Seoul summit: ‘Responsible’ Pakistan seeks civil nuclear tech

Published: March 27, 2012

Gilani demands nuclear technology access for peaceful uses; says Pakistan has enhanced security of its atomic weapons. PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL: 

With a snowballing electricity crisis at home and concerns about his country’s nuclear arsenal abroad, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Monday neatly put the two issues together.

He called upon the international community to give Pakistan access to nuclear technology for “peaceful uses on a non-discriminatory basis”.

“We need nuclear technology to meet Pakistan’s growing energy needs,” Prime Minister Gilani told leaders from 53 nations and four international organisations at a dinner on the opening day of the two-day nuclear security summit in the South Korean capital.

The premier also sought to assuage global concerns about the safety of his country’s nuclear arsenal. “Pakistan has taken effective measures which are the most important part of its efforts to enhance nuclear security,” Gilani said in his address.

Referring to the importance of the summit, the prime minister said, “As we meet here, we break new ground on the evolving global nuclear security architecture, the role of the IAEA, and protection of nuclear materials and radioactive sources.”

The premier said that last year the IAEA board of governors had unanimously approved the safeguard agreements of two civil nuclear power plants of Pakistan, which showed the international community’s continued confidence in the safety and security standards maintained by his country.

In South Asia, Pakistan is pursuing strategic restraint and confidence-building measures through dialogue, and this process should guarantee security and stability in the region, he added.

He said Pakistan had also been active in international diplomacy to promote nuclear security. PM Gilani further said that Pakistan had also developed a strong nuclear emergency response mechanism. “We have been implementing a nuclear security action plan in cooperation with the IAEA which reinforces physical protection of nuclear medical centres and civilian nuclear plants,” he said.

After the Fukushima accident in Japan, Pakistan carried out comprehensive stress tests of the nuclear power plants and refined and improved the safety parameters, he said.

Gilani said Pakistan had been deploying special nuclear material portals at key entry and exit points to detect, deter and prevent illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive materials. The PM said that, since the Washington summit, swift movement had been seen in the field of nuclear security. “Together, we have taken steps to create a secure world that will not live under the fear of nuclear terrorist attacks. We firmly believe that nuclear material must never fall into the hands of terrorists.”

In his speech, President Barack Obama said major progress had been made over the past two years to eliminate or safeguard material that could be used to make thousands of bombs.

“But we’re under no illusions. We know that nuclear material – enough for many weapons – is still being stored without adequate protection,” he said.

“We know that terrorists and criminal gangs are still trying to get their hands on it, as well as the radioactive material for a dirty bomb… the danger of nuclear terrorism remains one of the greatest threats to global security.”

Obama urged the world leaders to ‘keep at it’, and pledged further actions from the US including efforts with Russia to jointly cut their stockpiles.

He said that, with more than 1,500 deployed nuclear weapons and 5,000 warheads, the US had “more nuclear weapons than we need”. Obama again told North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions. “By now it should be clear, your provocations and pursuit of nuclear weapons have not achieved the security you seek, they have undermined it,” he said, in what he called a direct address to the North’s new leadership.

Obama also warned Iran that time was running out to resolve the standoff over its nuclear programme through diplomacy. “There is time to solve this diplomatically… but time is short. Iran must act with the seriousness and sense of urgency that this moment demands,” he said.

Experts have acknowledged progress on safeguarding nuclear materials since the first summit in Washington two years ago.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2012.

Reader Comments (23)

  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Mar 27, 2012 - 11:43AM

    Responsible’ Pakistan seeks civil
    nuclear tech

    Pak is indeed responsible for doing many things, but, all those doings will be arguments against any nuke tech transfer to Pak.

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  • haha
    Mar 27, 2012 - 1:21PM

    ‘Responsible pakistan’ !
    This is hilarious !

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  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Mar 27, 2012 - 2:05PM

    Mr PM, does Pakistan have money to pay for those large nuclear power plants?.
    Has any of your advisor briefed you why not a single new nuclear power plant project has started in India even after the 2008 US agreement with India

    The answers are that neither Pakistan has the money nor a robust national grid system to support large nuclear power plants.

    Next time when you go asking for favours ask for something that we can afford and the others can offer

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  • Munda Baloch
    Mar 27, 2012 - 2:24PM

    IR seems to be missing from the article’s heading.

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  • Cautious
    Mar 27, 2012 - 2:25PM

    Nuclear energy is expensive – you don’t have the money to build the plants, maintain the plants, decommission the plants, or safely handle the spent fuel. Just look at your existing nuclear power plants – they are off line over 70% of the time and are accidents waiting to happen. We don’t need to discuss other reasons that the World should not share nuclear technology with Pakistan – anyone who has access to the internet can simply Google Pakistan with the term nuclear proliferation.

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  • Pakistani
    Mar 27, 2012 - 3:03PM

    @haha: than what do you want to read, responsible india?? grow up!

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  • Its (still) the Economy Stupid
    Mar 27, 2012 - 3:08PM

    There was a time when Pakistan was quick to detonate nuclear bomb to match Indian nuclear test. How come no civilian nuclear power station in a hurry to match India’s civil nuclear technology? Why are you asking for technology now? Oh, I keep forgoting my history lesson on workings of a Dr Khan in a Dutch laboratory, North Korea, Libyia and Iran etc.

