WASHINGTON: Pakistan has re-launched its campaign to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), as its envoy in the US capital approached the White House this week with a request to support its bid.

In a statement issued to the media, the Pakistan Embassy in Washington said Ambassa­dor Jalil Abbas Jilani had also approached the US State Department and Congressional leaders, calling upon them to support Pakistan’s membership to the 48-nation NSG.

Ambassador Jilani also held a series of meetings with significant think tanks and opinion-makers in Washington, explaining that Pakistan had a strong case for joining the group.

Ambassador Jilani seeks support of White House

The NSG seeks to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture atomic weapons.

Pakistan applied for the NSG membership on May 19 but the request was not accepted because of allegations that some of its scientists had shared nuclear technology with Iran and Libya. Pakistan reiterated the request earlier this month.

Although India enjoys the support of several world powers, including the United States, it too failed to join the NSG in May as China opposed its application. The NSG requires unanimous support from all member nations to admit a new member.

During his meetings in Washington, Mr Jilani highlighted Pakistan’s “unambiguous commitment to the international objectives of the nuclear non-proliferation and robust command and control systems of its civilian nuclear programme,” the statement said.

The ambassador has assured the US leadership that Pakistan shares the international concerns against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and their means of delivery. “Pakistan’s inclusion in the NSG would be the right decision to enhance international security,” he said.

Islamabad argues that Pakistan’s membership of the NSG would not only go a long way in strengthening the international non-proliferation regime but would also help Pakistan enhance its capabilities in harnessing peaceful uses of nuclear technology.

Pakistan says it needs the nuclear technology in the fields of health, agriculture and power generation to meet its burgeoning population of almost 200 million people.

Pakistan, as one of the founding members of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has actively contributed to the conference on disarmament in negotiating multilateral arms control and disarmament instruments on the principle of equal and undiminished security for all.

Besides, the country has instituted elaborate export control regime, legislative framework and comprehensive regulatory and administrative measures.

Pakistan says that its export control lists are in harmony with those of the NSG, Missile Technology Control Regime and Australia Group.

“There is no possibility of export of non-listed items that could be used in making the WMDs or their delivery systems,” Ambassador Jilani said. “By declaring unilateral adherence to NSG guidelines, Pakistan has further aligned itself with the global non-proliferation standards,” he added.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2016