Nuclear Disarmament Pakistan

Arsenal Size

  • Estimated stockpile: 140-150 nuclear warheads. Pakistan’s nuclear warheads are believed to be in central storage facilities in the southern part of the country. [1]
     
  • Continues to produce HEU and plutonium for its nuclear weapons program. [2]
     
Key Delivery Systems
  • Nuclear-capable aircraft: U.S.-built and supplied F-16A/B, and French-manufactured Mirage V. Pakistan has likely modified both for nuclear weapons delivery. [3]
     
  • Operational ballistic missiles: short-range Abdali (Hatf-2), Ghaznavi (Hatf-3), Shaheen-I (Hatf-4), and medium-range Ghauri (Hatf-5), Shaheen-II (Hatf-6). The dual-capable Nasr (Hatf-9) is a short-range missile intended for battlefield use. [4]
     
  • Operational cruise missiles: ground-launched Babur (Haft-7) and the air-launched Ra’ad (Haft-8) [5]
     
  • In testing: The Shaheen 1A, a ballistic missile with a range of 900 km and the Shaheen 3 ballistic missile (range: 2750 km) were successfully test launched in December 2015. The Shaheen 3 is designed to “reach Indian islands” so India cannot use them as “strategic bases. [6] The Ghauri-2 (Hatf-5a) missile (range: 1800km) is also under development. The newest medium-range ballistic missile under development, which has been described as capable of carrying multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs), is the Ababeel (range: 2,200km). [7] The Ababel is a three-stage, solid-fueled missile. [8]
     
  • Cruise missiles with an unknown deployment status include the ground-launched Baber-2 (range: 700km) and the sea-based Babur-3 (range: 450km). The air-launched Ra’ad-2 (range: >350km) was revealed in March 2017. [9]
     

Estimated Destructive Power

  • Unknown, likely over two megatons [10]
     

Estimated Military Fissile Material Stockpiles

  • Plutonium stockpile: Estimated 280 kg. [11]
     
  • Weapons-grade HEU: estimated 3.4 ± 0.4 tons [12]
     
  • Estimated to have enough fissile material for more than 200 weapons [13]
     
  • Pakistan is moving away from solely HEU-based weapons to lighter and more compact plutonium core warheads [14]
     
  • Able to produce 150kg of HEU and 12-24kg plutonium each year [15]
     
  • Operates one HEU enrichment facility in Kahuta and a possible second plant at Gadwal. [16]
     
  • Operates heavy water plutonium production reactor complex at Khushab, and plutonium reprocessing plant at the New Laboratories facility of the Pakistan Institute of Science and Technology (PINSTECH). [17]
     

Disarmament and Commitments to Reduce Arsenal Size

Future Commitments
  • Supports negotiation of a non-discriminatory, verifiable Fissile Materials Treaty, but asserts that the treaty should cover existing stocks. [19] Due to the consensus rule governing the Conference on Disarmament, Pakistan has been able to effectively block the start of any negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty and will continue to do so until an agreement to include existing stockpiles is added to the treaty. [20]
     
  • Supports a direct, comprehensive approach to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons and materials within an agreed upon timeframe. [21]
     
  • Attended the three Conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons—Oslo, March 2013; Nayarit, February 2014, and Vienna, December 2014. [22]
     
  • Pakistan joined all other nuclear weapons possessing states in boycotting the 2017 Nuclear Ban Treaty negotiations at the UN General Assembly. [23]
     

Nuclear Weapons Policies


Nuclear Testing Policy
Use of Nuclear Weapons
  • Retains first-use policy against nuclear armed states, but has declared a no-first-use policy against non-nuclear weapon states [27]
     
  • Continues to adhere to the policy of Credible Minimum Deterrence, asserting it will not enter into an arms race with any other country but remaining aware of evolving security dynamics in South Asia. Has stated its intention to maintain a full spectrum deterrence capability to deter all forms of aggression [28]
     
  • Ratified the India-Pakistan Non-Attack Agreement in January 1991 [29]
     
  • Signed the Lahore Agreement in February 1999 [30]
     
  • Nuclear posture seeks to counter military threats, including Indian non-nuclear attacks on Pakistani territory [31]
     

