Amid mounting pressure by the US, Pakistan has refused to be part of talks regarding the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), which bans the production of fissile materials used in making nuclear weapons. Pakistan has expressed its concerns over the disparity shown by the US towards its treatment of New Delhi and Islamabad, and has refused to freeze its nuclear programme, terming it deterrence against aggression from India. The non-proliferation of fissile material is an important issue as it requires careful monitoring by world powers. However, the rule of non-proliferation of nuclear material should be applied to all states on an equal basis. Pakistan has refused to sign the treaty citing a number of reasons. First, it has asked for the removal of asymmetries in the FMCT and asked the US to make it more comprehensive addressing the issue of curtailment of existing stockpiles of fissile material possessed by nuclear-capable states. Islamabad believes that the treaty must include existing stocks, otherwise the imbalance of power in the world would simply be enhanced. Reportedly, Pakistan’s reluctance to sign the treaty is also attributed to the discriminatory policies of the West on civilian nuclear cooperation as the US had signed a nuclear cooperation deal with India in 2005 despite the fact that New Delhi was not a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Pakistan argues that it will not accept any unilateral curb on its nuclear programme, and that any reduction should apply to India as well and the US should also consider Pakistan’s concerns on the growing weapon disparity. There are certain allegations that provide grounds to the world to raise fingers at Pakistan’s nuclear programme. The presence of banned outfits like Jamat-ud-Dawa and Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pakistan as well as the accusation of transfer of nuclear technology to bad actors like North Korea make Pakistan’s stance weak about its capability to safeguard its nuclear programme.
Despite making good progress on stopping the proliferation of nuclear arms, the world is facing a growing threat of nuclear war among hostile states as well as misuse of nuclear weapons by extremists who are trying to have access to these arsenals. All efforts to lock down vulnerable atomic materials to prevent nuclear terrorism must be welcomed. Similarly, world powers need to adopt a fair treatment of all states that have acquired nuclear technology. Nobody is oblivious to the terrible consequences of using nuclear weapons. Therefore, all states should cooperate and follow nuclear agreements in letter and spirit for the sake of humanity. Instead of focusing on the acquisition of more advanced nuclear capability, more efforts should be made to promote regional cooperation. Instead of getting involved in the nuclear arms race and making irrational increases in defence budgets, rival states should spend money in social sectors that need their immediate attention. It is also necessary for Pakistan and India that instead of escalating tensions and increasing military expenditure, they should work for the establishment of lasting peace. India and Pakistan being neighbouring countries should focus on basic problems with their people. They should try to bring prosperity to their nations instead of indulging in an irrational nuclear arms race. The real strength of a nation lies in its ability to improve the living standards of its people by ensuring quality education and vibrant economic conditions. This can lead to healthy growth of society that does not produce extremists and terrorists. Having a nuclear edge over your adversary may be lauded, but economic prosperity would always have a superior place for the public. To do that the nation should stand united and work honestly for the progress and prosperity of the country. Pakistan needs to focus on its economic development while maintaining the policy of no compromise on the productive use of its nuclear programme.