As North Korea issues increasingly over-the-top threats, officials in Washington have sought to reassure the public and U.S. allies. But the risk of nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula is far from remote–and the United States should adjust its military planning accordingly. ….
ISLAMABAD – Nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has said that Pakistan has the capability to shoot down unmanned surveillance drone aircrafts, adding that the country was facing internal threats rather than external. Talking to a private TV channel on Monday he said that they had built missile in Kahuta some 15 years ago which have the capability to shoot down drones. Dr Khan said the army has taken oath for the security of borders but what is the use of oath if violation of border continues. “Ziaul Haq was a dictator but he was a patriotic ruler… the current rulers are corrupt and robbers,” he said. Dr Khan said, “Pakistan’s defence looks very impenetrable externally, but it is vulnerable internally due to the internal situation of the country. We were hoping that the nation would focus on progress, education and industrial advancement but rulers have plundered the public property for many years.” “Even having nuclear capability, it is a wrong perception that we can not take action against the United States, England or France because we have accumulated nuclear system against India,” he said.
Courtesy: Pakistan Today
“Pakistan should provide Nuclear Shield for Makkah and Madina” Ameer e Muhtaram Prof. Hafiz Saeed (May ALLAH protect him)
By: Jamat’ud’Da’wah (OFFICIAL)
Ameer-e-Muhtaram’s Message for 14th Youm-e-Takbeer Day, when Pakistan became the only nuclear Power in muslim world. “Pakistan should thank ALLAH for this capability that has strengthened its defenses against enemies. Today again Pakistan is facing threats due to blocking NATO supplies, but we would like to tell the government, not fear any sanctions, instead strengthen its feet in order to protect the freedom. World imposed sanctions against us in 1998 still we survived, the intellectuals who entice fear of sanctions for Nato supplies should take this day as an example. Strong Pakistan is the key for Afghanistan’s and Kashmir’s problem
No place is more sacred for a muslim than Makkah and Madinah, given the emerging threats from US, there should be no compromise on securing the holy places. Pakistan is bound to safeguard and protect Harmain since it is blessed with this capability and created in the name of Islam. We must not forget that ALLAH has promised to protect these places and it will be an honor for Pakistan to be part of that protection” Insha’allah.
Americans are wringing their hands about the grave threat that a nuclear Iran would pose to the United States. But the numbers tell a different story.
BY: VICTOR ASAL AND BRYAN EARLY
As a contentious new round of high-stakes nuclear talks between Iran and world powers wraps up in Baghdad, it is important to think critically about how much of a threat Iran poses to the United States. According to former senator Rick Santorum, for example, a nuclear Iran would have “carte blanche to spread a reign of terror around not just the Middle East, but here in America … [and] across Western civilization.” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has argued that “if the Iranians are permitted to get the bomb, the consequences will be as uncontrollable as they are horrendous.” Several leading U.S. senators penned an op-ed in March stating that “the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is a threat to the entire world, including particularly the U.S.”
It is not just politicians who hold these views. A recent CNN poll revealed that more than three-quarters of the American public sees Iran and North Korea as “serious” threats while only 44 percent feels the same way about Russia. Indeed, fear of the Iranian threat in the United States is more widespread today than fear of the Soviet threat was in 1985, even though at that time the Soviet Union possessed the largest nuclear arsenal in the world and today Iran doesn’t have a single nuclear weapon.
Which raises an obvious question: Does the dominant perception of the Iranian threat actually square with reality? To answer that question, we designed the Nuclear Annihilation Threat (NAT) Index — a way of systematically and empirically assessing the existential threat that nuclear-weapon states (NWSs), and potential nuclear-weapon states, pose to one another. What we found is striking: Although Israel is right to see Iran as an existential danger, the United States has blown the Iranian threat to itself all out of proportion — and Iran is unlikely to find existential security in a nuclear weapon. In addition, both Israel and the United States should be focusing much more aggressively on the threat posed by Pakistan.
Unlike any other weapon, nuclear weapons can jeopardize a nation’s very existence. We use the term “existential threat” to denote the capability of one state to completely annihilate another. In concrete terms, a nuclear attack on one U.S. city would be catastrophic, but it would not destroy the United States. A similar nuclear attack on Tel Aviv, on the other hand, would potentially kill 42 percent of the Israeli population and most likely spell the end of the Jewish state. By focusing exclusively on existential dangers, we seek to understand how nuclear weapons affect the core survival motivations that drive states’ behavior. While this may be a narrow perspective, we think that isolating this unique characteristic of nuclear weapons yields important insights.
