Washington, Jun 3 (IANS): Pakistan said it will not sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) because it considers it discriminatory.
"It is a discriminatory treaty. Pakistan has the right to defend itself, so Pakistan will not sign the NPT. Why should we?" said Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry on being asked whether Islamabad would sign the NPT if Washington asks it to do so, reported Dawn on Wednesday.
Already, 190 states have signed the treaty, which came into force in 1970. But South Asia's both nuclear states, India and Pakistan, have stayed out of it.
Apparently, Pakistan's categorical refusal to sign the treaty goes against the US desire to promote NPT's compliance. But US officials have avoided criticising in public Pakistan's position on this and other issues.
Although the leader of the US team, Under Secretary of State Rose Eilene Gottemoeller, has issued no public statements on the issues being discussed with Pakistan, her earlier statements do underline Washington's careful approach on the issues that concern Islamabad.
When a team of the US Arms Control Association asked Gottemoeller how could the US encourage India and Pakistan to contribute to global nuclear disarmament process, she underlined the measures Pakistan had taken to protect its nuclear facilities.
"They have agreed to establish their regional training centre on nuclear security matters as an asset for the International Atomic Energy Agency in the regional context, to provide training courses for regional partners," she said.
"They can and they will play a role of that kind, and I think that's very good, that's very commendable."
Responding to a question on fissile material production in South Asia, Gottemoeller stressed the need for both India and Pakistan to take further steps to protect their fissile material holdings, as well as controlling and accounting for them.
Chaudhry, when asked to underline the steps Pakistan had taken to protect its nuclear assets, said: "We have established a multi-layer system and a strong command and control system."
Chaudhry rejected the suggestion that Pakistan should focus on other sources, such as hydel. He said the safest approach was having a mixed bag of energy options, from hydel to nuclear.
He explained that by 2030, Pakistan planned to generate 162,000 MW of electricity and nuclear would only be a small fraction of this total, 8,800 MW.