Pakistan demands equal access to Australian uranium after sales to India
Pakistan has demanded it be allowed to buy Australian uranium if the Gillard government proceeds with sales of the nuclear raw material to its nuclear-armed neighbour, India.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials are preparing to negotiate a bilateral nuclear safeguards agreement with their Indian counterparts, after the weekend's ALP conference gave the Gillard government the green light to sell uranium to the rising economic powerhouse.
Pakistani High Commissioner to Australia Abdul Malik Abdullah said the same concession should be made for Pakistan, which like India was not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“If Australia is going to lift the ban on a country which has not signed NPT it is much hoped that will also apply to Pakistan the same way,” he told ABC radio.
Mr Abdullah said Pakistan has not made a request to buy Australian uranium, but this could change in the future.
“In that case we will hope that we will also be treated at par with other non-NPT signatories,” he said.
The ALP conference voted to make an exception for India to its standing policy that Australia only export uranium to non-proliferation treaty suppliers, in recognition that the United States had already done so.
Negotiations with India, to begin in the new year, are likely to take at least 12 months.
Julia Gillard recently called on Pakistan to do more to combat terrorism and extremism, while Defence Minister Stephen Smith yesterday noted Pakistan would have the largest Muslim population by the middle of the century and also had nuclear weapons.
Mr Smith said the Pakistan government and parliament did not publicly support terrorism or extremism, but there was a risk some officials, or former officials, might, hence Australia's call for Pakistan to be more vigilant.
“We don't have rose-coloured glasses about the complexity or the difficulties of Pakistan, but we strongly believe that Australia and the rest of the world needs to engage with Pakistan,” he said.
Nonetheless, Mr Smith has used his powers under the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act to block exports to Pakistan three times in the past two years, acting on intelligence that suggested Australian goods and services might be misused.
In 2010, the minister intervened to block a contract between an Australian company and a Pakistan-based company for the supply of scientific instruments.
For the first time under the Act, Mr Smith's prohibition notice also extended to any training provided to the Pakistan-based company.
This year, Mr Smith has blocked exports of scientific equipment and industrial equipment to Pakistan.
Pakistan is being dealt with under the Act in much the same was as Iran was dealt with before tougher United Nations sanctions were imposed.
India has only come to the attention of the Act once, in 2005, in relation to a planned export of scientific equipment.
These Pakis will never reconcile to the fact that they are not going to be considered on par with the Indians.
After independence, they had dreams of conquering India and establishing Mughal rule again, with them on the throne. Each succeeding generation nurtured the same dream.
And like drug addicts with hallucinations, they still cannot come to terms with the fact that far from any "conquering", they are destined to remain in the shadow of India, a parasitic and begging entity.
I tell you, even if Pakistan devolves into Somalia-like conditions of starvation, their population will continue their prattle of Ghazwa-E-Hind and "conquest of Delhi"
An empty mind is the devils workshop. That is the problem with most Pakistanis. The economic conditions are bad. Television has nothing good to offer. And sex is still considered taboo. What is the young generation going to do? Anyone will be frustrated
I am elated that Pakistan has asked to be treated on an equal footing. In fact Israel and North Korea should also make such demands and the issue should be taken up at the UNSC. That will ensure that the credibility of the NPT is destroyed. The NPT must fail. The 5 nuclear weapons states must also be brought under full IAEA scanner. Every gram of Uranium needs to be accounted for. Thats the only way that proliferation can stop.
Else you will have China & Pakistan covertly supporting programs with many more countries.