A civilian nuclear power agreement would play an important role in Pakistan, and not simply by easing the energy crisis. Additionally, building energy capacity would do much to stabilize the government and provide greater security for Pakistan and its nuclear weapons.
Representatives of the government are in Washington, DC this week discussing nuclear issues with other nations at the Nuclear Security Summit. In addition to the much discussed conversations about nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, civilian nuclear power agreements are also under discussion.
Dawn reports on the efforts by Pakistan’s representatives in Washington:
Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani is heading the Pakistani delegation at the two-day summit.
“We urge all relevant forums to give Pakistan access to nuclear technology for peaceful uses, in a non-discriminatory manner, to meet its growing demand for energy,” the country informed the summit, being attended by top leaders of some 47 countries.
The statement expressed Pakistan’s support for the renewed international interest in nuclear power generation to meet the challenge of climate change.
“As a country with advanced fuel cycle capability, Pakistan is in a position to provide nuclear fuel cycle services under IAEA safeguards, and to participate in any non-discriminatory nuclear fuel cycle assurance mechanism.”
Pakistan is already a nuclear power, so arguments against providing a civilian nuclear power deal do not make much sense. The American President Barack Obama has already said that he is not worried about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets. But some analysts have said that concerns about Pakistan and nuclear proliferation center more on the stability of the democratic government.
Rather than being an argument against a civilian nuclear agreement, though, the stability of the government should be an argument for such a deal. Please allow me to explain.
First, one of the major problems facing the government is the energy crisis. Providing a solution to this problem would do away with a key complaint by the people and help assure the stability of the democratic government.
Second, a civilian nuclear program would result in a much needed economic boost. From the construction, maintenance, and oversight of the nuclear power plants to the increased capacity for industrial production in other economic sectors, Pakistan would see a significant increase in economic opportunity across all parts of society.
Third, the increased oversight that would be required to be in compliance with international treaties and policies for nuclear power would make it even more difficult for militants with bad intentions to gain access to nuclear material.
A civilian nuclear agreement would make Pakistan more stable, more prosperous, and more secure. Any way you look at it, a civilian nuclear agreement would be a net positive, both for Pakistan and the world.