Pakistan serious candidate for NSG membership: FO spokesman

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Pakistan has established itself as a serious candidate for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG).

Answering questions during weekly news briefing in Islamabad today Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said that support for the membership of the NSG is the result of active diplomacy by Pakistan.

He said an increasing number of countries are following non-discriminatory approach and avoiding any formula to favour a specific country. There is also growing recognition of the fact that 2008 exemption to India neither benefited non-proliferation regime nor objective of strategic stability in South Asia.

The spokesman expressed the confidence that members of the NSG would bear in mind the need to prevent further erosion of non-proliferation regime and preserving the credibility of the NSG as a rule-based organisation.

He said Pakistan has expressed its openness to measures for strengthening non-proliferation objectives to the NSG. This includes a proposal for a binding bilateral agreement with India on non-testing.

Asked to comment on Indian Defence Minister’s statement about no first use of nuclear weapons, the Spokesman said Pakistan believes the ambiguous “No First Use Declaration” is not verifiable and amounts to nothing. It can’t be a substitute for verifiable arms control and restraint measures proposed by Pakistan’s standing offer of Strategic Restraint Regime.

The spokesman said such a statement by Defence Minister of a country that repeatedly and constantly heightens tension and with aggressive posture should be a matter of concern not just for countries in the region but also a threat to global peace and security.

He said the signing of nuclear deals by some countries is a matter of concern as it is only reinforcing arrogance and belligerence with which India conducts itself in the region and beyond.

Responding to questions, the spokesman said Pakistan is very actively and forcefully taking up on every occasion and every forum the issue of grave human rights violation by Indian forces in Occupied Kashmir and the need for resolution of the longstanding conflict. He said India is heightening tension on Line of Control and the Working Boundary to hide its crimes against humanity in Occupied Kashmir.

To another question, he said dates for visit of Chief Executive of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah’s visit to Pakistan are being worked out.

The spokesman said the trilateral meeting of Pakistan, China and Russia would be held next month in Russia to discuss implications of Afghan situation for the region.

The spokesman reassured that appropriate arrangements are being made to ensure the uninterrupted running of Pak-Turk schools keeping in view interests of students as well as employees. He pointed out that these schools were being run by an organisation registered as a charity in Turkey. After banning of the organisation in the country of registration and therefore, its branches abroad have ceased to exist. He said the Government is conscious of the importance of continued smooth functioning of these schools.