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|September 12, 1998||
Pakistan will sign CTBT only on recognition as nuclear weapon state
Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz has said that after conducting nuclear tests, Pakistan can join the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty only as a nuclear-weapon state and will not accept any other status under the treaty.
Initiating a special debate on the CTBT at the joint session of parliament on Friday evening, Aziz categorically stated that Pakistan will never agree to the reversal of its nuclear capability. ''The nuclear deterrence established by our demonstrated capability is vital for our national security and is an assurance of peace in the region.''
He said the bold decision by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief had helped Pakistan gain a new status and deterrence capability to face any aggression. "Nuclear deterrence, critical to Pakistan's self-defence is indispensable for our national security. Pakistan has crossed threshold, and our moratorium and even accession to CTBT if we so decide in our national interest will not erode this deterrence capability,'' he said.
Explaining the scope of the implications of CTBT, the foreign minister said it only bans nuclear explosions and does not prohibit manufacture of nuclear weapons on the basis of tested designs. He said Pakistan was determined to maintain its nuclear capability and will not sign the CTBT under any atmosphere of coercion.
He assured members that the government will not accept CTBT unless economic sanctions and pressures were removed.
Aziz said after the nuclear tests, the United States has initiated a dialogue both with Pakistan and India on security and nuclear issues. Pakistan emphasised the need for an effective involvement of a major power, especially the US, for the resolution of the Kashmir issue.
He said Pakistan had argued that without progress on Kashmir, the situation in South Asia could further deteriorate and lead to an arms race in the region.
He said a parallel Pak-US dialogue focused on nuclear issues and Pakistan's adherence to the CTBT was the main point of discussion. For this reason the government found it necessary to share its thinking with Parliament on the CTBT and solicit its opinion.
After the foreign minister's statement, Sharief, in his brief speech, told the house that the main objective of holding the joint session of Parliament was to achieve a national consensus on CTBT.
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