Dreaming of the hyphen

Dreaming of the hyphen
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First Published: Fri, Jul 25 2008. 12 27 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Jul 25 2008. 12 27 AM IST
Long accustomed to being treated at par with India at international fora, Pakistan finds it difficult to adapt to new realities.
The country has opposed the draft safeguards agreement now under consideration before the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
In an 18 July letter, Pakistan’s representative to IAEA has opposed the draft safeguards agreement. The agreement must be approved by the IAEA board before the US Congress takes a decision on the Indo-US nuclear agreement.
Pakistan has opposed the safeguards agreement on various grounds. It has questioned the hurry in taking a decision on the draft agreement. It has also alleged that the safeguards agreement is “discriminatory” in that it applies to India only, and it fears the agreement will end in making India a nuclear weapons state. Finally, it raises the bogey that letting India get what it wants will give a fillip to nuclear proliferation.
As a member of the IAEA board, Pakistan is entitled to its opinion, however misguided and wrong it may be. The fact is that India is getting access to civilian nuclear technology from the West because it has behaved as an exemplary member of the nuclear club.
Pakistan, however, has been one of the founders of the nuclear black market. What the father of its nuclear programme, A.Q. Khan, did is too well known to be reiterated. But more than that, ever since the rise of militant Islam in the 1990s, Pakistan has been on the suspect list of the comity of nations.
As India paid attention to economic growth and looked inwards, Pakistan allowed the proliferation of terrorist networks on its soil. That, more than anything else, resulted in the breaking of the “hyphen” between India and Pakistan, in how the West viewed the two countries.
At IAEA, Pakistan is suffering from the sour grapes syndrome. It alleges the safeguards agreement with India will promote nuclear proliferation. It wants the agreement to be available to other non-nuclear weapon countries as well. It has no one but itself in mind. Perhaps, it should introspect why it is being denied similar treatment. It might help.
What has caused Pakistan to oppose the safeguards agreement? Write to us at views@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Jul 25 2008. 12 27 AM IST
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