Our NAT Index is a relational metric that draws on four factors in determining the existential threats that nuclear-armed countries pose to one another: 1) the potential damage a country’s nuclear arsenal could cause to a target’s population; 2) the ability of a country to strike a target with ballistic missiles; 3) the presence of a strategic rivalry between the two countries; and 4) the risk of state failure in the country that is hypothetically attacking a target. The NAT Index can also be used to identify which nuclear-armed countries pose the greatest existential threats overall and which are the most vulnerable.
Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, for example, is capable of inflicting higher levels of proportional damage to a country the size of Israel than a country the size of China because of geographic and demographic differences. Countries that are rivals of North Korea and are within range of its ballistic missiles face a greater existential threat from Pyongyang than those that are not. We factor in the risk of state failure because an unstable country’s leaders and governmental policies can change on a dime and destabilized regimes can lose command and control of their nuclear weapons, exposing the arms to theft or unauthorized use.
While our index accounts for the heightened existential risks created by rivalries, we do not assume that nuclear-armed allies pose no risks to one another. From a realist perspective, the military power of other states can never be safely ignored — especially with respect to weapons that possess such uniquely destructive power. Beyond realism’s admonishment that today’s allies could become tomorrow’s rivals, the risks of nuclear weapons accidents and misuse exist between both rivals and allies. While it may appear odd to consider Britain as a potential nuclear threat to the United States, remember that Pakistan is also a U.S. ally. In accounting for the threats that even allies’ nuclear weapons pose, our analysis reflects the view that all nuclear weapons — no matter who possesses them — present a grave international security threat.
We coded our NAT Index using the most recent publicly available data. To account for the potential nuclear destruction a country could inflict on a target, we compared the number of nuclear weapons the state possesses to the number of population centers over one million people in the target country. Assuming that it would take four nuclear weapons to ensure destruction of a population center, we noted whether a state could destroy less than 25 percent of a target’s urban centers, 25 to 75 percent of them, or more than 75 percent of them. We classified a country as being able to strike a target with its ballistic missiles if it possesses known ballistic missile capabilities that would allow it to strike any part of a target’s territory. States engaged in strategic rivalries were identified via a highly regarded international relations data set on the subject. Lastly, we coded the country as constituting a state failure threat if it was identified as being at critical risk in Foreign Policy’s 2011 Failed States Index. Like any effort to systematically analyze nuclear threats, the results of our analysis are shaped by the assumptions we make and the data we use. We thus encourage readers to learn more about our methodology we use in the appendix we have provided.
Using the method of aggregation displayed below, our NAT Index produces a measure of the existential threat a state poses to a target state on a scale from .05 (minimal threat) to 9 (maximal threat). ….
Read more » Foreign Policy (FP)
Via – Twitter
By Pervez Hoodbhoy
….. In the military’s mind, the Americans are now a threat, equal to or larger than India. They are also considered more of an adversary than even the TTP jihadists who have killed thousands of Pakistani troops and civilians. While the Salala incident was allowed to inflame public opinion, the gory video-taped executions of Pakistani soldiers by the TTP were played down. A further indication is that the LeT/JuD is back in favor (with a mammoth anti-US and anti-India rally scheduled in Karachi next month). Pakistani animosity rises as it sees America tightly embracing India, and standing in the way of a Pakistan-friendly government in Kabul. Once again “strategic defiance” is gaining ground, albeit not through the regional compact suggested by General Mirza Aslam Beg in the early 1990s.
This attitudinal shift has created two strong non-India reasons that favour ramping up bomb production.
First, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are seen to be threatened by America. This perception has been reinforced by the large amount of attention given to the issue in the US mainstream press, and by war-gaming exercises in US military institutes. Thus, redundancy is considered desirable — an American attempt to seize or destroy all warheads would have smaller chances of success if Pakistan had more.
But such an attack is improbable. It is difficult to imagine any circumstances — except possibly the most extreme — in which the US would risk going to war against another nuclear state. Even if Pakistan had just a handful of weapons, no outside power could accurately know the coordinates of the mobile units on which they are located. It is said that an extensive network of underground tunnels exists within which they can be freely moved. Additionally, overground ones are moved from place to place periodically in unmarked trucks. Mobile dummies and decoys can hugely compound difficulties. Moreover, even if a nuclear location was exactly known, it would surely be heavily guarded. This implies many casualties when intruding troops are engaged, thus making a secret bin-Laden type operation impossible.
