Latest Press Releases/Speeches

Regional Seminar on UN Security Council Resolution 1540, Islamabad
Keynote Address by Honourable Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Foreign Affairs, 14 March 2017

(2017-03-14) Keynote Address by Honourable Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Foreign Affairs 14 March 2017

Distinguished participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me begin by extending a very warm welcome to you all to Islamabad.

I am very pleased with the wide ranging attendance. Broad participation from our immediate neighbours, representatives of international organizations, members of the diplomatic community in Islamabad, our own Ministries and departments, academia and think tanks is reflective of the significance of this seminar and its proceedings.

Advances in various disciplines of science as well as information and telecommunications technology have connected contemporary societies and brought prosperity. There is an ever increasing flow of people, goods and services across borders. Global trade in strategic and dual use goods and materials continues to register growth as well.

Yet, these positives are accompanied by unique challenges of our times. There are risks of biological, chemical and nuclear materials, technologies and weapons getting into the wrong hands, thereby endangering security of us all.

Resolution 1540 has emerged as an important instrument in the global non-proliferation architecture as it seeks to prevent non-state actors from acquiring or using weapons of mass destruction. Pakistan shares the concerns about unauthorized access and use of these weapons. Given the risks and complexity of this threat, cooperative approaches, shared responsibility and an enabling assistance framework is essential.

Pakistan has and will continue to be part of global efforts to make sure that non-state actors do not lay their hands on the materials, goods, technologies and equipment relevant to weapons of mass destruction. This seminar is yet another demonstration of our abiding commitment to the promotion of non-proliferation goals and international security. I therefore see the seminar as a catalyst to our joint endeavours.

Distinguished participants,

This is the first regional seminar after the comprehensive review of implementation of resolution 1540 and the adoption of resolution 2325 in December 2016.

1540 and its successor resolutions have laid out a series of measures whereby States have the primary responsibility to enact and implement them. Over the past thirteen years, most but not all states have undertaken the legal and regulatory measures. However, the enforcement area remains a work in progress.

The comprehensive review has inter alia drawn attention to at least three broad areas for reflection and deliberations among member states. First, the potential for misuse arising from rapid advances in science, technology and international commerce. Second, developing a better understanding about specific needs and circumstances of States insofar as implementation of the resolution is concerned. Third, the critical role of assistance in enabling a large number of states to fulfill their obligations.

Over the years, the 1540 Committee and its Group of Experts have done a great deal for raising awareness, conducting extensive outreach and assisting countries with developing national implementation plans. This has been a worthwhile and useful undertaking.

Going forward, the Committee and its experts would need to explore ways beyond the current clearinghouse role to that of broadening, channelizing and facilitating assistance especially to developing countries. As the comprehensive review proceedings pointed out, the Committee needs to explore ways of mobilizing technical assistance and capacity building for countries that need it for implementation of their 1540 obligations. International organizations can also play an important role in providing assistance through stand-alone or joint projects.

I am glad that this seminar has dedicated a session on assistance as a key enabler for effective implementation of the resolution. I hope during the course of two days, you will utilize this opportunity to share ideas and evolve options for enhancing the scope and volume of resolution 1540 related assistance.

Distinguished participants,

Let me now share with you some of the major steps that Pakistan has taken over the years in terms of WMD control measures, the expertise that it has acquired and areas where Pakistan can assist in capacity building.

Pakistan remains committed not to transfer or assist states and non-state actors in acquiring weapons of mass destruction. As part of this abiding commitment, we have instituted a wide ranging export control regime encompassing a broad spectrum of control measures in the chemical, biological and nuclear areas including the means of their delivery.

Our export controls are fully harmonized with those of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Australia Group. In order to give effect to these measures, a well functioning Strategic Export Control Division (SECDIV) and an inter-agency Oversight Board to oversee the work of the Division are in place for a decade.

The SECDIV has developed a comprehensive licensing regime, put together several implementing regulations, periodically updated control lists, conducted outreach and awareness as well as promoted internal compliance measures. The Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority has developed several regulations, guidelines and training programmes in the field of nuclear and radioactive safety and security.

Similarly, our National Authority has taken similar steps pursuant to implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as chemical safety and security.

Pakistan accords the highest priority to ensuring a fool-proof safety and security mechanism in chemical, biological and nuclear areas. Over the years, we have put in place extensive physical protection measures, robust Command and Control structures, and elaborate ranging regulatory regimes.

Our regulatory regime includes physical protection of materials and facilities, material control and accounting, transport security, prevention of illicit trafficking and border controls. We have also developed technical solutions, Personnel Reliability Programmes (PRP), and intelligence capabilities relevant to WMDs.

Pakistan has implemented a Nuclear Security Action Plan in cooperation with the IAEA which has been termed a model for other states. We are also participating in the IAEA's Incident and Trafficking Database. We are focused specially on capacity building and interaction with the international community particularly the IAEA. We are in the process of deploying Special Nuclear Material (SNM) Portals at key entry/exit points to detect, deter and prevent illicit trafficking of radioactive materials.

Pakistan has also established a purpose-raised stand alone, specially trained and equipped nuclear security force with land, air, and sea-borne components, supported by dedicated intelligence and early warning system.

We have acquired considerable experience in the field of nuclear security. We have established a Centre of Excellence for Training which conducts specialized courses in nuclear security, physical protection and personnel reliability. We have offered this Centre as a regional and international hub for training.

Pakistan has been working with, and reporting regularly to the 1540 Committee. We have submitted four national reports. I am pleased to note that our fifth report on 1540 implementation would be filed in the near future.

I am sure you will hear more details during the seminar on these measures. I do hope that participants of this seminar, both our guests from abroad and representatives from our national departments, will deliberate on national implementation efforts, identify opportunities for collaboration and share best practices.

I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate Pakistanís readiness to provide training and capacity building in the areas of nuclear security, nuclear safety, export controls, physical protection, commodity identification to interested countries in South and Central Asia.

Distinguished participants,

Pakistan has been and will continue to be an active participant of and contributor to the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) process, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and its Implementation and Assessment Group. Pakistan has recently ratified the 2005 amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and declared adherence to NSG Guidelines. These engagements and steps are indicative of our active partnership with the international community to contribute towards advancement of international security.

Even as control measures are essential to mitigate risks associated with WMDs, it is equally important to be mindful of the legitimate developmental needs and requirements of developing countries to benefit from the peaceful uses of strategic materials, goods, technologies and equipment, under appropriate safeguards. Maintaining a balance between security concerns and peaceful uses of strategic as well as dual use materials and technologies is therefore vital.

All states including those from the developing world which posses advanced capabilities should have an equal opportunity to participate in and contribute to the export control governance architecture.

Pakistan has the requisite credentials and expertise to be part of the international export control bodies and has therefore, as a first step, sought membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). As the NSG deliberates on the legal, technical and political aspects of membership of non-NPT countries, it must establish and adhere to a transparent, objective and non-discriminatory criteria that ensures equal treatment of non-NPT applicants for the Groupsí membership.

I wish you an enriching experience and a pleasant stay in Islamabad.

Thank you