Pakistan’s nuclear credentials

IT is a matter of satisfaction that Pakistan has been able to put across its case effectively on the sensitive issue of security and safety of its nuclear programme and assets on the occasion of International Conference on Nuclear Safety: Commitments and Actions at Vienna. The country distributed among participants a meticulously prepared brochure containing details of measures taken so far as a responsible nuclear state besides an elaborate speech delivered by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary.
There has been consistent propaganda by some foreign countries in their bid to malign Pakistan on the plea that its nuclear assets could fall into the hands of terrorist groups or some ‘rogue’ elements, despite the fact that there was not remote possibility of this happening because of comprehensive measures adopted by the country. The elements of nuclear security in Pakistan include an effective command and control system under the National Command Authority (NCA), rigorous regulatory regime, comprehensive export controls and extensive physical protection measures. Pakistan has invested appropriately in nuclear security in terms of material, technology and human resource to improve its physical protection of facilities and personnel, information, material control and accounting. Americans are on record having said on several occasions that they were not in the know of exact location of Pakistan’s nuclear warheads. If Americans with latest technology and gadgets are unable to locate them then there is absolutely no question of any terrorist group laying hands on them but the objective of the enemy is to delegitimize Pakistan’s nuclear capability. It is known to all that Pakistan has established a purpose-raised standalone, specially trained and equipped nuclear security force with land, air and sea-borne components, supported by dedicated intelligence and early warning system. And as for its civilian nuclear programme is concerned, Pakistan has been successfully running it with absolute security and deft for more than five decades and even the international nuclear watch-dog — IAEA — has expressed its complete trust in safety aspects of the programme. We are sure that measures adopted by Pakistan and their fuller comprehension by the international community would not only allay misplaced apprehensions but also strengthen Pakistan’s case for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

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