While the Marshallese accusations against Britain, India and Pakistan for “not doing enough to halt a nuclear arms race” were rejected on Wednesday by the United Nations court, the facts can no longer be ignored. The irrevocable damages — to both local environment as well as human health — posed by the US nuclear weapons fallout at the Marshall Islands should sound an alarm for the international community with regard to all potential disasters that could ensue from any lapse in judgment.
In the wake of continual yet unchecked investments in nuclear materials by Pakistan and India might seem satisfied in its attempts to expand its own programme. Its leadership, thus, deserves a right to fully prepare itself against any external attacks on its sovereignty. Nevertheless, amid its passionate drive to outperform India in establishing greater securer borders, Pakistan should also pay heed to all calamities that could occur if its arsenal falls in hands of terrorists. The fact that Pakistan is still struggling against a prominent presence of terrorist groups further intensifies the vulnerability of its assets. Hence, the recently initiated collaboration between Pakistan and Belarus in the field of nuclear energy should be utilised by the authorities as an ideal opportunity to build upon its nuclear potential while securing lasting peace. Even if the military in Pakistan aspires to develop nuclear weapons, such endeavours should only be indulged with mere deterrence as the goal.
When Pakistan tested its nuclear technology in 1998, countries around the world slapped severe penalisations on Pakistan forcing it to rein in its programme. What further exacerbated its ‘pariah’ status in the nuclear arena were rumours about its provision of nuclear assistance to ‘rogue’ actors like North Korea and Iran. While Pakistan may be justified in its efforts to sustain its nuclear ventures, it should also consider clearing up such controversies. A reasonable first step could include initiating a comprehensive investigation of all perpetrators who helped share ‘sensitive’ intelligence with other countries. It is high time that Pakistan signed peace treaties that aim to minimise if not nullify investments in nuclear technology. In addition, the authorities — both civilian and military — should also refrain from engaging in heated rhetoric, especially when the discourse involves the usage of nuclear weapons. Not only do such comments stoke fears regarding its unreliability as a ‘radical’ state, they would also cause Pakistan to further lose ground in its struggle to gain membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Although US President Barack Obama would soon depart his office, his much-needed vision for Global Zero, setting forth a world free of nuclear weapons still holds great potential for peace efforts. Pakistan should also try to employ its nuclear standing to best use for these initiatives as well. Establishing itself as a champion of peace would definitely require the country to shake hands with its estranged neighbours, and resolve all pending issues. However, if paying this small price guarantees Pakistan a positive accreditation amongst the global community, it should happily do so on an immediate basis.
This article first published on Dailytimes.com.pk