Washington: The Nuclear Security Summit gets underway in Washington and Pakistan is in the focus of the world.
Pakistan is critical to the theme of US President Barack Obama's Nuclear Security Summit - to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists.
Pakistani PM Yousuf Raza Gilani will on Tuesday address the summit and spell out Pakistan's nuclear policy to the world.
The nuclear armed country's first civilian Prime Minister, in more than a decade, is taking on a mammoth challenge to raise the international community's confidence in Pakistan's ability to protect its nuclear assets.
"When you think about the possible intersection of terrorism and nuclear weapons obviously Pakistan is a country that comes to mind," said Lisa Curtis, South Asia expert, The Heritage Foundation.
And then there' s the 2003 revelations of the selling of nuclear technology by the father of its nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan.
"Perhaps secretly we have had access to A Q Khan but officially we have never been able to even question him and that grates," said Ivan Oelrich, Vice President, Strategic Security Program, Federation of American Scientists.
With Washington dependent on the Pakistani military to support it in the war in Afghanistan, an emboldened Pakistan has demanded a nuclear deal along the lines of the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement.
"Obviously, if Pakistan's cooperation is needed then Pakistan cannot at the same time be the victim, the target and at the same time a partner. People have to acknowledge the positive things that Pakistan has done and only then they can afford to have Pakistan's full and unqualified cooperation," said Brig. Naeem Salik, Former Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs, SPD, Pakistan.
Despite all the rhetoric of a new strategic partnership between Islamabad and Washington, the much coveted prize of a civilian nuclear deal seems rather unlikely, but when PM Gilani takes the podium at the Nuclear Summit today he will have the world's attention.
Story first published:
April 13, 2010 23:05 IST