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ISLAMABAD: Sustain­able civil nuclear energy is essential for Pakistan’s future energy security and economic development and a non-discriminatory appro­a­ch by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is imperative to maintain strategic balance in the region.

Speaking at the weekly brie­fing on Thursday, Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said, “Any country’s specific exception will not be beneficial for non-proliferation regime and will affect strategic stability of South Asia and credibility of the NSG itself.”

He said Pakistan’s application for membership of the NSG stood on solid grounds of technical experience, capability and well-established commitment to nuclear safety.

On the NSG membership, he said, Pakistan had a principle-based stand of adoption of a non-discriminatory, equitable and criteria-based appro­a­ch, which was supported by a large number of NSG members.

Mr Zakaria said Pakistan had been operating secure and safeguarded nuclear power plants for over 42 years. He said Pakistan’s membership of NSG was in the interest of nuclear training countries as it would promote the group’s objective of non-proliferation.

Referring to an agreement signed between Japan and India on building six nuclear power plants in Andhra Pradesh, he said Pakistan’s position on the matter was clear that there should not be any discriminatory treatment to a country which was not even a party to the Non-Prolifera­tion Treaty. “It will further add to the reasons behind disturbing strategic stability in the region,” the spokesman said.

Afghan peace process

About prospects for the Quadrilateral Coordination Group after the death of Afghan Taliban leader Mul­lah Akhtar Mansour, he said the group was still functional.

Pakistan had been making consistent efforts for peace in Afghanistan as it was in the interest of both countries, he said and added that Pakistan believed that a politically viable solution was important for Afghan peace and that the use of military force should be avoided.

About the FIR lodged against the drone strike by relatives of the driver who was killed along with Mullah Mansour, he said it was their right to file a complaint and the judiciary was independent to take up the matter according to legal course.

On Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that India was ready for peace talks provided Pakistan stopped supporting terrorists, he said terrorism had affected Pakistan more than any other country in the world.

The phenomenon of terrorism had resulted in the loss of lives of 60,000 Pakistanis and cast a huge impact on the country’s economy, he added.

On the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the spokesman said the project was of great economic significance not only for Pakistan and China but also for the entire region.

He said CPEC was a flagship project which had six more programmes under the concept of ‘One Belt One Road’.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2016

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