisions of life and death. There is a need for legally binding global framework to regulate the use of the emerging technologies to safeguard against the new threats to international peace and security posed by the weaponization of such technologies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In relation to the global non-proliferation regime, two opposing trends are being witnessed.

On the one hand, there is dangerous talk of strengthening and expanding nuclear capabilities to outmatch potential competitors. On the other extreme, frustrated by the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament, a group of Non-Nuclear Weapon States is promoting the recently adopted Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (Ban Treaty). This Treaty trivializes the genuine national security concerns which have compelled certain states to rely on nuclear deterrence for self-defence.

Pakistan believes that for global and regional peace and stability, the motives which drive states to acquire weapons for self-defence need to be addressed. These include threats from conventional and non-conventional imbalances, existence of disputes and conflicts and discrimination in application of international norms and laws. There is a need for the UN to play its due role in facilitating the resolution of long-standing disputes and conflicts which are underlying factors for instability.

Distinguished participants,

Pakistan is committed to the objective of strategic stability in South Asia. Prior to 1998, Pakistan relentlessly pursued the objective of keeping South Asia free of nuclear weapons. Our proposals in this regard are well documented. However, the nuclear tests conducted by our neighbour in 1998 ended any prospect for a nuclear weapons free South Asia. We were forced to respond through our own tests to restore the strategic balance in our region.

Pakistan has, however, not given up the pursuit of meaningful engagement with India for confidence-building, avoidance of arms race and risk reduction. In this regard Pakistan proposal for a Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR), encompassing nuclear and missile restraints, conflict resolution and conventional balance, can provide a good basis.

Unfortunately, strategic stability in South Asia is being threatened by the induction of destabilizing weapons systems, such as the Anti Ballistic Missile systems (ABMs) and offensive force postures, such as Cold Start and Proactive Strategy. Discriminatory exemptions by certain countries for the supply of nuclear technology and advanced military hardware in our neighbourhood further complicate the regional security dynamics.

While Pakistan will continue to demonstrate restraint and responsibility, no one should doubt our resolve to deny any space for war to those seeking such an opportunity despite the existence of nuclear weapons in South Asia. We expect the international community to take serious note of talk of surgical strikes and limited war. The proponents of such reckless fantasies would bear the responsibility for any consequences. We hope that good sense prevails and both Pakistan and India are able to agree on a framework for strategic stability. We owe it to our people to employ greater efforts and resources towards their socio-economic well being.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since its inception, the orientation of Pakistan nuclear programme has been civilian. We were one of the early subscribers to the Atoms for Peace vision and the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). We have a complete programme for harnessing peaceful uses of nuclear energy including nuclear power plants, complete nuclear fuel cycle capabilities, research reactors, agriculture and biotechnology research centers, medical and oncology centers. As such, Pakistan can be a significant contributor to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through international cooperation. We, therefore, intend to further strengthen partnerships at the international level, including with UN, IAEA and developing countries, as providers of services and expertise, for civilian nuclear applications.

Pakistan has applied for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Pakistan adherence to the NSG Guidelines reflects our commitment and contribution to the non-proliferation regime. We will continue to support and actively participate in efforts for non-proliferation, nuclear safety and security. As a country with significant civilian nuclear programme and the ability to supply items controlled by the NSG, Pakistan participation will further the non-proliferation objectives of the Group.

For Pakistan, one of the most vulnerable countries to the impact of climate change, nuclear power generation provides a cleaner and more sustainable alternative for energy security. In this regard, we would like to underscore the imperative for a non-discriminatory and rule-based global order for access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and other dual-use technologies.

Exceptionalism and discriminatory waivers from rules undermine the credibility of the multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation framework. Its future depends on the continuous commitment of the international community to collective solutions. Challenges in the realm of the non-proliferation regime have to be addressed through diplomatic solutions and enhanced cooperation, not through polarization, coercion and exclusion. In this context, I would like to reiterate Pakistan full support for the JCPOA and express our appreciation for Iran continued implementation of its obligation under the agreement. We call upon all concerned parties to honour their respective commitments. We also welcome the recent positive developments in the Korean peninsula and hope that the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) and other concerned parties will abide by their international obligations for the realization of the goal of a nuclear weapons free Korean peninsula.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Government of Pakistan

By-elections campaign to come to end at midnight tonight

Canvassing by the contesting candidates for the by polls, to be held on Sunday, concludes at midnight tonight.

The candidates are making last ditch efforts through corner meetings and door to door campaigns to garner the public support.

The by elections will be held in eleven National Assembly and twenty four provincial assemblies’ constituencies.

The national assembly constituencies where the elections will be held include NA-35 Bannu, NA-53 Islamabad, NA-56 Attock, NA-60 Rawalpindi, NA-63 Rawalpindi, NA-65 Chakwal, NA-69 Gujrat, NA-103 Faisalabad, NA 124 Lahore, NA-131 Lahore and NA 243 Karachi East.

The Punjab Assembly constituencies where the by polls will be held are: PP-3 Attock, PP-27 Jhelum, PP-103 Faisalabad, PP-118 Toba Tek Singh, PP-164 Lahore, PP 165 Lahore, PP 201 Sahiwal, PP 222 Multan, PP 261 Rahim Yaar Khan, PP-272 Muzaffargarh and PP-292 D.G. Khan.

