Seasonal campaign against Pakistan nukes begins
Abdul Zahoor Khan Marwat
Recently, we have seen several campaigns against Pakistani institutions in the western media, especially the armed forces. Now, it seems the season to target the Pakistani nuclear programme has also begun. First, we read that the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) believes that Pakistanís growing nuclear weapons arsenal is at a greater risk due to the emergence of powerful militant groups in countryís security services.
Charles Blair of FAS Terrorism Analysis Project in a highly controversial report claimed the militantsí threat is obviously growing. However, he was contradicted by George Perkovich of Carnegie Endowment of International Peace, who admitted that Pakistanís nuclear weapons are the safest and most secure things in Pakistan. Then came a purported letter from a North Korean official claiming that Pakistan supported North Korea in its nuclear programme for money. The letter is obviously a fake and is a crude attempt to malign Pakistan and question the safety and integrity of Pak nukes.
Five aspects of the nuclear programme should be taken into consideration by the world at large.
First, Pakistanís nuclear programme is an asset for the country and a matter of life and death with regard to the countryís security. It is not for sale or transfer to any country. It is purely an indigenous programme despite allegations to the contrary.
Second, Pakistani security establishment, government and policymakers fully realise the importance of the programme and understand its criticality for countryís defence. International sensitivities in this regard are clear to them.
Third, Pakistan has adopted several measures to safeguard the nuclear components. The measures are most advanced, highly sophisticated and foolproof in all respects. In this regard, the country has spent a considerable amount. During Gen Musharrafís rule, Americans had made several offers to provide security systems for Pakistanís nuclear weapons.
However, the Strategic Plans Division restricted the US role to training only. According to reports, Pakistan exercised its right to pick and choose from the checklist offered by the US.
Fourth, there are no hostile militant groups in Pakistan armed forces. Presence of one or two elements among thousands is detected and taken care of. It is foolish to believe that non-state actors or militants can take over fissile material.
Fifth, the Americans or for that matter the Indians should understand that any attempt that endangers Pak nuclear assets would bring about an unprecedented reaction from the countryís armed forces and the public. Any miscalculated move by any detractor will not only doom the invader but could also become the main cause of the start of Third World War.
Meanwhile, recently the Iranian president stated that the US was planning to destroy Pakistanís nuclear assets and he had some evidence in this regard. Similarly, Sudanese Vice President reportedly stated that as per political leader Jalauddin Abdul Majid al-Karim, the US is eyeing Pakistanís nuclear assets with a view to destroy these assets. Such shocking assertions from top Muslim leaders, no matter how opinionated or partisan these may be, cannot be overlooked.