The second – and perhaps more important — reason for the accelerated nuclear development is left unstated: nukes act as insurance against things going too far wrong. Like North Korea, Pakistan knows that, no matter what, international financial donors will feel compelled to keep pumping in funds. Else a collapsing system may be unable to prevent some of its hundred-plus Hiroshima-sized nukes from disappearing into the darkness.
This insurance could become increasingly important as Pakistan moves deeper into political isolation and economic difficulties mount. Even today, load-shedding and fuel shortages routinely shut down industries and transport for long stretches, imports far exceed exports, inflation is at the double-digit level, foreign direct investment is negligible because of concerns over physical security, tax collection remains minimal, and corruption remains unchecked. An African country like Somalia or Congo would have sunk under this weight long ago.
To conclude: throwing a spanner in the works at the CD (Geneva) may well be popular as an act of defiance. Indeed, many in Pakistan — like Hamid Gul and Imran Khan — derive delicious satisfaction from spiting the world in such ways. But this is not wise for a state that perpetually hovers at the edge of bankruptcy, and which derives most of its worker remittances and export earnings from the very countries it delights in mocking.
To read complete article » The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2012.
Fascinating peek inside the latest Atlantic (in a cover story shared with sister pub National Journal) on the perilous security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Payoff grafs:
…instead of moving nuclear material in armored, well-defended convoys, the [Pakistani government] prefers to move material by subterfuge, in civilian-style vehicles without noticeable defenses, in the regular flow of traffic…according to a senior U.S. intelligence official, the Pakistanis have begun using this low-security method to transfer not merely the “de-mated” component nuclear parts but “mated” nuclear weapons. Western nuclear experts have feared that Pakistan is building small, “tactical” nuclear weapons for quick deployment on the battlefield. In fact, not only is Pakistan building these devices, it is also now moving them over roads.
What this means, in essence, is this: In a country that is home to the harshest variants of Muslim fundamentalism, and to the headquarters of the organizations that espouse these extremist ideologies…nuclear bombs capable of destroying entire cities are transported in delivery vans on congested and dangerous roads. And Pakistani and American sources say that since the raid on Abbottabad, the Pakistanis have provoked anxiety inside the Pentagon by increasing the pace of these movements. In other words, the Pakistani government is willing to make its nuclear weapons more vulnerable to theft by jihadists simply to hide them from the United States, the country that funds much of its military budget.
– Chidanand Rajghatta
Henderson, custodian of many of Khan’s secrets revealed to him as an “insurance” against harassment or worse by the Pakistani establishment, has periodically leaked them to the western media each time Islamabad has turned the screws on Khan, who has been under house detention and close watch ever since Pakistan’s proliferation activities were exposed early last decade.
In the latest such expose, Henderson last week provided Fox News with Khan’s letter to his wife in which the nuclear engineer reveals a stunning degree of proliferation between Islamabad and Beijing, evidently with government compliance. Pakistan has insisted that the proliferation was a rogue operation by Khan and the government or the military had nothing to do with it.
But in the letter Khans says “You know we had cooperation with China for 15 years. We put up a centrifuge plant at Hanzhong (km250 south-west of Xian). We sent 135 C-130 plane loads of machines, inverters, valves, flow meters, pressure gauges. Our teams stayed there for weeks to help and their teams stayed here for weeks at a time. Late minister Liu We, V. M. [vice minister] Li Chew, Vice Minister Jiang Shengjie used to visit us.”
The C-130 military transport planes were given to Pakistan by the United States under a military aid program; Washington has continued to lavish Islamabad with such aid even after reports of its misuse. In fact, documents relating to Pakistan’s proliferation through much of the 1990s suggest Washington was asleep on the watch through much of the nuclear exchanges involving Pakistan, China, North Korea, Iran, and Libya, or simply chose to close its eyes.
Khan also reveals that “the Chinese gave us drawings of the nuclear weapon, gave us kg50 enriched uranium, gave us 10 tons of UF6 (natural) and 5 tons of UF6 (3%). Chinese helped PAEC [Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, the rival organisation to the Khan Research Laboratories] in setting up UF6 plant, production reactor for plutonium and reprocessing plant.”