Sources:
[1] Hans M. Kristensen, Robert S. Norris, and Julia Diamond, "Pakistani Nuclear Forces, 2018," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 74, no. 5, 31 August 2018.
[2] "Countries: Pakistan," International Panel on Fissile Materials, 12 February 2013, https://fissilematerials.org.
[3] Paul K. Kerr and Mary Beth Nikitin, "Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons," Congressional Research Service, 1 August 2016, www.fas.org.
[4] Hans M. Kristensen, Robert S. Norris, and Julia Diamond, "Pakistani Nuclear Forces, 2018," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 74, no. 5, 31 August 2018.
[5] Zia Mian, "Pakistan," Assuring Destruction Forever, Reaching Critical Will, March 2012, pp. 51-58, www.reachingcriticalwill.org; "Design Characteristics of Pakistan's Ballistic and Cruise Missiles," Nuclear Threat Initiative, September 2014, www.nti.org.
[6] Paul K. Kerr and Mary Beth Nikitin, "Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons," Congressional Research Service, 1 August 2016, www.fas.org.
[7] Alexander Smith, "Pakistan Test Fires New Shaheen 1A Ballistic Missile," NBC News, 15 December 2015, www.nbcnews.com; "Pakistan Successfully Test-Fires New Shaheen III Missile," Dawn.com, 11 December 2015.
[8] "Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: Pakistan," Arms Control Association, July 2018, www.armscontrol.org.
[9] Hans M. Kristensen, Robert S. Norris, and Julia Diamond, "Pakistani Nuclear Forces, 2018," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 74, no. 5, 31 August 2018.
[10] Original estimates (1.3 megatons) were based on 2009 nuclear arsenal (>60 nuclear weapons) and drawn from Gareth Evans and Yoriko Kawaguchi, "Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policy Makers," Report of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, November 2009, pp. 20, www.icnnd.org. Updating that estimate for an arsenal of roughly 100 nuclear weapons gives a conservative yield of roughly 2.1 megatons, all else held constant.
[11] "Countries: Pakistan," International Panel on Fissile Materials, 12 February 2018, , https://fissilematerials.org.
[12] "Countries: Pakistan," International Panel on Fissile Materials, 12 February 2018, https://fissilematerials.org; Paul K. Kerr and Mary Beth Nikitin, "Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons," Congressional Research Service, 1 August 2016, www.fas.org.
[13] "Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: Pakistan," Arms Control Association, July 2018, www.armscontrol.org.
[14] "Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: Pakistan," Arms Control Association, July 2018, www.armscontrol.org.
[15] "Countries: Pakistan," International Panel on Fissile Materials, 12 February 2018, https://fissilematerials.org.
[16] "Countries: Pakistan," International Panel on Fissile Materials, 12 February 2018, https://fissilematerials.org.
[17] "Countries: Pakistan," International Panel on Fissile Materials, 12 February 2018, https://fissilematerials.org.
[18] See statement of Mr. Elahi, A/C. 1/59/PV.19 General Assembly Fifty-Ninth session First Committee 19th Meeting Thursday, 28 October 2004, accessed through Pakistan Security Research Unit, University of Bradford, https://spaces.brad.ac.uk:8080/display/conf/Home; Marvin Miller and Lawrence Scheinman," Israel, India, and Pakistan: Engaging the Non-NPT States in the Nonproliferation Regime," Arms Control Today, Vol. 33, December 2003, www.armscontrol.org.
[19] General Statement by Pakistan Delegation, “Informal Consultative Meeting by the Chairperson of the High-level FMCT Expert Preparatory Group, 15-16 February 2018, www.un.org.
[20] "Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty," Reaching Critical Will, www.reachingcriticalwill.org; Paul Meyer, "Free the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty: Functionality over Forum," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Web Edition, 19 September 2011, www.thebulletin.org.
[21] Ambassador Zamir Akram, Statement on Nuclear Disarmament at the Plenary Meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, 24 February 2015, www.reachingcriticalwill.org.
[22] Revised List of Participants, "Conference: The Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons," 4-5 March 2013, www.reachingcriticalwill.org; "Registered Participants," Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, 13-14 February 2014, www.reachingcriticalwill.org; Pakistan Statement at The Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, 8-9 December 2014, www.reachingcriticalwill.org.
[23] "Pakistan Joins US-Led Boycott Against UN Meeting to Ban Nuclear Weapons," The Express Tribune (Pakistan), 28 March 2017, www.tribune.com.pk.
[24] "Pakistan Offers India Moratorium on Nuclear Tests," The Express Tribune, 17 August 2016, www.tribune.com.pk.
[25] Jonathan Medalia, "Nuclear Weapons: Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty," Congressional Research Service, 2 June 2005, www.opencrs.com.
[26] Statement by Pakistan at the Eighth CTBT Ministerial Meeting, 21 September 2016, www.ctbto.org.
[27] Qazi M. Khalilullah, General Assembly Sixty-first Session First Committee 21st Meeting Thursday, 26 October 2006, A/C.1/61/PV.21, accessed through Pakistan Security Research Unit, University of Bradford, spaces.ac.uk:8080/display/ssispsru.
[28] Paul K. Kerr and Mary Beth Nikitin, "Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues," Congressional Research Service, 13 January 2011, www.opencrs.com.
[29] India Pakistan Non-Attack Agreement, Nuclear Threat Initiative, www.nti.org.
[30] Lahore Agreement, Nuclear Threat Initiative, www.nti.org.
[31] Hans M. Kristensen, Robert S. Norris, and Julia Diamond, "Pakistani Nuclear Forces, 2018," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 74, no. 5 (August 31, 2018).

January 2, 2019
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The Nuclear Disarmament Resource Collection contains information and analysis of nuclear weapons disarmament proposals and progress worldwide, including detailed coverage of disarmament progress in countries who either possess or host other countries' nuclear weapons on their territories.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2019.