UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has voiced concern over policies of certain countries that have contributed to instability and military imbalances in South Asia.
Addressing the opening session of the UN’s Disarmament Commission, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Maleeha Lodhi said that “waivers and exemptions to long-held non-proliferation principles”, were contributing to insecurity in certain regions — especially South Asia.
She pointed to a disturbing trend in many parts of the world, including South Asia, where military expenditures were rising and conventional weapons inventories expanding.
Ambassador Lodhi also lamented the present impasse in the disarmament agenda, asserting that progress on nuclear disarmament remained stalled as “some nuclear weapon states were neither willing to give up their large inventories of nuclear weapons nor their modernisation programmes, even as they pursue non-proliferation with “messianic zeal”.
She made an emphatic call to convene a Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly on Disarmament to try to break the deadlock and make headway towards disarmament.
Ms Lodhi said over 50 heads of State and Government had been meeting every two years, since 2010, at Nuclear Security Summits that deal with the security of about 15 per cent of the world’s nuclear material.
Surely, she said, world leaders should also meet in the General Assembly’s Special Disarmament Session to discuss security in a world of some 17,000 nuclear warheads.
She argued for a holistic approach to existing and emerging challenges to global and regional security as well as to arms control and disarmament, on the basis of constructive multi-lateralism. For over a decade, she pointed out, Pakistan had been advocating building an international consensus on disarmament issues based on the principle of equal security for all.
She also urged a comprehensive approach to deal with both causes and manifestations of violence, wars and killings, arising from the use of conventional weapons — small or large.
Pakistan welcomed the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty, entered into force on Dec 24, 2014.
“We consider this milestone as a first step towards regulating trade and transfer of conventional weapons,” she said.
In order to strengthen global security, Pakistan proposed that until nuclear disarmament was achieved, non-nuclear weapon states should be given security assurances against nuclear weapons through a universal, unconditional and legally binding treaty.
“As a responsible nuclear-weapon state, Pakistan has consistently advocated such a treaty,” Ambassador Lodhi said.
She also argued that the development and use of drones and Lethal Autonomous Robots (LARs) needed to be curbed, internationally regulated and made subject to international humanitarian law.
She also expressed Pakistan’s support to the objective of creating a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons.
And to arrest the disturbing trend of escalation in the number and sophistication of conventional weapons, Ambassador Lodhi said that there was urgent need for mutual and balanced reductions in armed forces and conventional armaments.
Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2015