ISLAMABAD   -  Consulting Advisor for policy and outreach to the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBT) Tariq Rauf has observed that future of the CTBT is becoming questionable with every passing year. 

The former Head of Verification and Security Policy Coordination, Office reporting to the Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Tariq Rauf, made these observations during a talk organised by the Pakistan Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad (SSII) on Wednesday. 

He explained that the ratification of the treaty mainly depends on countries’ political decisions, which is the reason the treaty could not enter into force.  

He said that China has not ratified the treaty because the US has not done so. Rauf emphasised that signing and ratifying the treaty is the sole sovereign decision of the states, no international organisation can compel states to become parties to the treaty. He said the CTBT is the barrier to develop nuclear weapons. He said the treaty was negotiated in Geneva and opened for signature in September 1996. Since then, 183 countries have signed the Treaty and 166 countries have ratified it. For entry into force, he explained that 44 states, mentioned in the Annex 2 of CTBT have to ratify the treaty.  He said out of 44 states, all have signed with the exceptions of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), India, and Pakistan. Five of the 44 Annex 2 States have signed but not ratified the CTBT; they are China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, and the United States.  

The United States and China are the only remaining NPT Nuclear Weapon States that have not ratified the CTBT. 

During his presentation, Rauf discussed issues related to Nuclear-Non-proliferation and gave an overview of various types of nuclear weapons.  He said that states test nuclear devices for various reasons including to demonstrate capability, to test new weapons, to provide confidence in reliability of stockpiled weapons, to test effects of nuclear weapons on various types of military equipment and for peaceful purposes for example making excavations etc.  

He emphasised that there is no difference between peaceful nuclear explosions and nuclear weapon tests. Besides banning nuclear tests and explosion everywhere by everyone in the environment, the CTBT also bans peaceful nuclear explosions, he added. 

While closing the talk, Dr Mazari emphasised that CTBT is not a discriminatory treaty. However, Pakistan has not signed the treaty as India is not a signatory to the treaty. She stressed that signing the CTBT is a political and strategic decision at the end of the day. Dr Mazari said that Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence credibility is contingent upon updating the nuclear weapons and on India’s expensive military programme.  

She said that India has the fastest growing nuclear weapon programme in the world and reminded that since the nuclear tests of India and Pakistan in 1998, Islamabad has been suggesting to New Delhi a bilateral/regional arrangement on non-testing of nuclear weapons to which  it has never agreed.