Pakistan’s Membership in the IAEA Board of Governors, A Major Diplomatic Achievement? By Sonia Naz

Pakistan was once again elected as a member of the IAEA Board of Governors (BoG) for the next two years on September 20, 2018. The Board of Governors of the IAEA is one of its policy making organs. The BoG not only examines the financial statements, it also makes recommendations for the IAEA budget. It finalizes the membership applications, accepts safeguard agreements and contributes to the safety standard publications. The approval of the Director General of the IAEA with the approval of General Conference is also the responsibility of the Board. Pakistan has been chosen 19 times to be on the Board in the past and has played an important role in the formulation of the agency’s policies and programmes. It also has the honour of chairing the Board thrice in 1962, 1986 and 2010.
A prominent Pakistani nuclear expert Dr. Naeem Salik in his book ‘Nuclear Pakistan Seeking Security and Stability’ wrote that Pakistan’s cooperation with the agency has been reciprocal. In other words, it not only benefited from the agency but also Pakistan’s nuclear expertise and its human resources proved to be an invaluable contribution to the agency. Pakistani scientists and engineers have contributed to the IAEA’s work in numerous fields including in the area of nuclear safety and security. It also hosted nuclear safety and security workshops with the cooperation of IAEA, on the regional level. Pakistan is a beneficiary of the IAEA assistance and its nuclear establishment is fully committed to increasing this cooperation in various fields ranging from nuclear power development to that of agriculture, medicine and livestock. Pakistan’s Country Program Framework (CPF) 2014-2019, provides assistance in a wide range of areas as nuclear safety and security, nuclear power development, industrial application, human health under the technical cooperation program of the IAEA.
Since the inception of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, it has faced allegations and hostilities which have not been faced by any other nuclear state in the world. Although, the formation of the NSG in 1974, was the result of Indian violation of the peaceful use of nuclear material for military purposes but the irony is that now the founders of NSG are advocating for India for a membership of the NSG. China is the only state which understands that India is not the only country and that Pakistan is also capable of producing highly enriched uranium and plutonium for civil and military purposes and it can easily assist developing states in advancing their nuclear infrastructures and technology. All nuclear power plants of Pakistan are under the IAEA safeguards while the US is showing a bias towards India by letting it keep its eight reactors out of IAEA safeguards that are producing fissile material in large quantities, and intentionally ignoring this.
Since the inception of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, it has faced allegations and hostilities which have not been faced by any other nuclear state in the world. Although, the formation of the NSG in 1974, was the result of Indian violation of the peaceful use of nuclear material for military purposes but the irony is that now the founders of NSG are advocating for India for a membership of the NSG
In this regard, Pakistan advocates a non-discriminatory approach towards the non-NPT nuclear weapons states for their entry into the NSG. Nevertheless, it is the time for Pakistan to fight its case through the IAEA as it is going to formulate policies for IAEA’s future. It should also try to introduce policies which treat all nuclear states equally because discriminatory behaviours and policies undermine the credibility of the non-proliferation regimes.
In a nutshell, Pakistan has been dealing with propaganda regarding its nuclear safety and security and the amount of literature projecting Pakistan’s perspective is inadequate and small. Therefore, it’s imperative that Pakistan projects its perspective concerning its nuclear safety and security. Pakistan has been in full compliance with the regime for over fifty years now. Pakistan’s cooperative and positive behaviour towards the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear technology and non-proliferation regimes requires equal treatment. Keeping in view, the stringent nuclear safety and security record of Pakistan and its advanced nuclear fuel cycle capability, it should be considered eligible to be provided with the nuclear fuel cycle services under the IAEA safeguard. Pakistan can make its membership in BOG a major diplomatic achievement by advocating its perspective with full determination.
The writer is Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute Islamabad. She works in the area of Regional Security, Nuclear Terrorism, Nuclear Security and South Asian Nuclear Politics. She can be reached at nazsonia68@gmail.com
Published in Daily Times, October 18th 2018.
Source: https://dailytimes.com.pk/311383/pakistans-membership-in-the-iaea-board-of-governors-a-major-diplomatic-achievement/

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