Claiming to be a “responsible” nuclear state, Pakistan said on Tuesday it would never transfer weapons of mass destruction to any state or non-state entity. The commitment was made by Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz during his keynote address at a regional seminar on the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. “Sartaj Aziz reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment not to transfer weapons of mass destruction to states or non-state actors,” Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement. Aziz stated that as a “responsible” nuclear state, Pakistan will continue to partner with international community to prevent non-state actors from acquiring these weapons.
Pakistan’s nuclear record is clouded with the architect of its nuclear weapons programme, A Q Khan, accused of clandestinely giving North Korea nuclear weapons technology. “As demonstration of this commitment (non-proliferation), Pakistan has taken a wide range of legal, regulatory, organisational and enforcement measures which have been reported through four national reports,” Aziz said. He said holding of this seminar was another manifestation of this commitment.
Aziz asserted that there was a need for striking a balance between advancing the goals of non-proliferation and facilitating access of developing countries to strategic and dual use goods, materials and technologies for peaceful purposes under appropriate safeguards. Aziz voiced Pakistan’s willingness to share its expertise and the provision of technical assistance to developing countries in the region and beyond.
He underlined that states which possess advanced capabilities should have an equal opportunity to participate in and contribute to the export control governance architecture, the statement said. Aziz highlighted Pakistan’s strong credentials and expertise to become member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), while emphasising the need for a transparent, objective and non-discriminatory criteria for the group’s membership of non-NPT applicants, the statement said. UN resolution 1540, adopted by the Security Council in 2004, is one of the important instruments in the global non-proliferation architecture as it seeks to prevent non-state actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. The two-day regional seminar, organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, brings together 13 countries from South and Central Asia, including China and Russia, along with representatives of 1540 Committee Group of Experts and international organisations like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and INTERPOL.
The seminar aims at promoting regional cooperation for effective national implementation of the resolution 1540, including through sharing of best practices and national experiences.