The mooted nuclear deal between Pakistan and the US has been generating a lot of news, even though both parties are yet to officially confirm even if the talks have begun. Yet, The unofficial response from both sides is all the confirmation needed. The deal seeks to limit the scope and number of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal; in exchange Pakistan can expect a civilian nuclear deal similar to the one India got in 2005, and an eventual introduction into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a group of countries that control the trade of nuclear fissile materials. It sounds good on paper, and parity with India on the nuclear issue has long been Pakistan’s demand, but the passage of this deal is fraught with more difficulties that the Iran nuclear deal.

To start off, Pakistani authorities would be unwilling to put restrictions on its nuclear program, which it views as its only defense against India’s mushrooming conventional weaponry. On Thursday, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry, while speaking to a seminar in Islamabad entitled ‘Defence, Deterrence and Stability in South Asia’ said, “Rather than making unrealistic demands on Pakistan to compromise on its core security interests, major powers must consider implications of their actions and policies.” The stance of the civilian representative is clear; the military’s would be even sterner. This is especially true when India signed a nuclear deal with the US without any limitations on nuclear arsenal. Furthermore, Pakistan has been receiving nuclear technology, such as nuclear reactors for power plants, from China already – circumventing the NSG agreement, and reducing Pakistan’s need to be part of it.

Furthermore, the US congress is likely to take a dim view of concessions to Pakistan, especially when it has been press ganged into accepting the Iran deal. Even if it were willing to consider it, the deal is unlikely to be concluded during this president’s tenure, and could be scraped all together by the incumbent. In its current state the deal is unacceptable to both parties, but engagement on this issue might be the first step towards a breakthrough.