Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood on Tuesday said that Pakistan supported a strong rule-based, equitable and non-discriminatory international arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament regime premised on the principle of equal security for all states.
The foreign secretary, addressing a conference on “Promoting Strategic Trade Controls through International Cooperation” held by NUST Institute for Policy Studies, said such a regime was imperative for the maintenance of international peace and stability.
He said Pakistan shared the global concern regarding the threat posed to international peace and security by proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
He said that given Pakistan’s thriving science and technology landscape, with extensive expertise, experience and technological capabilities in ICTs, biotechnologies and nuclear applications, it clearly qualified for participation in the existing multilateral export control regimes.
“Pakistan’s participation in these regimes will further the non-proliferation objectives of these regimes. Pakistan will welcome non-discriminatory criteria for membership of these control regimes, provided these criteria are applied on the basis of fairness and impartiality,” he remarked.
Held with the collaboration of the Foreign Office, the conference was organized with the aim to promote interaction of national and international policy-makers, enforcement agencies, public sector organizations, private industry, and academia.
He said the idea was to benefit from their perspectives on a variety of topics, including Strategic Trade Management (STM), implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on WMD-proliferation and its financing; and recent developments in the multilateral export control regimes.
The foreign secretary told the gathering that Pakistan had put in place extensive legislative, regulatory and administrative frameworks for exercising effective controls over transfers of sensitive goods and technologies to prevent their diversion to non-peaceful uses.
While adhering to international export control standards and best practices, he said Pakistan strongly maintained that efforts for regulating international trade in dual-use technologies should not hamper free and equitable access to such technologies for legitimate socio-economic applications.
“An inclusive, non-discriminatory and principle-based approach will serve the multilateral export control regimes as platforms of greater cooperation for trade development and regional prosperity, without compromising their non-proliferation objectives with greater legitimacy, credibility and effectiveness,” he commented.
The foreign secretary viewed that the policies of discrimination and exceptionalism were detrimental to the non-proliferation objectives and credibility of the export control regimes.
“The 2008 country-specific exemption by the NSG for transfers of nuclear technology not only harmed the cause of nuclear non-proliferation but also undermined strategic stability in South Asia,” he commented.
He said the multilateral export control regimes must facilitate access to modern technologies for the economic progress of developing countries. Such a transformation is warranted by the advent of new technologies like Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), 3D printing, A.I., biotechnologies, quantum computing, and lethal autonomous weapon systems, he added.
Sohail Mahmood said a truly effective regime would necessitate the participation of all the interested stakeholders, including emerging economies which were making great strides in these new and emerging technologies.