EVEN though North Korea and Iran dominated the two-day nuclear safety summit that concluded in Seoul on Tuesday with a call for combating nuclear terrorism, Pakistan chose the right forum for making a case for international help for acquiring nuclear technology for civilian use.
As on a number of other issues, Pakistan’s case for civilian nuclear technology, too, has often gone unheard. With the conventional sources for energy generation limited, Pakistan has little choice but to rely increasingly on nuclear energy for meeting the power needs of its growing population.
However, there is no evidence that the international community is keen to examine Pakistan’s case. This was felt more acutely by Islamabad after Washington signed a comprehensive civil nuclear deal with New Delhi some years ago, raising fears that India could divert part of its expanded nuclear potential to military use.
Nevertheless, policymakers in Pakistan should understand why the atomic powers are reluctant to come forward. The country’s leading nuclear scientist admitted to being involved in nuclear proliferation. But even though Pakistan has taken stringent steps to break from the past, the A Q Khan affair still seems to haunt sections of the nuclear suppliers.
Nevertheless, Islamabad must continue to reassure the international community on this score if it wants world powers to help it increase the share of nuclear energy in power generation inside Pakistan.