Senate Defense Committee Chairman Mushahid Hussain Sayed has stated that the western powers must shun double standards on the nuclear issue and treat India and Pakistan at par, otherwise their claims for nuclear non-proliferation will sound hollow and be seen as a triumph of political interests over principles.
He made these comments in his Keynote Speech to the International Seminar on ‘Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament; Contemporary Challenges and Prospects’ organized by Islamabad based think tank Center for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) with the support of German Foundation Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) Wednesday.
He also recalled the memories of those days when he was principal spokesperson of Pakistani government and used to appear on national and foreign media to defend the nuclear tests in May 1998. “Pakistan was a reluctant entrant into the nuclear club but we thank India for going nuclear first, which enabled Pakistan to follow suit,” he added on a lighter note.
Senator Mushahid was of the view that motivations for going nuclear were different for both countries as Pakistan got the bomb for its security, while India wanted to get big power status.
Talking about the Indo-US nuclear deal, he said it had disastrous consequences for the region, because the deal was not about nuclear energy but about containing China, making India the regional hegemon in South Asia and it helped inject India into Afghanistan with the result that with 2006 onwards, the Pakistan-US consensus over Afghanistan started unraveling.
Moreover, it exposed US double-standards on the nuclear issue as India was granted exemptions by violating the NPT and even US laws.
Emphasizing the need to resolve Kashmir issue, he further said that the region around Pakistan remain volatile and unstable without resolving the core issue of Kashmir. He said security cannot be compartmentalised and there can be no nuclear disarmament or arms control without settling Kashmir issue. He said a Kashmir settlement would promote nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control, otherwise regional security without Kashmir solution is like ‘staging Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark’. He urged implementation of UN Security Council Resolution # 1172, unanimously passed on June 6, 1998, who called for resolving ‘root causes of tensions like Kashmir’.
The senator concluded that people of Pakistan want to live peacefully but with equality and reciprocity with India. He said there were some silver linings in the situation like the Western nuclear deal with Iran, the still intact 1985 Pakistan-India accord on not attacking each other’s nuclear installations and the elections in Afghanistan which showed the supremacy of ballot over bullet.