By polls on two constituencies each of Sindh Assembly and Balochistan will also be held. These are PS-87 Malir, PS-30 Khairpur, PB-35 Mastung and PB-40 Khuzdar.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the by polls will be held in PK-3 Swat, Pk-7 Swat, PK-44 Swabi, PK-53 Mardan, PK-61 Nowshera, PK-64 Nowshera, PK-78 Peshawar, PK-97 Dera Ismail Khan and PK-99 Dera Ismail Khan.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Aussie telescope detects record “fast radio bursts” from deep space

SYDNEY: Australian researchers on Thursday said they have detected a record number of mysterious radio waves from space, including the closest and fastest of such bursts ever found, that may help shed more light on the matter between galaxies.

“We’ve found 20 fast radio bursts in a year, almost doubling the number detected worldwide since they were discovered in 2007,” said Dr Ryan Shannon from the Swinburne University of Technology in Victoria state capital Melbourne. Shannon led the report on the signals detected with a high-powered telescope in Western Australia.

The flashes of radio waves come from all over the sky and last for just milliseconds and while their exact causes are not yet known they are thought to come from the other side of the universe and involve incredible energy, equivalent to the amount released by the sun in 80 years, said the researchers.

The bursts also travel for billions of years and occasionally pass through clouds of gas, said study co-author Dr Jean-Pierre Macquart from Curtin University.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Anti-encroachment committees have been set up in all districts of Punjab: CM

On the special directives of Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, anti-encroachment committees have been set up in all districts of Punjab.

According to a Spokesman of the Chief Minister Office, the deputy commissioner of every district will be head of anti-encroachment committees.

These committees will be responsible for planning and monitoring operations against land grabbers and encroachments on daily basis.

The members of the national and provincial assemblies, civil society and respectables of the concerned district will also be included in these committees.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Chief Minister has said that crackdown against the land-grabbers, illegal occupants and those encroaching on state properties will continue with any discrimination.

He said that street vendors, labourers and residents of slum areas will not be disturbed during the operation.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Dubai Test: Pakistan all out for 482 runs against Australia in first innings

On the second day of first cricket Test against Pakistan in Dubai, Australia in their first innings were 30 for no loss at stumps on Monday.

Earlier, Pakistan in their first innings scored 482 runs.

Mohammad Hafeez with 126 and Haris Sohail with 110 were main scorer of Pakistan.

PM Siddle took 3 while NM Lyon grabbed 2 wickets.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Pakistan Expelling ActionAid, 17 Other Foreign Aid Groups, Charity Says

Pakistan is ordering the ActionAid charity and 17 other international aid agencies to shut down operations and leave the country in Islamabad’s latest move against foreign-funded human rights groups, ActionAid said.

The South Africa-based charity, which focuses on education, poverty alleviation, and human rights, said on October 4 that it had received an expulsion notice from Pakistan’s Interior Ministry after losing an appeal of an order to leave the country last year.

The group’s Pakistan country director, Abdul Khaliq, told Reuters that a ministry official told him Islamabad has also rejected the appeals of 17 other international aid organizations that were also ordered to leave last year and that Pakistan will be expelling them as well.

“Pakistan’s decision to shut down ActionAid and other International NGOs is a worrying escalation of recent attacks on civil society, academics, and journalists,” ActionAid said in a statement.

“The immediate victims will be the thousands of ordinary Pakistani families who ActionAid has been supporting to claim their rights and build a better life,” it said.

ActionAid and the other 17 foreign relief organizations that appealed their expulsion orders were among 27 charities ordered out of the country last year, most of them working on human rights issues.

One of the shutdown orders accused an aid agency of pursuing “an antistate agenda.”

Khaliq told Reuters that an Interior Ministry official told him that “we have rejected the appeal of all” 18 groups that appealed their expulsion orders last year.

The letter ordering ActionAid out of the country granted the group an opportunity to “reapply for registration” after six months. The expulsion letter did not offer a reason for forcing the group out of the country.

Pakistan’s Interior Ministry did not respond to messages asking about the expulsion orders, and the Information Ministry said it would check on the matter.

Khaliq told Reuters that during an appeal hearing in March, a special committee inquired about details of ActionAid’s work in Pakistan, but the organization received no further inquiries from the government after that.

“We empower the poor and marginalized people… Maybe the government does not like that approach… Maybe there is some communication gap between ActionAid work and the government,” he said.

The Pakistan Humanitarian Forum, an alliance of international nongovernmental organizations, told AFP that it fears that the appeals of all the charities that were ordered out of the country have been rejected.

Pakistan’s campaign against foreign charities operating in the country has been building for years.

In 2015, Pakistan asked all foreign aid and advocacy organizations to reregister with the government to enhance the monitoring of their operations.

That followed an incident in 2012 that fueled suspicion of foreign-aid groups in Pakistan.

In 2012, a Pakistani intelligence report linked the aid group Save the Children to the U.S. CIA’s efforts to locate Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, who was killed in his home in Abbottabad in 2011 by U.S. Navy Seals in a secret operation.

Save the Children denied it had any links to the CIA. But the charity’s expatriate staff were forced to leave Pakistan after the accusations emerged.

Pakistan, in hardening its policies toward international aid groups, has sometimes accused them of being covers for spying operations and has repeatedly warned them to restrict their activities.

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