CTBTO visit to Pakistan

A CTBTO team travelled to Pakistan in May 2018 to meet with senior officials from the Arms Control and International Security Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to take part in the University of Lahore’s International Conference on Threats to Security in the 21st Century: Finding a Global Way Forward. Discussions were also held with representatives of civil society organizations.

While consultations with senior government officials have occurred in the past, including at high level, it is the first time that such meetings are held in Pakistan on an official basis.

Pakistan is one of the eight Annex 2 States whose ratification is required for the Treaty to enter into force. Ratifications are also still needed from China, Egypt, Israel, Iran, and the U.S.A. all of whom have signed the CTBT, as well as India and North Korea who, like Pakistan, have not yet signed.

Despite not having signed the CTBT, Pakistan has consistently demonstrated support for the Treaty and the work of the CTBTO by engaging in a positive dialogue with the Organization. This readiness to interact at all levels is facilitated by the country’s observer status in the CTBTO’s plenary body of States Signatories: the Preparatory Commission (PrepCom), which allows Pakistan representatives to attend meetings of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies, without the right to participate in the decision making process.

Pakistan’s proactive approach towards the strengthening of regional non-proliferation and disarmament has included the proposed establishment of a bilateral moratorium on nuclear testing with India. CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo points out that “joining the CTBT would be a constructive step in this regard – not least by building much-needed confidence in South-East Asia while reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to a nuclear-test-free world.”

 
This engagement has also set a favourable backdrop for the establishment of the two monitoring stations to be hosted by Pakistan in accordance with the Treaty, and for progress in regional coverage by the CTBT’s International Monitoring System. Pakistan’s keen interest in the CTBT’s verification technologies has been reflected in the country’s participation in CTBTO courses and academic fora, as well as in Science and Technology Conferences over the years.