Keeping up with the tradition of holding discussions on contemporary issues of strategic importance, the SVI held its second roundtable conference on 23rd May 2013, which was attended by a Danish delegation, comprised of high profile academicians, policy makers and scholars. The delegations consisted of the following Danish and Pakistani participants:
Steen (Bornholdt Andersen) Colonel Defence Attaché Royal Danish Embassy,
Mr. Martin Harrow, Head of Branch at Danish Ministry of Defense
Mr. Talat Siddiqi Mr.
Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema
Mr. Talha Mehmood
Mr. Nasurullah Brohi
Mr. Ahmad Khan
Ms. Sahdia Janjua
The debate addressed a very important issue of terrorism, which is so rampant in Pakistan and going out of control by the day. This fact raises serious concerns of international community, which is highly skeptical of Pakistan’s security and safety measures with regards to the probability of theft and accidental proliferation of its nuclear arsenals. There is a fear that ever rising wave of terrorism inside Pakistan may eventually lead to nuclear terrorism if these arsenals somehow get into the hands of terrorists. Both sides were able to present their point of views, analysis, and suggestions about the Nuclear weapons proliferation, whether by state or non state actors. They believe this is a real threat to the international security today.
The Danish delegation mostly stressed upon the fact that nuclear terrorism is not unthinkable especially in the wake of 9/11 attacks in the United States, regarding which there is a fear that this might have been the result of using some sophisticated weapons of Mass Destruction by highly skilled terrorist. So if a country like US with the most advance and robust security and safety measures in place, could not save itself from the lethal attacks, how could Pakistan satisfy the international community about the safety of its nuclear arsenals when the country is in the stranglehold of terrorism. They further added that it is not just a matter of concern for Pakistan but the security of whole international community is at stake. They suggested that in the present circumstance it is very important that Pakistan should consider adopting some safety measures including Nonproliferation measures; cooperative threat reduction and other arms control initiatives that can help limit the opportunities for terrorist to acquire or develop WMD.
Pakistani side of the speakers asserted that the roots of Pakistan’s nuclear program lie in its adversarial relations with India. The very need to develop a nuclear capability was in response to India’s nuclear tests as they posed serious threats to the very existence and sovereignty of Pakistan. Also this is why Pakistan remains outside The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). It is only natural that Pakistan has India centric national and regional policies to pursue and unless India signs the treaty, Pakistan should not be expected to do so. The speakers also clearly elaborated on the security aspect of the Pakistani Nuclear program, stating that Pakistan’s nuclear installations are most secured and do not face any internal or external threats. They stated that the nuclear capability is to ensure Pakistan’s survival and its safety remains the top priority of the State. So the fears of the international community are largely unfounded. The main concern of the Danish delegation during the discussion was terrorism in Pakistan’s North-Western regions, especially FATA and its implication for the regional security. Each side gave their deliberations on the given topic and explained their concerns and viewpoints in detail.
VOTE OF THANKS BY DR. ZAFAR IQBAL CHEEMA
At the end, Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema profoundly thanked the entire august audience present in the house and said that their presence is valuable for the events organized by SVI. He paid special thanks to the Guest Speakers and Discussants for their precious inputs that enlightened the audience. He extended his gratitude towards the research and secretarial staff of the SVI for their hard work and dedication towards the SVI.