Making a push for a civil nuclear deal similar to the one inked between India and the United States, the Pakistan Prime Minister on Wednesday said his country "fully qualifies" for it as it has put in place effective security and non-proliferation measures.
A "well established, foolproof safety and security culture fully qualifies Pakistan for equal participation in civil nuclear cooperation at the international level, which would help us in addressing our immediate energy problems and would bring greater stability as well," Yousuf Raza Gilani said.
Chairing a special meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security this afternoon, he said, "The objectives of nuclear non-proliferation, safety and security can only be served and promoted through a non-discriminatory paradigm for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy."
Gilani said that his government considers nuclear safety, security and safeguards as "vehicles for facilitating international civil nuclear cooperation".
Pakistan, as a nuclear state, was cognisant of its responsibilities and had "developed effective nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation measures underpinned by extensive legislative, regulatory and administrative framework", he underlined.
The country has over 35 years of experience in successfully operating nuclear power plants and highly trained manpower, the PPP leader said.
"Nuclear power generation offers viable solutions for energy security and addressing the challenge of climate change," he added.
As the premier is the chairman of the National Command Authority, the body that controls the nuclear arsenal, the government "fully accepts the responsibility of nuclear security," Gilani said.
Describing Pakistan as a democratic, progressive and peaceful country, Gilani said, "Our socio-economic development hinges on our ability to meet rapidly expanding energy requirements...We need to explore all options to ensure a reliable energy mix and civil nuclear power generation is therefore an essential part of our national energy security strategy."
Pakistan has been pushing the US and other western countries to grant it a special dispensation for civil nuclear cooperation similar to the one given to India.
Pakistan's civil and military leadership raised the issue during the recent strategic dialogue with US. For the first time, the US administration did not reject Pakistan's demand outright though Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said a civil nuclear deal similar to the one for India does not happen "easily or quickly".
During his address, Gilani also said his government would take all political parties into confidence on all national policies, particularly policies on defence, Kashmir and nuclear issues.
Lt Gen (retired) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, Director General of the Special Plans Division, briefed the parliamentary panel on Pakistan's nuclear programme and the security of nuclear assets.
He contended Pakistan has one of the best systems of safety and security of nuclear assets and technology both on the defence and civilian side.
Pakistan's Ambassador to China Masood Khan, who participated in preliminary deliberations of the forthcoming Nuclear Summit in Washington, apprised the committee on the objectives of the meeting and Islamabad's preparations to positively contribute to the deliberations.
The US has already made public its objectives, which are a manifestation of President Barack Obama's three-point strategy for non-proliferation of nuclear technology in the interest of global security, Khan said.
Members of the parliament committee assured Gilani of the complete support of their parties and expressed confidence that he would put across Pakistan's viewpoint forcefully.
The members also gave suggestions on various aspects of the summit.
The meeting was also attended by Gen Tariq Majid, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir.