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Pakistan categorically refuses to sign Non-Proliferation Treaty

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Washington: Pakistan said it will not sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) because it considers it discriminatory.

“It is a discriminatory treaty. Pakistan has the right to defend itself, so Pakistan will not sign the NPT. Why should we?” said Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry on being asked whether Islamabad would sign the NPT if Washington asks it to do so, reported Dawn on Wednesday.

Already, 190 states have signed the treaty, which came into force in 1970. But South Asia’s both nuclear states, India and Pakistan, have stayed out of it.

Apparently, Pakistan’s categorical refusal to sign the treaty goes against the US desire to promote NPT’s compliance. But US officials have avoided criticizing in public Pakistan’s position on this and other issues.

Although the leader of the US team, Under Secretary of State Rose Eilene Gottemoeller, has issued no public statements on the issues being discussed with Pakistan, her earlier statements do underline Washington’s careful approach on the issues that concern Islamabad.

When a team of the US Arms Control Association asked Gottemoeller how could the US encourage India and Pakistan to contribute to global nuclear disarmament process, she underlined the measures Pakistan had taken to protect its nuclear facilities.

“They have agreed to establish their regional training centre on nuclear security matters as an asset for the International Atomic Energy Agency in the regional context, to provide training courses for regional partners,” she said.

“They can and they will play a role of that kind, and I think that’s very good, that’s very commendable.”

Responding to a question on fissile material production in South Asia, Gottemoeller stressed the need for both India and Pakistan to take further steps to protect their fissile material holdings, as well as controlling and accounting for them.

Chaudhry, when asked to underline the steps Pakistan had taken to protect its nuclear assets, said, “We have established a multi-layer system and a strong command and control system.”

Chaudhry rejected the suggestion that Pakistan should focus on other sources, such as hydel. He said the safest approach was having a mixed bag of energy options, from hydel to nuclear.

He explained that by 2030, Pakistan planned to generate 162,000 MW of electricity and nuclear would only be a small fraction of this total, 8,800 MW.

-IANS

 

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Women of Pakistan Protest Against Workplace Harassment, Child Marriage

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded "the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country"

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Following this, a National Security Committee was also held to discuss Sharif's
Pakistan Flag, wikimedia commons

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, women took to the streets across Pakistan on Friday to protest against sexual harassment in the workplace, child marriage ‘honour killings, wage inequalities and limited political representation.

Organisers hope that the “aurat march” (women’s march) and “aurat azadi march” (women’s liberation march) will draw attention to the struggle for reproductive, economic, and social justice across in Pakistan, reports the Guardian.

The first “Aurat March” was held last year in Karachi; this time, the rally has been extended to more cities, including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Larkana and Hyderabad.

The aim is to reach ordinary women in factories, homes and offices, says Nighat Dad, an “aurat march” organiser in Lahore.

“We want an organic movement by women demanding equal access to justice and ending discrimination of all kinds.”

Speakers at the Lahore march ranged from a woman fighting to reform marriage laws to the women who worked on the landmark Punjab Domestic Workers’ Act — a legislation that outlaws child labour in homes and provides maternity benefits to workers.

Another activist, Leena Ghani, noted that Pakistani women have a history of taking to the streets, famously during military dictator Zia ul-Haq’s martial law in the 1980s.

Krishna Kumari works in her office in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Feb. 12, 2018. VOA

While Pakistan has made major strides towards gender equality, poorer, marginalised women and transgender citizens continue to struggle, Ghani added.

Designer Shehzil Malik created a series of striking posters for the “aurat march” that counter typical representations of Pakistani women as docile and subservient.

Women are also protesting against discriminatory policies in universities, where male and female students are afforded different levels of freedom, the Guardian said.

A Pakistani university recently caused a furore on social media by banning women from wearing skinny jeans and sleeveless shirts.

Also Read- Originality is a Dichotomous Terminology, Says Megastar Amitabh Bachchan

In his message on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed his government’s commitment to providing women a safe environment so that they could contribute to the country’s development, Dawn news reported.

“We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring women a secure and enabling environment to play their rightful role in our nation’s development.”

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded “the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country”. (IANS)