Further, Khan discloses that Gen Jehangir Karamat [chief of army staff 1996-8, sent by Musharraf as ambassador to US 2004-2006] “took $3 million through me from the N Koreans and asked me to give them some drawings and machines.” In a separate letter to Fox News, Karamat has denied the allegation.
Many of these disclosures are elaborated in detail during Khan’s “questioning,” under pressure from Washington, by the ISI, which put out a separate 17-page report to mollify the US and its allies when the extent of Pakistan’s proliferation was revealed through Libya in 2003.
Khan’s letter to his wife was evidently meant to warn the Pakistani establishment that no harm should come to him and his family even though the nuclear engineer had by then agreed to be the fall guy and agreed, under orders from them military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, to take the blame for government and military-initiated nuclear proliferation in order to save Pakistan from embarrassment and sanctions.
“They might try to get rid of me to cover up all the things (dirty) they got done by me in connection with Iran, Libya & N. Korea,” Khan writes to his wife. “This is just to forewarn you.”
He then instructs her to “Get out quickly to Dubai with Tanya [grand-daughter who lives with them] for a while or leave Tanya with Ayesha [daughter who lives in Islamabad],” signing off the letter with “Love you, Khantje” (diminutive name used between Khan and his wife).
Courtesy: → TOI
Is there someone who can rescue Pakistan and its hapless people from the bloody clutches of Wolves and predators in the garb of humans? A massive deep drift and deadly decay is caving into the fabric of Pakistan and debilitating it like slow poisoning. …
…. Lawlessness in Pakistan and pointedly in Pakistan’s leading city Karachi seems to be a blood soaked legacy of the Rwandan massacre. There is no let-up in bloodletting between the rival factions or by the trigger happy shooters. One can draw the only conclusion from incessant wanton killings that either the government is an accomplice or it is not concerned about such manslaughters and target killings that have become the order of the day. ….
….. There is no use of projecting ourselves as nuclear power when the common man is caught in a fatiguing struggle of earning two loaves of bread for his starving children.
Why is the army fighting a war to serve the interests of other nations? It is a supportive fight for establishment of neo-colonialism whose agenda is to establish military bases, capture markets and to further their nefarious objectives of robbing and exploiting the untapped resources of the captive nations for their factories and mills.
The Pakistan armed forces are mandated to protect Pakistan and its people from external aggression. It is not obligated to fight in submission to the wishes and designs of foreign powers that nurse their own blighted concepts of self protection and priorities.
Why should Pakistan a poor and economically weak country become pawn and part of the global diabolic game that is hollowing her from inside like termite and one day the edifice would crumble to the ground?
Can the leaders of Pakistan both in power and out of power think rationally and patriotically to apprehend and foresee the horrendous dangers and threats lurking over its stability and existence? Would they continue their sinister and insidious musical chairs game of intrigue and greed to take turn in ruling the country and grabbing power by foul and dubious means?
Do they realize that Pakistan is in deep and dire straits? Do they have an iota of commonsense to comprehend the hurricanes that are ferociously blowing to tear this country into pieces?
Can they feel the pains and sufferings of the oppressed people of Pakistan passing every day through a life and death ordeal due to hunger, poverty, disease, unbridled and galloping cost of living and scarcity of items of daily use?
Do they know people are losing their lives because of bomb blasts and vendetta killings and gang wars? Do they know young girls are kidnapped on the way to schools and colleges and subjected to rape and sold to prostitute dens? Do they know every day 22000 young boys are molested by the sex predators in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan?
We call ourselves Muslims and that is what the Islamic demagogues exhort us from the pulpit and from lavishly decorated religious congregations, to become. What is the ground reality? These religious orators incite their followers and sect fellows to slander their opponents and even kill them.
These religious zealots never initiate or start a campaign or float a mission against the social crimes, against the blood-thirsty mafias, against the evil doers, the rapist, the thugs, the looters of public funds, the adulterators, the bribe takers and bribe givers, the up to neck corrupt parliamentarians, the easy to buy jurists, the corrupt bureaucrats, the sleazy generals and the robbers occupying the power corridors.
