Pak qualifies for intl civil nuclear cooperation: Gilani

PM Yousuf Raza Gilani said his country qualifies for international civil nuclear cooperation and should be granted access to technology without discrimination.

Last Updated: May 28, 2010, 15:35 PM IST

Islamabad: As Pakistan Friday marked the
anniversary of the atomic blasts that made it a nuclear power,
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said his country qualifies
for international civil nuclear cooperation and should be
granted access to technology without discrimination.

In a special message commemorating the day when
Pakistan carried out a series of nuclear tests in 1998, Gilani
said: "Pakistan qualifies for participation in civil nuclear
cooperation at the international level."

"We urge all relevant forums to give Pakistan access
to nuclear technology for peaceful uses in a
non-discriminatory manner."

Gilani noted that civil nuclear power generation is an
"essential part" of Pakistan`s energy security strategy to
help meet the country`s energy needs for social and economic
development.

"We have more than 35 years experience of operating
nuclear power plants," he said.

Describing the atomic blasts of May 28, 1998 as an
event that marked "Pakistan`s entry into the privileged
nuclear club", he said the "precise objective" of the tests
was to "establish balance of power in the region and safeguard
the country`s sovereignty and integrity".

Then Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif had ordered the
nuclear tests in the wake of similar blasts by India despite
tremendous pressure from the world community.

Pakistan`s nuclear programme subsequently came under a
cloud after scientist A Q Khan admitted to running a
clandestine proliferation ring that supplied atomic secrets
and know-how to countries like Libya and North Korea.

The US and other Western countries have repeatedly
expressed concerns about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear
assets.

In his message, Gilani said Pakistan`s nuclear
programme "is mainly for defensive and peaceful purposes".

The country`s democratic government is "fully
committed to ensuring nuclear security", he added.

Pakistan, as a nuclear weapon state, attaches highest
importance to the security of nuclear materials and
facilities.

"For this purpose, we have put in place multi-layered
mechanisms and processes under the National Control and
Command Authority. We have done so, first and foremost, in our
own national interest and to protect our strategic assets,"
Gilani said.

Gilani also paid tribute to late former premier
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who launched Pakistan`s nuclear programme
"as deterrence and to harness this technology to accelerate
the pace of economic development".

Bhutto was aware of the challenges to Pakistan`s
security and future energy needs and built a team of
professionals and mobilised the required economic resources to
attain the objective, he said.

PTI