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  • Abid
    Mar 27, 2012 - 3:46PM

    I wonder why Express tribune is so sarcastic whenever topic is about Pakistan’s identity or its security. Seems like someone else is pulling its strings to confuse us. I don’t know what kind of nuclear transfer was done by Pakistan to any terrorist group. If west can accept nuclear weapons as right of self defence for Israel than i think that it is right of any nation. Mind you americans are the only ones who have used it against innocent civillians of Japan. Americans are single-handedly responsible for more number of deaths in past 60 years than any other nation. Still we are terrorist and they are the peace makers.

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  • Mar 27, 2012 - 3:51PM

    Vienna,March 27,2012
    I wonder if the headline of the ET story under
    quote “responsible” related to the nuclear
    capability of Iran, of course via the proxy Khan
    market of nuclear free trade.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM
    India—Kulamarva Baalakrishna

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  • Mar 27, 2012 - 4:07PM

    Gilani may talk for hours about Pakistan sense of ‘responsibility’ but who would believe it? what matters is the few words of Obama: “We know that terrorists and criminal gangs are still trying to get their hands on it, as well as the radioactive material for a dirty bomb… the danger of nuclear terrorism remains one of the greatest threats to global security.”

    The world cannot help but be shocked at the Pakistani PM’s claim of Pakistan being a ‘responsible state”. Pakistan is not resilient but ‘hardened by crime’.

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  • Bill
    Mar 27, 2012 - 4:11PM

    I believe we as a nation are far more responsible than the ones who label us otherwise, a protocol as multi pronged as ours and the ground safety attributed alone are more than what our neighbours to the east have set out. Lets not forget that the maoist and the naxalites govern the area that hosts the IMA and two civil nuclear reactors. As far as my friend Yuri says about responsibility, need i remind him of the attrocities meted out to a nation by the 40th army in the 80s? if Russia can stand tall, India can stand tall and US after nagasaki can stand tall, than by all standards Pakistan is tallest amongst this league of nations.

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  • haris
    Mar 27, 2012 - 4:40PM

    @Kulamarva Balakrishna:
    And where did you get the Technology? Did Albert Einstein born again and guide you to built the bombs?

    Pathetic as usual!

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  • Mar 27, 2012 - 4:43PM

    @Abid:
    ET is biased propaganda machine

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  • Mar 27, 2012 - 4:45PM

    @Abid:
    Its strings are being pulled from Washington, Tel Aviv and New Delhi

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  • Mar 27, 2012 - 5:43PM

    @haris:
    Of course from Dr.Khan market developed in
    Timbuktu and free traded from Dubai all financed
    by Bank of Credit Commerce International,BCCI
    based and buried in Luxemburg.
    Kulamarva Balakrishna

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  • BlackJack
    Mar 27, 2012 - 6:42PM

    @Abid:
    All points are accepted – but why are you looking for a hand-out? Develop your own technology (or send out another AQ Khan to obtain it for you). The fact is that Mr. Gilani knows nuclear power for civilian purposes is not a feasible option given that all available fissile material is under army control – and the world knows this too. You should try and develop the Thar coal deposits that Imran Khan talks so much about.

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  • Abid
    Mar 27, 2012 - 9:25PM

    @Blackjack….what do you think Pakistan…a so called “failed, rogue, terrorist etc etc” state can get whatever nuclear tech. from west. These types of demands are basically tools of diplomacy in foreign affairs. By asking for civilian nuclear tech. Pakistan is basically putting pressure on Americans and west that technology transfer to India makes Pakistan also entitled to improve its existing nuclear tech. by any means. A sophisticated nuclear bomb made in India with the help of west if used against people of Pakistan makes this technology transfer a dangerous deal against Pakistan just like it is for Israel. Mind you, Indian leaders have threatened Pakistan a number of times and don’t accept our sovereignty which makes our case very similar to Israel and Iran’s. So, Gillani and co. are shrewd enough to know uncle Sam would die rather give us the tech. they are just launching a “Diplomatic offensive” to skirt any international pressure on Pakistan’s own issues of alleged non proliferation.

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  • BlackJack
    Mar 27, 2012 - 10:29PM

    @Abid:
    My mistake for having replied to you. Apologies.

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  • Yash
    Mar 27, 2012 - 11:20PM

    @Abid:

    no1 accepts pakistan’s soveirgnity…india doesnt have NO FIRST USE policy which pakistan has…India is going to attack pakistan in near future…

    happy??

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  • harry stone
    Mar 27, 2012 - 11:44PM

    @Abid:

    Why is PAK entitled to anything? That is like saying Germans are entitled to quality medical care therefore PAK is entitled to medical care. Germany can and does provide this to their citizens. It is questionable if PAK does but it does not make PAK ENTITLEd.

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  • Cynical
    Mar 28, 2012 - 12:56AM

    We have built our nuclear arsenals on our own.Why can’t we built our nuclear power stations?Why does the PM goes begging for technology?Nothing like being self-relient.

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  • Mar 29, 2012 - 1:57AM

    When our own newspapers would do such derogatory reporting by writing Responsible in commas with Pakistan, then how can I complain about western media being biased against Pakistan, we are our enemies

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  • Pollack
    Mar 29, 2012 - 7:04AM

    @Abid: Spoken like a “responsible” Pakistani. :-)

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