Pakistan said it will not sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) because it considers it discriminatory.
"It is a discriminatory treaty. Pakistan has the right to defend itself, so Pakistan will not sign the NPT. Why should we?" said Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry on being asked whether Islamabad would sign if Washington asks it to do so, the Dawn reported on Wednesday.
190 states have already signed the treaty, which came into force in 1970. But both of South Asia's nuclear states, India and Pakistan, have stayed out of it.
Pakistan's categorical refusal to sign the treaty is thought to go against the US' desire to promote NPT's compliance. But US officials have avoided public criticism of Pakistan's position on this and other issues.
Although the leader of the US team, Under Secretary of State Rose Eilene Gottemoeller, has made no public statements on the issues being discussed with Pakistan, her earlier statements do underline Washington's careful approach on matters that concern Islamabad.
When a team of the US Arms Control Association asked Gottemoeller how the US could encourage India and Pakistan to contribute to global nuclear disarmament process, she underlined the measures Pakistan had taken to protect its nuclear facilities.
"They have agreed to establish their regional training centre on nuclear security matters as an asset for the International Atomic Energy Agency in the regional context, to provide training courses for regional partners," she said, before describing Pakistan's potential role as "very commendable."
Responding to a question on fissile material production in South Asia, Gottemoeller stressed the need for both India and Pakistan to take further steps to protect their fissile material holdings, as well as controlling and accounting for them.
Chaudhry, when asked to underline the steps Pakistan had taken to protect its nuclear assets, said: "We have established a multi-layer system and a strong command and control system."
He rejected the suggestion that Pakistan should focus on other sources, such as hydro-electric. He said the safest approach was having a mixed bag of energy options, from hydro-electric to nuclear.
He explained that by 2030, Pakistan planned to generate 162,000 MW of electricity and nuclear would only be a small fraction of this total, forecast to amount to just 8,800 MW.