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Pakistan's nuclear programme has not only ensured its national security and regional peace but also helped pursue at least 12 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and promote socio-economic development.
Pakistan is one of only 13 countries that are effectively using nuclear technology to meet a variety of their own socio-development needs but are also capable of sharing its nuclear knowledge and expertise with other countries for peaceful purposes.
These thoughts were shared at a webinar titled 'Youm-e-Takbeer 2020' organized by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad to mark the 22nd anniversary of Pakistan's nuclear tests that were conducted on May 28, 1998.
The guest speakers included Dr Naeem Salik, Senior Fellow CISS and former director of ACDA, Strategic Plans Division (SPD), Dr Ansar Pervez, former Chairman, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), and Mr. Kamran Akhtar, Director General, Arms Control & Disarmament (ACDIS), Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Khalid Rahman, Executive President, IPS, chaired the event which was moderated by Syed Muhammad Ali, Senior Research Fellow, IPS.
Other participants included security analyst Brig. Said Nazeer Mohmand (retd), Air Commodore Khalid Iqbal (retd), Cdr Dr Azhar Ahmad (retd), HoD, Humanities & Social Sciences, Bahria University, Islamabad, and IPS Associate and former AJ&K Minister Ms. Farzana Yaqoob.
Kamran Akhtar stated that the huge Indian defence acquisitions and developments in the areas of artificial intelligence, cyber security and space militarization are destabilizing for the region and the international community must exercise care and caution in sharing its advanced nuclear and other related technologies with India which is emerging as an extremist and anti-status quo State.
Dr Ansar Pervez said the nuclear technology was being used for peaceful purposes all over the world in diverse sectors. The nuclear technology, for instance, has allowed Pakistan to develop 100 new crop varieties, which have added Rs 1200 billion to our national exchequer, whereas 800,000 cancer patients are treated every year by hospitals using nuclear radiation.
Dr Naeem Salik said that Pakistan became a nuclear weapon state once its security needs were neither understood not met by the world and its several arms control initiatives were not reciprocated and expectations forsecurity assurances were not met.
Pakistan has a credible minimum deterrence posture which provides Pakistan security without engaging in a costly arms race with India.
Syed Muhammad Ali stressed that Pakistan's strategic restraint must not be seen as a sign of weakness and any type or level of aggression against Pakistan in any domain will be swiftly and effectively responded through a quid pro quo approach. Pakistan's nuclear programme has given security and pride to the nation and confidence to our leadership and diplomats.
Khalid Rahman in his concluding remarks that the unparalleled success of Pakistan's nuclear program is an evidence that whenever the Pakistani nation and its leadership have resolved and consistently pursued any goal with strong commitment, then we can achieve it despite all hurdles and against heavy odds.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020