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FMCT A discriminatory Pakistan specific ploy

Dr. Huma Mir

The scientifically orchestrated bogey of ‘ISLAMIC BOMB’ spanning almost 25 years failed to prevent the nuclearization of Pakistan. Alhamdolillah, we entered the select group of Nuclear Weapons States in 1998.
Since then the West is creating one issue or the other to degrade, discredit and seek controls over our Military and civil nuclear program.
First was the issue of export of nuclear knowhow and materials to some friendly countries and lately the security of our nuclear stockpiles in view of terrorist activities. Fissile Material Cut off Treaty is another tool to manage Pakistan’s nuclear abilities by preventing Pakistan from stockpiling adequate Nuclear Fissile Material for Civilian and Military use.
The US started efforts for a Fissile Material Cut off Treaty since 1946. However, global nuclear stock piles continued to grow and reach a peak in 1986 with more than 65,000 warheads during cold war. In 1989 Mikhail Gorbachev supported the US initiative of FMCT but the US itself waited till Dec 1993 when President Clinton’s move led towards adoption of a generalized Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty (FMCT) by the United Nations General Assembly.
A Conference on Disarmament was started to formalize a process to cut down production of Nuclear Fissile Materials. The Nuclear Weapon States  (Super Powers) however, did not let the 65 members Conference on Disarmament make any progress on this issue for more than a decade while vigorously producing and stockpiling fissile material for nuclear weapons until recently despite their commitment to eventually eliminate nuclear arms from the world. Even the US disarmament/non proliferation initiative for a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996 is yet to enter into force only due to lack of its ratification by the US itself.
Despite numerous NPT Extension and Review Conference and reaffirmation of the members for the twin objectives of ‘nonproliferation and disarmament’,  the Super Powers  and their allies are only  focusing  on FMCT to only ban future production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. The proceedings of the Conference on Disarmament  that resumed its session in May 2009 after 14 years through adoption of a program of work by consensus [including Pakistan] has once again struck an impasse due to lack of agreement by Pakistan and a few other members on the ‘nature and scope of the treaty’.
Pakistan besides seeking clarification on the nature and scope of the FMCT is also insisting to include clauses on existing and past stocks and its verification aspects. Pakistan seeks Review Conferences instead of focusing only on FMCT for a consensus. Pakistan reiterates that Conference on Disarmament should also equally focus on other aspects of the mandate to realize its commitment for negative security assurance and disarmament measures.
The Super Powers and their allies including India do not want to include any clause on past and present stocks of the fissile materials by focusing only on non-proliferation aspect. They suggest settling other issues of fissile material stocks outside Conference on Disarmament.
Pakistan is however, not prepared to freeze regional inequalities in fissile materials at current levels and has also proposed for first elimination of fissile materials stocks for weapon purposes by all states. Pakistan is therefore being blamed as a spoiler while India and Israel are hiding silently behind other countries and jealously guarding their interests. The US, UK along with Germany, India and Japan are now pondering on alternative approaches in the rules of business/procedures in the CD including review of the term multilateralism.
Following Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation deal giving India special waiver against NPT by Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) and consequent Indian agreements with 8-9 countries for civil nuclear technology and nuclear fuel supplies, it would not only enable India to divert its indigenous fissile material for weapon purposes but would help continuous amassing of fissile materials from her 8 x un-safeguarded nuclear reactors. The consequent wide asymmetries in fissile materials would be detrimental to Pakistan’s strategic balance and its national security besides challenging the credibility of its minimum credible deterrence.
India, by seeking special dispensations from the US and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has already attained the ‘special status’ of a de-facto nuclear State. Additionally, the Indo  US and Israel cooperation in missile defense systems and multiple cooperative ventures with other allies in several other defense projects has elevated India to the status of a regional power to successfully execute its dualfront  strategy  for  subsequent  containment  of  China.
Pakistan, due to its security situation in War on Terror, poor economy and state of relations with the US and its allies is being marginalized to a state that it would not be able to challenge India if an immediate review of the security policies not carried out. It is due to our poor diplomacy and foresight that we are being targeted and pressurized to agree to the discriminatory FMCT.\The ambiguity in our minimum credible deterrence would no more remain a secret. Pakistan has warned that it would not accept any measure of the FMCT if the same is concluded outside the UN through sabotaging its rules of business i.e. the “provision of consensus”. Pakistan has a limited choice to ensure an early resumption of proceedings of the CD on FMCT. Any strategy to constrain India from exploitation of nuclear technology and nuclear fuel supply agreements with the US and its allies to freeze current disparities in nuclear fissile materials will be in Pakistani strategic interest. Besides generating public debate/opinion and support on both CTBT and FMCT through media and active interactions with local and International think tanks, Pakistan must work on to resume negotiations on the FMCT.
Under the prevailing regional and international security environments when Pakistan has already ruined its economy in War on Terror and the US wants Pakistan to open yet another offensive in North Waziristan to facilitate its exit from Afghanistan, Pakistan needs to play its card very deliberately and cautiously. Pakistan must encash this opportunity and leverage for the US civil nuclear cooperation deal and Nuclear Supplier Group’s waiver before launching any fresh adventure. For the civil nuclear technology, Pakistan may also exercise this weight AS IT HAS SHOWN willingness to resume negotiations on FMCT. Incase our demands remain unfulfilled, Pakistan may not necessarily sign or accede to the treaty like NPT by conditioning it with procurement of civil nuclear technology along with assured fuel supplies besides accomplishment of its objectives to accumulate the fissile material required for its strategic balance as well as minimum credible deterrence.
Dr. Huma Mir, TV anchor, Columnist, Chairperson Youth Committee Arts Council of Pakistan, General Secretary Media women Publishers & Journalists Organization.
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