These religious preachers can interpret to hang a powerless woman for adultery but do not want to punish a muscular and powerful man who kidnaps her and ruins her life at gun point or knife. We believe in distorted version of religious injunctions that hardly bring us any relief, redemptions and justice against the heinous culprits. Where are we heading to?
How can a woman produce four witnesses to prove that she was raped or molested? How a young and teen age girl molested by savage men can brace against the perpetrators for dishonoring her? Why, in the first instance, the laws are not implemented in letter and spirit.
To read complete article → Upright Opinion (Saeed Qureshi blog)
By Rob Crilly, Islamabad
Abdul Qadeer Khan signed a confession in 2004 admitting that he had handed classified information to Iran, Libya and North Korea but his supporters have long claimed he was made a scapegoat by a government which cast him as a rogue operator.
Now documents passed to a US nuclear weapons analyst by Dr Khan suggest that high-level Pakistani military officials knew about – and personally profited from – his sales of nuclear weapons technology.
In a written statement, Dr Khan describes helping transfer more than $3m to senior officers, delivering the cash in a canvas bag and cartons, including one in which it was hidden under fruit.
The revelations, which have been denied by Pakistani officials, will only heighten already difficult relations between Islamabad and Washington. …
Read more → telegraph.co.uk
– Pakistan’s nuclear-bomb maker says North Korea paid bribes for know-how
By R. Jeffrey Smith
The founder of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb program asserts that the government of North Korea bribed top military officials in Islamabad to obtain access to sensitive nuclear technology in the late 1990s.
Abdul Qadeer Khan has made available documents that he says support his claim that he personally transferred more than $3 million in payments by North Korea to senior officers in the Pakistani military, which he says subsequently approved his sharing of technical know-how and equipment with North Korean scientists.
Khan also has released what he says is a copy of a North Korean official’s 1998 letter to him, written in English, that spells out details of the clandestine deal.
Some Western intelligence officials and other experts have said that they think the letter is authentic and that it offers confirmation of a transaction they have long suspected but could never prove. Pakistani officials, including those named as recipients of the cash, have called the letter a fake. Khan, whom some in his country have hailed as a national hero, is at odds with many Pakistani officials, who have said he acted alone in selling nuclear secrets.
Nevertheless, if the letter is genuine, it would reveal a remarkable instance of corruption related to nuclear weapons. U.S. officials have worried for decades about the potential involvement of elements of Pakistan’s military in illicit nuclear proliferation, partly because terrorist groups in the region and governments of other countries are eager to acquire an atomic bomb or the capacity to build one.
Read more → THE WASHINGTON POST
By Stanley Kurtz
The Washington Post and New York Times today feature above-the-fold front-page articles about the deteriorating situation in Pakistan. Both pieces are disturbing, the Times account more so because it explicitly raises the prospect of an anti-American “colonels coup” against Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. With all the bad news coming out of this part of the world, and plenty of trouble here at home, it’s easy to ignore stories like this. Yet these two reports are among the most alarming and important we’ve seen in a long string of bad news from Pakistan and the Middle East.
Both articles make plain the extraordinary depth and breadth of anti-American sentiment among the commanders and the rank-and-file of Pakistan’s army. While America’s insistence on keeping the bin Laden raid secret, as well as our ability to pull it off without Pakistani interference, are the immediate causes of the anger, it’s obvious that a deeper anti-American sentiment as well as some level of sympathy for al-Qaeda are also at work.
Even now Pakistan’s army is forcing American operations out of the country. They have blocked the supply of food and water to our drone base, and are actively “strangling the alliance” by making things difficult for Americans in-country.
Unfortunately, it’s now time to at least begin thinking about what the United States should do in case of either an overt anti-American coup within Pakistan’s army, or in case Kayani himself is forced to effectively break relations. Although liberation from Pakistan’s double-game and reversion to honest hostility might come as a welcome relief to some, I see no good scenario here.
Should anti-American elements in Pakistan’s army displace Kayani, they would presumably hold our supply lines to Afghanistan hostage to a cessation of drone attacks. The step beyond that would be to cut off our Afghanistan supply lines altogether. Our minimum response to either of these moves would likely be a suspension of aid (on which Pakistan’s military is now dependent) and moves to provide India with technology that would give them major advantages over Pakistan. Pakistan may run eagerly into the arms of China at that point.
