NEW DELHI: IN a dichotomous approach to its relation with India, Pakistan on the one hand made a peace overture on Tuesday by offering a bilateral arrangement on non-testing of nuclear weapons while on the other its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to support the “indigenous freedom struggle” of Kashmiri people.
The latest proposal was made by the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an official statement. Pakistan Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said: “In the larger interest of peace and stability in the region, as also in the global context, Pakistan has indicated the possibility that the two countries may consider a bilateral arrangement, which is reflective of its policy of promoting restraint and responsibility in South Asia and its consistent support for the objectives of the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty).” The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has not responded to the proposal so far.
The spokesperson said it was the second such offer from Pakistan, while the earlier one was made in 1998 after the nuclear tests but did to elicit a “favourable response” from India. Pakistan said this bilateral arrangement would be “legally binding” on both the countries as against the unilateral moratorium followed by the two countries. India has an official “no first use” policy with respect to the use of nuclear weapons, but Pakistan has not reciprocated it and continues to project its nukes as a guarantee for its security.
To make its offer lucrative, Pakistan said the arrangement will be a “positive signal” to the Nuclear Suppliers Group that both the countries aspire to become members of. Pakistan’s dismal track record with respect to nuclear non-proliferation has been a cause of concern for the international community with the father of its nuclear programme A Q Khan publicly boasting of passing on the nuclear weapons technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya.
Sharif’s statement coincided with this proposal. “The world needs to take stock of the latest brutalities against unarmed innocent Kashmiri people who are heavily sacrificing for attainment of their inalienable right to freedom,” Sharif said.