NEW YORK: Pakistan has made a strong pitch for the country’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, telling the UN Security Council that Pakistan’s credentials clearly established its eligibility.

Speaking in the Open Debate on Challenges in Addressing Proliferation of WMDs, Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative said that Pakistan has taken exemplary measures to strengthen nuclear safety and security.

In addition, she said that Pakistan has elaborated and implemented a comprehensive export control regime, fully harmonized with those of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Australia Group.

In the 15 member UN body, the Pakistani envoy called for "a criteria-based, non-discriminatory approach to expand the NSG’s membership which strengthens the non-proliferation regime“.

Painting a gloomy picture of the global disarmament landscape, Ambassador Lodhi assailed the NPT nuclear weapons states for failing to fulfill their legal disarmament obligations.

The principal reason for the bleak disarmament outlook is the lack of progress made in this regard which "has negatively impacted on the efficacy of the non-proliferation regime” she said.

Declaring that disarmament and non-proliferation were inextricably linked she said and it was unrealistic to expect progress on one without movement on the other.

Ambassador Lodhi asserted that a key challenge to long-held non-proliferation norms and rules is the grant of discriminatory waivers to some and making exceptions out of power or profit considerations”

The grant of such waivers, the Pakistani envoy said, carries obvious proliferation risks and argued that these ‘special arrangements’ are not only discriminatory and denote nuclear double standards but also open up the possibility of diversion of material intended for peaceful uses to military purposes. “They contravene non-proliferation rules and also undermine regional strategic stability”, she added.

Ambassador Lodhi told the 15-member Council that Pakistan has declared a unilateral moratorium on further nuclear testing and has reiterated its willingness to translate this unilateral moratorium into a bilateral arrangement on non-testing with India.

She also told the Council about the recent steps taken by Pakistan to implement Resolution 1540 and fulfill its non-proliferation obligations that included ratification of the 2005 amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and declaring adherence to NSG Guidelines.

While recognizing the importance of staying one step ahead of non-State actors that seek to kill and maim innocent people by using WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction), Ambassador Lodhi cautioned against making “radical changes” in the 1540 regime that could take us farther rather than closer to our shared objective of addressing proliferation challenges.