[JURIST] The government of Pakistan [JURIST news archive] has reiterated its refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) [PDF text] in the wake of its latest test of a nuclear-capable missile, saying that nuclear arms are vital to a stable balance of power, according to Tuesday reports. Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs [official website] spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said that India - Pakistan's bitter adversary since partition of the subcontinent in 1949 - had rebuffed numerous appeals to sign the treaty, and that Pakistan was not obligated to become a party since India refused. She added that Pakistan's nuclear program was intended as deterrence against attack, and cited this as the primary reason that the country had begun conducting nuclear tests in 1998 after India tested its own nuclear bomb. She did, however, support a suggestion by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency [official website] that the NPT should be adjusted to take into account "ground realities."
Pakistan test-fired its new air-launched Hatf-8 "Ra'ad" (in Arabic, "Thunder") cruise missile Saturday. The nuclear-capable missile has a range of some 350 miles. ANI has more.