Pakistan is ready to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), along with five other “have” states. However, not signing it wouldn’t make a difference to the country’s nuclear programme, according to Dr. Ansar Parvez, chairperson, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).

Speaking at an international seminar on nuclear non-proliferation organised by the Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung on Tuesday, Dr. Parvez asked, though India’s agreement with the U.S. came with driving force which was commercial, how many plants have been set up in India? He added that you must have a deep relationship with the people with whom you collaborate and they must stick to you in times of need.

Responding to questions, he said that a possible Pakistan-U.S. nuclear deal was more of a foreign office concern but he did not see that coming.

Earlier, there was a heated discussion after Dr. Peter R. Lavoy, former U.S. assistant secretary for defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs and Mark Fitzpatrick, author of a new book on Pakistan’s nuclear programme, spoke about the perceptions regarding nuclear safety inPakistan. Speakers also felt Pakistan was facing nuclear apartheid and India would change its stand on no first use of nuclear weapons if a Bharatiya Janata Party government came to power. There was also a feeling that India had refused to engage meaningfully with Pakistan on the nuclear issue among other issues.

Mr. Lavoy said it was the right time for a nuclear deal between the U.S. and Pakistan but it would not be easy since the single most troubling concern in the U.S. was Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. There were also fears that Pakistan may once again resort to using militant or non-state actors for its foreign policy objectives in India and Afghanistan, apart from fears of proliferation of nuclear material.