Concerns over Pakistan’s Nuclear Program Perceptions and Reality

Concerns over Pakistan’s Nuclear Program Perceptions and Reality


It is a fact that consequent to the overt nuclearization of India, Pakistan had no choice but to follow to redress the strategic balance on which peace and security in South Asia depends. It is also an indisputable fact that Pakistan’s nuclear capability, assisted by the conventional capability, has been the main factor for limiting crises with India from spiraling to unwanted levels.  A key example was that the Indian coercive arms buildup on Pak-India borders in 2000-2001 neither achieved its aims, nor led to an outbreak of all-out war.

At the same time, the very possession of nuclear weapons carries with it an overriding national and international responsibility that these weapons, assets, materials, and technologies on which they are based, are under strong and failsafe custodial and operational control, that their purpose is meant to deter and that they would only be used in an ‘in extremis’ necessity. In essence, every nuclear state has to credibly demonstrate and project that it is ‘a responsible nuclear state.’

On this particular premise, Pakistan’s nuclear program has been the focus of discussion in national and international media, think tanks, and officials of global powers. More often than not, foreign state and non-state organizations and agencies raise certain questions and concerns, in one way or another, over the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, fissile material, and technological knowledge, as well as Pakistan’s role in the international fora, such as Conference on Disarmament (CD). Similarly, Pakistani media, analysts and officials also raise their voices over the differential treatment of some powerful capitals vis-à-vis India.

In this context, it is important to track down the global and domestic concerns, analyze those concerns in the backdrop of Pakistan’s institutional and legislative structure of forfeiting its nuclear assets, and examine Pakistan’s concerns over the conduct of international community towards its nuclear program vis-à-vis India, and evaluate Pakistan’s position and role in the CD in comparison with the role and position of other powers over the years. This analytical exposé would be helpful in understanding whether the concerns over Pakistan’s nuclear program hold substantial grounds, whether the international community really needs to pay heed to the ominous scenarios coming out in international media every now and then, or whether Pakistan is genuinely a victim of global politics and world powers as Pakistani analysts and officials  believe.

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