By: Ali Raza
History testifies the fact that Pakistan was a great supporter of Atom for peace initiatives, and had no designs to acquire nuclear weapons. Pakistan strictly adhered to no nuclear weapon policy for many years. But, these were India’s nefarious designs, which were constantly threatening the existence of Pakistan, which compelled Pakistan to take serious steps regarding the acquisition of nuclear weapons. It is also an open secret that Pakistan’s nuclear program is constantly supported by the people of Pakistan. They reject any external opposition or criticism regarding nuclear program. They are fully aware of the fact that in the presence of a stringent enemy in the neighborhood, it is the nuclear program of Pakistan that guarantees their existence and freedom. People of Pakistan have always rejected the maligning criticism on its nuclear program as they know about the strategic environment of South Asia and familiar about the fact that such criticism is only intended to put Pakistan in the disadvantageous position in the current strategic realm.
In an article, published in The New York Times titled as “The World Must Secure Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapon” once again malicious and baseless propaganda has been initiated against Pakistan. The writer of the said article by, literally speaking, ridiculous and frivolous grounds has questioned the security of nuclear program of Pakistan. The author has referred to one letter allegedly written by Atomic Energy Commission to Strategic Plans Division, whereby the former has required from later to devote more resources to ensure the monitoring of those persons, who are having knowledge of the nuclear program. First of all, the fact that whether such a letter has been written by Atomic Energy Commission to Strategic Plans Division is not yet verified. Secondly, even if we suppose that such a letter has been written, it only denotes the vigilance and seriousness of the respective institutions towards nuclear security. This kind of step was taken by Germany in the wake of terrorist strikes in Brussels in 2016, whereby access privileges to nuclear facilities from various employees was withdrawn when they came to know that terrorists had spied on nuclear power plants. Rather than raising eyebrows, such serious steps initiated should be applauded.
Pakistan has developed and put in place the credible long-term and short policies regarding its nuclear program. The credibility of nuclear security of Pakistan is evident from the fact that till to date not even a single incident of theft or misuse of nuclear material is reported. This fact manifests the efficiency and effectiveness of policies of the institutions responsible for the nuclear program of Pakistan. These organizations are successfully countering the security challenges to the nuclear program of Pakistan. Pakistan has also adopted and put in place the measures as required by UNSCR 1540. These actions pertain to the prevention of theft and sabotage of nuclear material during transportation. Further, Pakistan not only participates but also complies with the international endeavors to prevent the nuclear terrorism. Pakistan’s contribution and commitment to the global efforts towards nuclear safety and security cannot be overlooked as Pakistan not only encourages, but also is part of leading global efforts aimed at countering and combating nuclear terrorism. For example, Pakistan is part of Nuclear Security Summit and actively participated in its two summits, which were held in 2010 and 2012. Also, Pakistan has also joined Container Security Initiative (CSI) and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and is also fulfilling international obligations as required by UNSCR 1540.
If viewed from the backdrop of recent skirmishes between Pakistan and Afghanistan, one can easily deduce that the issues and question raised by the author in the said article appears to be agenda-driven, and is an off-shoot of an anti-Pakistan campaign that has been launched by India especially in Balochistan and tribal areas of Pakistan. The author of the said article miserably failed to build a compelling case against Pakistan’s nuclear program, and it seems that he is working on the agenda of India, which has consistently been trying to weaken the position of Pakistan since its creation. He has forgotten that Pakistan is a responsible country, which was and is still fighting on the forefront of the war against terrorism. Pakistan has launched major operations such as Zarb-e-Azab and Rad-ul-Fasad against terrorism and has caused irreparable damage to the terrorists. Instead of encouraging Pakistan, and urging other states to join hands with Pakistan, the author is deliberately trying to initiate a malicious propaganda against Pakistan.
International community not only acknowledges, but also mindful of the fact that Pakistan is complying with the international obligations on the security of its nuclear arsenals, and recognizes Pakistan as a responsible State. The International community must take notice of such activities that put hurdles in the way of a responsible state, which is fighting, on the forefront, for ensuring peace and stability in the world and endeavoring to make this world safe and a better place to live.