Pakistan and the Nuclear Dilemma
The border issue of Pakistan – Afghanistan and the proximity of Taliban itself is a ‘bloody’ turmoil embroiling in the country. The more dangerous threat is derived by the TTP which is operating deep inside Pakistan
April 18, 2023 | Mir Mohsin
India tested its first nuclear bomb in May 1974 under the Op ‘Smiling Buddha’. Since, then Pakistan has tried to overcome India in the nuclear race irrespective of the source and means. Dr. AQ Khan, called as ‘Father of Pakistan’s Atomic Weapon Program’ was the chief architect of the nefarious path taken by this failed state to achieve nuclear capability. Dr A Q Khan stole technology from Urenco; a Netherlands based Company which was the first theft of many to achieve nuclear capability by Pakistan. Pakistan’s mendacious intentions of nuclear power were financially supported by Arab nations as, during the Six-Day war, Pakistan was a steadfast supporter of Arab nations. There was no nuclear technology with the Arab nations in the war; Dr A Q Khan now became the one stop shop for all of them. Many bogus companies were registered, where black money flowed to finance the Pakistani nuclear agenda. Since, the beginning itself the nuclear project of Pakistan was full of lies and unscrupulous elements supported by despot regimes.
In 1998, both Pakistan and India declared themselves as a nuclear nation officially. Pakistan initially portrayed itself as a ‘responsible’ nuclear power and to use nuclear technology only for ‘peaceful purposes’. Pakistan is stubborn on not signing NPT and wants India to sign first. In 2016, during an interview, a Pakistan official made it very clear that, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is “India – specific”, which gives enough reasons to Pakistan, for not signing NPT & CTBT.
In 1980s, when Pakistan had achieved multiple milestones in nuclear race, Dr A Q Khan began his own business enterprise and sold centrifuges, blueprints and other components to Iran. He later approached Iraq, Syria, Libya and expanded his tacit support to North Korea. The cooperation between Pyongyang and Islamabad was accelerated by the visit of Benazir Bhutto to Pyongyang in Dec 1993. It has always been Pakistan who, without any doubt and ethical embargo sold nuclear technology to rogue nations just for financial gains.
The political instability of this de facto military ruled nation needs no emphasis which continues since yesteryears, the latest being the dramatic no- confidence vote against Imran Khan, his ousting from the parliament and establishment of another puppet of the Pakistan Army in the form of Mr. Shehbaz Sharif. Since then, there has been magnifying rise in instability and polarization due to the Khan led opposition movements and series of rallies. The state then, mired Khan into multiple legal cases and going by past precedence, exile or the almighty seem to be the few options left.
As far as the military setup is concerned, Gen Bajwa was replaced by Gen Asim Munir in Nov 2022. Gen Bajwa stepped down from the post by quoting “Army would no longer be involved in political matters”. With impending election and politics about to dominate the agenda this year, it is likely to be another force for the world to observe.
The border issue of Pakistan – Afghanistan and the proximity of Taliban itself is a ‘bloody’ turmoil embroiling in the country. The more dangerous threat is derived by the TTP which is operating deep inside Pakistan. Soon, the state may fail in these areas with nightmares of Jihadis taking over the nuclear arsenal located at Kahuta, a grim reality. The nuclear warheads of Pakistan are manufactured at Kahuta Research Labs (KRL), Islamabad. Multiple bombings & suicide attacks in Islamabad in December 2022 and January 2023 suggest that capital is no longer safe. Control of the nuclear technology is under National Command Authority (NCA), which is notionally controlled by PM and actually by the military.
In Apr 2022, Pakistan’s Army conducted a successful flight test of the surface-to-surface medium-range ballistic missile Shaheen-III, which can strike targets up to 2,750 kms, bringing a number of Indian cities and Israel under its range. As per officials of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the test flight was aimed at “revalidating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system”.
Pakistan must mitigate all the possible threats not just for the world’s sake but mostly for its own. Pakistan is going through worst economic crisis, further compounded by its inability to take any tangible steps. The IMF has released multiple bail-out packages to recuperate Pakistan but these are turning out to be of little or no use. Gen Asim Munir has taken over as Army Chief, who had shown his evil intentions towards India during his tenure as ISI Chief. Pakistan must beef up security of its nuclear installations to avoid any external threat or Jihadist take over, as the current infantry company strength at facilities might not be enough to contain the danger posed by radical elements.
India, as a member of MTCR can raise Pakistan’s nuclear issue in the meetings to generate global & strategic pressure on Pakistan and make it adhere to the guidelines of usage of nuclear technology. Other options for India can be Wassenaar Arrangement & Conference on Disarmament. India has to open discussions regarding intentions of China- Pakistan nuclear nexus to issue public knowledge on the same and proceed for diplomatic actions quickly. All in all, the dilemma of a failed state which is reeling under internal threats, coupled with political instability & needless to say a failed economy is the last nation which should possess a nuclear arsenal which is located in a conflict zone. It would be better for the world if the assets are moved to a safe location outside Pakistan, to once & for all solve the Pakistan Nuclear dilemma.