Pakistan has proposed an ‘exclusive’ dialogue on Kashmir with India and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry will write to his Indian counterpart shortly to invite Modi government for the talks exclusively on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz stated this while briefing media persons primarily on the envoys’ conference held on August 3, which had also expressed Pakistan’s readiness for a nuclear non-testing agreement with India as well as Pakistan’s commitment not to transfer nuclear weapons to other states or assist others to acquire nuclear weapons.
Aziz said the envoys conference discussed a number of diplomatic initiatives being taken with regard to the issue of Kashmir and decided to invite India to a dialogue on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry would formally be writing to his counterpart in this regard, he added.
He said that the conference noted that India’s policy of not engaging in a comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan was not conducive for peace in South Asia.
It emphasised the indigenous character of the movement in Kashmir and condemned the atrocities being committed by the Indian forces on unarmed and innocent Kashmiris.
Besides emphasising that Pakistan will continue to extend full diplomatic, political and moral support to the Kashmiris movement for self determination, he added.
He said Kashmir would be on top of the agenda of Pakistan during the forthcoming session of the UN General Assembly.
He said work was also under way on compiling another dossier of the Indian RAW involvement in the wake of confessional statement made by arrested spy Kulbhushan Yadav. This dossier too would be shared with the international community, he added.
He pointed out that Pakistan has written to the UN Human Rights Council on human rights violations and the Council has conveyed to India that it wants to send a fact-finding mission to occupied Kashmir.
On the Quetta terror attack, he said there are indications of a splinter group of TTP, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar’s (JuA) involvement in the attack, adding Afghan intelligence agency NDS is known to be indirectly supporting such groups and there is also collaboration between NDS and Indian RAW.
He said arrested RAW agent Yadav is being investigated as he was not alone and was working through an elaborate network.
For a possible cooperation between Pakistan’s ISI and Afghanistan’s NDS, Aziz said that efforts were underway for working relationship between the two intelligence agencies, adding any such arrangements would help address the border management issues and the terrorists’ cross-border infiltration.
Aziz also claimed some progress on Pakistan’s bid to join Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), for which the country is one of the applicants, along with India, even though both have not signed the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
He said that Pakistan’s application for NSG is based on: (i) desire to strengthen global non-proliferation regimes; (ii) the need for strategic stability and a level-playing field in South Asia; (iii) our priority for socio-economic development and technological advancement of the country; and (iv) capability to supply items on NSG lists Part1 and 2.
He said Pakistan’s efforts to upgrade our export controls, nuclear safety and security long pre-dates our application, was submitted on 19th May 2016.
He said Pakistan has been undertaking extensive diplomatic efforts to win support for its bid for mainstreaming in the multilateral export control regimes.
“Our strong lobbying efforts have yielded positive results. Our arguments for criteria-based approach, and the impact of any India-specific exemption on the strategic stability in South Asia and on the future of non-proliferation regime, have been accepted by several NSG countries,” he said, adding Pakistan is confident of the merits of its membership application.
He said Pakistan’s export controls are fully harmonised with those of the NSG, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Australia Group, adding Pakistan has taken extensive measures to strengthen nuclear safety and security.
More recently, he said Pakistan has taken three significant steps ie public statement on nuclear test moratorium, ratification of the 2005 amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and declaring adherence to NSG Guidelines.
“Pakistan is committed not to transfer nuclear weapons to other states or assist others to acquire nuclear weapons,” he said, adding Pakistan’s Policy Guidelines on Strategic Export Controls require requisite safeguards on all relevant material in a recipient state, which implies comprehensive safeguards requirement for all states which have a legal obligation to apply such safeguards.
He said that Pakistan has also consistently supported the goal of a nuclear weapon-free world through the commencement of negotiations on nuclear disarmament at the Conference on Disarmament.
He said that the measures put in place by Pakistan are consistent with the Articles I, III.2 and VI of NPT as well as the objectives that the NSG has sought to promote.
He said that Pakistan has consistently supported the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), adding we voted for the treaty when it was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1996.
“We have declared a unilateral moratorium on further testing. Pakistan is prepared to consider translating its unilateral moratorium into a bilateral arrangement on non-testing with India,” he added.
He said the issue of NSG membership cannot be separated from the consideration of strategic stability in the region. In 2008, he added that the NSG missed an opportunity to promote simultaneous adherence to non-proliferation benchmarks by Pakistan and India, as a part of a package deal, which would have promoted restraint and stability in the region.
“Pakistan hopes that on the question of membership, established NSG procedures and modalities for discussions would not be bypassed, once again, to rush a country-specific waiver that disregards non-proliferation objectives,” he added.
He stated that Pakistan’s NSG membership will further NSG non-proliferation objectives by the inclusion of a state with nuclear supply capabilities and its adherence to NSG guidelines and best practices on supply of controlled items, goods, materials, technologies and services.
Being fossil fuel deficient, as well as one of the most vulnerable countries to the impact of climate change, he pointed out that Pakistan is compelled to increase the percentage of clean energies, including nuclear energy, in the national energy mix.
He said Pakistan’s Energy Security Plan includes a Nuclear Power Programme, which envisages substantial increase in nuclear energy by 2050 to respond to the future requirements of a growing population and economy.
The implementation of the programme will offer opportunities for cooperation at the international level under IAEA safeguards, he said, adding Pakistan looks forward to the removal of barriers for gaining equitable access to international civil nuclear cooperation for mutual benefit.
“We will continue to project Pakistan’s solid credentials based on its technical experience, capability and well-established commitment to non-proliferation, nuclear safety and security,” he said, adding Pakistan is formally inviting NSG Troika to visit Pakistan for a detailed briefing on our credentials.
He also stated that Pakistan welcomes any opportunity to engage bilaterally with interested NSG countries for a detailed presentation on the merits of our application.
According to him, the conference deliberated on major foreign policy challenges of the country and formulated recommendations, which were presented to the Prime Minister.
He said it was agreed that the key elements of the foreign policy of Pakistan were pointing in the correct direction.
Sharing the broad framework of Pakistan foreign policy, he said it included; peace for development, building a “peaceful neighbourhood”, regional connectivity, “trade, not aid” – Economic Diplomacy, promoting the potential and welfare of Pakistani diaspora and enhancing Pakistan’s image abroad.
The Adviser further noted that Pakistan and China’s collaboration on the CPEC and our reach out to Central Asian countries and connectivity to Eurasian landmass were opening up new vistas of connectivity, economic opportunities and prosperity.
While our relations with China are time-tested, we would also like to maintain cordial relations with the US, he said and added that we have stayed engaged with the US and are working on to build convergences and addressing divergences.
He further said that the Conference noted that Pakistan has made remarkable progress in fighting terrorism which has received world-wide recognition.
Certain countries seem to be creating a negative narrative which will be deterred, rejected and countered, he added.
On Afghanistan, he said the envoys noted that there was full consensus in Pakistan that peace in Afghanistan is in our national interest.
We should, therefore, continue to work for peace in Afghanistan, effective border management and continued efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, he added.
He stated that it was agreed to intensify engagement with Afghanistan at all level to address each other concerns and to build on points of convergence. -Business Recorder