Pak nuclear experts seek end to nuclear `apartheid`

Pakistani nuclear experts today called for an end to what they termed as nuclear "apartheid" and sought a civil nuclear deal with the US similar to the one it struck with India.

PTI| Last Updated: May 07, 2014, 22:19 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistani nuclear experts today called for an end to what they termed as nuclear "apartheid" and sought a civil nuclear deal with the US similar to the one it struck with India.

Nuclear experts spoke at a one-day seminar on `Nuclear Non-Proliferation Arms Control and Disarmament Contemporary Challenges and Prospects` held here.

Mansoor Ahmed, a lecturer at the Qaid-i-Azam University here, claimed that India is rapidly increasing its nuclear capabilities and battlefield nuclear weapons.

He said that Pakistan will continue with its fissile programme till it is able to build a minimum credible deterrence and then it would not matter how many warheads India has.

He claimed that international nuclear reports, which say that Pakistan has more warheads than India, are inflated when it comes to Pakistan and deflated when it comes to India and Israel.

He said the "Nuclear Suppliers Group was promoting nuclear apartheid".

Though he was in favour of a civil nuclear deal with US, Ahmed said any deal that seeks to put limits on Pakistan`s nuclear fissile enrichment programme will be highly detrimental to national interests.

Former Pakistani diplomat Munawar Bhatti, who had served in India as Deputy High Commissioner between 2003-06, said that India introduced nuclear weapons in the region "but Pakistan always had to suffer the sanctions".
He said nuclear powers in the world were being selective.

Ex-Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs in US government Peter Lavoy, who also spoke at the event said the US-India nuclear deal was initiated because the two countries sought a transformational strategic relationship.

He noted that Pakistani officials now suggest that the time is right for their own bilateral nuclear deal with the US but made it clear that the Indo-US nuclear deal cannot be replicated.

He said commercially the nuclear deal with Pakistan would not be so lucrative as with India but the driving force can be political.

He also mentioned international concerns about safety, proliferation and even future nuclear tests by Pakistan.
He also said that even though Pakistan is not doing it right now, US and international community is wary of the country going for long range missiles that can even cross India.
He also mentioned the possibility of Pakistan using, what he termed as "ex-practice", non-state actors in neighbourhood particularly Afghanistan and India.
Pakistani Senator Mushaid Hussain Sayed said that concerns about security of nuclear weapons in Pakistan was being promoted by India and "its friends" in the West.