By Waleed Tariq:
International co-operation with Pakistan to cope with energy crises will contribute to the economic development which shall not only enhance state’s capability to fulfill the basic needs of the Pakistani society, but will even help to channelise radicals into the mainstream society through economic activity.
With an increasing electricity crisis at home and concerns about his country’s nuclear programme abroad, former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani recently urged the international community to give Pakistan access to civil nuclear technology for peaceful uses on a non-discriminatory basis. Gillani emphasized that nuclear technology was required to meet Pakistan’s growing energy needs.
Pakistan’s participation in the Global Nuclear Safety Summit offered massive opportunity to counter negative propaganda against the country’s nuclear assets and to highlight its perspective on other associated issues.
Pakistan needs more energy. Its population is steadily increasing, having passed almost 180 million. As on a number of other issues, Pakistan’s case for civilian nuclear technology, too, has often gone unheard. With the usual sources for energy generation limited, Pakistan has little choice but to rely increasingly on nuclear energy for meeting its power needs.
The benefits of a civil nuclear technology deal to Pakistan are clear. Perhaps, the most significant help is that it will allow us to strap up nuclear energy in service of our energy woes. The rest of the world, particularly the US, might have some reservations but those could be easily addressed. If Pakistan is so keen on a nuclear deal, the US could propose some conditions that allow them to keep a greater watch on our nuclear activities.
A financially instable country like Pakistan cannot pay for the lavishness of running its power plants continuously on furnace oil provided the fact that the prices of which are continuously on the rise and therefore, its desire for safe, dependable and environment-friendly nuclear power should be understood by the world community. They need to recognize not only the growing energy crises but its linkage to political developments, economic stability as well the security compulsion of Pakistan.
Development depends on energy, and the alternative to development is suffering: poverty, malnutrition, lack of health facilities and poor infrastructure. Such conditions create instability and the potential for violence. National security therefore requires developed nations to help increase energy production in their more populous, developing counterparts. Having established our nuclear safety and security, it is time for the world to accept Pakistan as a legitimate nuclear power.
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