Allaying concerns: ‘Nuclear programme not at risk from foreign investment’

Published: August 31, 2012
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Negotiator says a clause in draft Pak-US investment treaty addresses essential security. PHOTO: FILE

Negotiator says a clause in draft Pak-US investment treaty addresses essential security. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

The Strategic Planning Division (SPD) of Pakistan has expressed concerns over the security of the country’s missile and nuclear programmes, if opened to foreign investment, but the issue has been addressed in a draft of the Pak-US Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), said  the country’s top negotiator.

“The SPD had concerns that the sovereignty of the country should not be compromised and this issue has been taken care of through the insertion of a clause in the treaty which deals with essential security,” said Chairman Board of Investment (BOI) and chief negotiator from Pakistan Saleem Mandviwalla during a briefing on Thursday on the outcomes of Pak-US talks held to finalise the much-delayed treaty.

According to a draft of the treaty under negotiation, Pakistan is willing to allow foreign investment in all sectors, including defense and nuclear technology. There is also no restriction on foreign nationals serving in executive positions in firms, irrespective of the sector they are involved in.

Foreign investment in defense

China and France have already invested in Pakistan’s defense and Islamabad also “welcomes US investment in the same,” Mandviwalla said.

He added though that permission will be required for investment in arms and ammunition and nuclear programmes.

Although these sectors are not excluded from investment, Pakistan will exercise its right to deny investment through non-conforming measures (NCMs), he said.  NCMs are standards and laws that each country has to observe for bringing in any investment, he said.

Mandviwalla said that talks on the text of the treaty have concluded but the NCMs have not yet been agreed upon. They will not be part of the main text but will be annexure with the treaty, he said.

Article 18

The chairman also highlighted the article of the treaty which deals with security concerns.

According to Article 18, “nothing in this treaty shall be construed (1) to require a party to furnish or allow access to any information the disclosure of which it determines to be contrary to its essential security interests or (2) to preclude a party from applying measures that it considers necessary for the fulfillment of its obligations with respect to the maintenance of restoration of international peace or security.”

This article is not unique to Pakistan, as article 18 is a standard clause in every treaty that the US has signed with other nations.

Foreign executives

On foreign executives, the BOI chief said that foreign nationals can be appointed to senior management positions by the US firms, but insisted that their clearance will have to be obtained from security agencies.

“Pakistan’s security agencies have nothing concrete to establish they really have any concern while reviewing clearance applications of foreign executives,” he said.

Other issues

Mandviwalla said that the issues related to paid-up capital for opening bank branches and companies’ registration fees in Pakistan were also resolved.

He added that the BOI will soon send the summary to the Cabinet for approval of the treaty.

Unlike Pakistan, the US has stated that the talks have not concluded as certain issues still remain unresolved.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Aug 31, 2012 - 12:15PM

    I am confused about how electromagnetic waves of the electromagnetic spectrum are classified.
    I found somewhere that they are classified based on their wavelengths.
    Since electromagnetic(EM) waves are waves, so they behave the same as any other waves. So when the EM waves pass from one medium to another, e.g. when light passes from air to glass, then its wavelength will change. But that means that it will be classified as a different EM wave. But that can’t be right, can it???Recommend

  • Basit
    Aug 31, 2012 - 1:19PM

    We can say goodbye to our nuclear program now. The US will not doubt install its own agents in senior positions like it already has in other sectors.

    Recommend

  • sam
    Aug 31, 2012 - 2:19PM

    which investments are they talking about. Is Pakistan going to civilian nuclear deal with US like India?

    Recommend

  • Roflcopter
    Aug 31, 2012 - 4:18PM

    Whatever is done, just remember to NEVER trust US.

    Recommend

  • Cautious
    Aug 31, 2012 - 6:50PM

    Much to do about nothing — the treaty doesn’t mean much as it’s a big World and American investors have plenty of other investment opportunities in countries which are more stable and less corrupt.

    Recommend

  • slave
    Aug 31, 2012 - 7:41PM

    As expected country is already sold to its foreigner masters now only thing remaining is our nuclear power which also at sack begin in hands foreigner slaves and main concern is that anti Pakistan powers will use this so called investment cover to finish our nuclear power but nation wont wake up.As leaders are already sold to foreigners, country sold,nation sold now nuclear power?.

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