Nuclear disarmament, delivery systems linked, says Pakistan

Published October 20, 2022
Pakistan’s envoy Khalil Hashmi speaks during a debate on weapons of mass destruction at the 77th session of UN General Assembly. — Photo courtesy Pakistan Mission to UN Twitter
Pakistan’s envoy Khalil Hashmi speaks during a debate on weapons of mass destruction at the 77th session of UN General Assembly. — Photo courtesy Pakistan Mission to UN Twitter

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan on Wednesday underlined the need to have a balance between addressing new risks and keeping open the route to new technologies for all nations.

During a week-long debate on weapons of mass destruction at the 77th session of UN General Assembly (UNGA), Pakistan reminded the international community that nuclear weapons and their delivery systems no longer exist in isolation; they “co-exist with other advanced weapon systems in different domains”.

Therefore, “the conversation on nuclear disarmament can no longer be oblivious to the mutually reinforcing relationship of various weapon systems and their collective impact on the security of states,” said Pakistani envoy Khalil Hashmi.

Ambassador Hashmi, who represents Pakistan at the UN office in Geneva, traveled to New York to participate in the UNGA debate.

Warns global community ‘prospects of nuclear war are back within realm of possibility’

The potential dual nature of the emerging technologies, he said, “should not be used as a pretext for proscribing or restricting their availability to developing countries.”

Participating in the thematic debate on nuclear weapons, Mr Hashmi also emphasised “the need for rebuilding a more enduring and equitable international security architecture” that also addresses the lack of balance in conventional balance.

The UNGA debate on nuclear weapons began on Oct 14 — a day after US President Joe Biden made controversial remarks about Pakistan and its nuclear assets. Addressing a Democratic fundraiser in California on Oct 13, President Biden surprised everyone with his off-the-cuff remarks: “What I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan.” And then he explained why he thought Pakistan was dangerous: “Nuclear weapons without any cohesion”.

The comments sparked outrage in Pakistan where it was denounced by both the government and the opposition. On Tuesday, Pakistan’s senior military command also issued an unusual statement reassuring the world that the country’s nuclear weapons and materials were well secured in accordance with the international standards.

Since then, the White House and the US State Department have issued several statements on the issue, assuring Islamabad that the United States has confidence in Pakistan’s ability to defend its nuclear assets and was seeking a strong partnership with the county to counter global terrorism.

At the UNGA debate, Pakistan also assured the world that it had a robust command and control system, and its nuclear weapons were completely safe.

But Pakistan warned the global community that “nuclear dangers are rising and the prospects of a nuclear war are back within the realm of possibility”.

The Pakistani envoy pointed out that nuclear disarmament remained largely unfulfilled as “evidenced by the constant shifting of goal posts towards additional non-proliferation measures”.

Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2022

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