ISLAMABAD - Pakistan does not consider itself bound by any of the obligations enshrined in the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty - endorsed by 122 countries at the United Nations headquarters in New York last month, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said in a statement that the treaty neither formed a part of, nor contributed to the development of customary international law in any manner.

“Pakistan reaffirms its commitment to nuclear disarmament in a way that promotes peace, security and stability at the regional and global levels,” he added.

Last month, the treaty was endorsed by 122 countries at the United Nations headquarters in New York in a bid to eliminate the nuclear weapons. The Netherlands, which itself is not a nuclear power but has US nukes on its territory, voted against the treaty. No nuclear power, participated in the negotiations.

The US was the most vocal critic. It pointed to the escalation of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme as a reason to retain the nukes. The UK supports multilateral disarmament but still skipped the discussions.

The 10-page treaty will be open for signatures in the UN on September 20th during the annual general assembly. The previous UN treaties remained effective even without the signatures by key nations. The US did not sign the landmines treaty in 2014, but has been complying.

The signatory of the treaty must agree not to develop, test, manufacture or possess nuclear weapons, or threaten to use them, or allow any nuclear arms to be stationed on their territory.

Zakaria said Pakistan was committed to the goal of a nuclear weapons free world through the conclusion of a universal, verifiable and non-discriminatory, comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons.

“The Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament, the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating body, remains the most ideal forum for concluding such a convention,” he added.

The spokesperson said the United Nations General Assembly, at its first special session devoted to nuclear disarmament in 1978, had agreed by consensus that in the adoption of disarmament measures, the right of each state to security should be kept in mind, and at each stage of the disarmament process the objective would be undiminished security for all states at the lowest possible level of armaments and military forces.

“Pakistan believes that this cardinal objective can only be achieved as a cooperative and universally agreed undertaking, through a consensus-based process involving all the relevant stakeholders, which results in equal and undiminished, if not increased security for all States. It is indispensable for any initiative on nuclear disarmament to take into account the vital security considerations of each and every State,” he said.

Zakaria said the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by a vote on July 7, 2017 in New York, did not fulfil these essential conditions – both in terms of process and substance.

“Treaties that do not fully take on board the interests of all stakeholders fail to achieve their objectives. Pakistan, therefore, like all the other nuclear-armed states, did not take part in its negotiation and cannot become a party to this treaty,” he added.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Pakistan rejected the allegation that Pakistan military’s Operation Khyber-IV was meant to push militants into Afghanistan.

Reacting to the statement attributed to the governor of the Afghan province of Kunar, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria underlined that such statements were contrary to the spirit and understanding arrived at during recent engagements at the leadership level of the two countries.

“Such media headlines are misleading and part of the malicious campaign,” he contended.

Khyber-IV, he said, was part of the ongoing counter-terrorism Operation Raddul Fasaad. “Our security forces have achieved success in fighting back terrorists. The political leadership of the two countries had agreed that the two sides would coordinate and cooperate in their action to eradicate the menace of terrorism, which is a common challenge,” Zakaria said.

He added: “The Afghan Defence authorities were accordingly informed about Operation Khyber-IV. Terrorists fleeing military action were to be dealt with by Afghan security forces. So far we have received no support from Afghanistan in Operation Khyber-IV.”

The spokesperson said effective border management was imperative to curb cross-border movement of terrorists.

“Border management measures would facilitate movement of people, trade, and transit and would be instrumental in curtailing the activities of terrorists, drug and human smugglers and other undesired elements,” he maintained.