Pakistan makes a strong pitch at UN for Nuclear Supplier Group’s membership

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has made a strong case for the country’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 48-nation body that regulates the global trade in nuclear technology, telling the UN Security Council that the exemplary measures Islamabad had taken to strengthen nuclear safety establish its eligibility credentials.

“We expect that a non-discriminatory, criteria-based approach is followed for extending NSG membership which strengthens the non-proliferation regime,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, the Pakistan permanent representative to the UN, said on Tuesday.

Speaking in a debate on “non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” Ambassador Lodhi said Pakistan had implemented a comprehensive export control regime, participated in the Nuclear Security Summit process, ratified the 2005 amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, declared unilateral moratorium on further nuclear testing and reiterated its willingness to translate it into a bilateral arrangement on non-testing with India,  all of which established its eligibility to become a NSG member.

In her remarks, the Pakistani envoy also said the global disarmament landscape presented a gloomy picture due to the lack of progress by States with nuclear weapons in fulfilling their disarmament obligations.  As disarmament and non-proliferation were linked, it was unrealistic to expect progress on one without movement on the other.

A challenge to non-proliferation norms was the granting of discriminatory waivers, special arrangements which denoted double standards and opened the possibility of diverting material intended for peaceful use to military purposes, Ambassador Lodhi told the 15-member Council.

The success of resolution 1540 (2004) — which  affirms that the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery constitutes a threat to international peace and security — owed less to its Chapter VII (enforcement) provisions than to its cooperative approach to implementation.

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Differences in State capacities, such as legal and regulatory gaps and the lack of effective export control mechanisms, compounded challenges to addressing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, she said.

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