These developments would pose many further dangers and questions. Could we find new supply lines, and at what geo-strategic price? Should we strike terrorist refuges in Pakistan, perhaps clashing with Pakistan’s own forces as we do so? Would Pakistan actively join the Taliban to fight us in Afghanistan? In short, would the outcome of a break between America and Pakistan be war–whether low-level or outright?
There is no good or easy answer here. If there is any single spot it would be hardest for America to walk away from conflict, Pakistan is it. Bin Laden was not alone. Pakistan shelters our greatest terrorist enemies. An inability to strike them there would be intolerable, both in terms of the danger posed for terrorism here in the United States, and for the safety of our troops in Afghanistan.
Yet the fundamental problem remains Pakistan’s nuclear capacity, as well as the sympathy of many of its people with our enemies. Successful clashes with Pakistan’s military may only prompt sympathizers to hand nuclear material to al-Qaeda. The army is virtually the only thing holding Pakistan together. A military defeat and splintering of the army could bring an Islamist coup, or at least the fragmentation of the country, and consequent massive expansion of its lawless regions. These gloomy prospects probably explain why our defense officials keep counseling patience, even as the insults from Pakistan grow.
An important question here is just how Islamist the anti-American elements of Pakistan’s military now are. Is the current trouble primarily a matter of nationalist resentment at America’s killing of bin Laden, or is this a case of outright sympathy for al-Qaeda and the Taliban in much of the army?
The answer is probably a bit of both. The difficulty is that the precise balance may not matter that much. We’ve seen in Egypt that a secular the military is perfectly capable of striking up a cautious alliance with newly empowered Islamist forces. The same thing could happen in Pakistan in the advent of an anti-American military coup. Pakistan may not be ethnically Arab, but it’s continued deterioration may be the unhappy harbinger of the so-called Arab Spring’s outcome, I fear.
At any rate, it’s time to begin at least gaming out worst-case scenarios in Pakistan.
Courtesy: National Review Online
Pakistani politician, Syeda Abida Hussain calling Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan “LIAR”. Everyone knows Abdul Qadeer Khan apologized to nation on national media for proliferating nuclear technology to other countries. General Musharaf gave pardon to him after his apology. She is right, we should go with facts. The language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: Duniya TV (In Session with Asma Chaudhry, 28 May 2011)
It would not be wrong to say that the military is holding our nation hostage to its vested interests. Our country’s survival is at stake but there seems to be no visible shift in the military’s posture. ….
…. There are many reasons why most people in Pakistan continue to live in denial but the main one is our security paradigm. For decades we have been fed lies by our military. The military has overtly and covertly supported terrorist networks. A large chunk of our budget goes to defence without anyone questioning our armed forces on where it is spent. Between loan repayments and the defence budget, hardly any money is left to be spent on education, healthcare, development, etc. India is made out to be enemy number one. To counter the ‘Indian threat’, we need the vile Taliban on our side in Afghanistan since they are our “strategic assets”; we nurture terrorist organisations like the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) to carry out militant jihad in Indian Kashmir and cross-border attacks inside India; we are soon going to be “the world’s fifth largest nuclear weapons power” as per some reports. Lest we forget, we have lost all official and unofficial wars against India (most of which, by the way, were started by Pakistan). An atomic bomb and stockpiles of nuclear weapons is no guarantee that we can win in the unlikely event of another war. The only reason why our military has kept this threat perception alive is because it is hard for them to part with the moolah that keeps coming their way and the power they wield over this country. It would not be wrong to say that the military is holding our nation hostage to its vested interests. Our country’s survival is at stake but there seems to be no visible shift in the military’s posture.
The Pakistan military’s double game in the war on terror was never a secret yet the US kept pouring in billions of dollars in military aid to secure our help in the war on terror. Young soldiers continue to sacrifice their lives in combat and terrorist attacks because of the flawed policies of the military establishment.
The day Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad by the US, the world’s suspicions were confirmed. Our intelligence agencies claimed incompetence, but not many buy this excuse, given how bin Laden was living in such close proximity to the Pakistan Military Academy. The world turned on our military and intelligence agencies but our government chose to give them a clean chit. Mian Nawaz Sharif, for whatever reasons, was the only one who took a principled stance as far as civil-military relations were concerned but he found no takers in the current democratic set-up who stood by him. After decades our civilian leadership had a golden opportunity to take the military to task but in order to pursue their political interests, the government and its allies let them off scot-free.
The problem is that, however much we try to hide our flaws, the world is not blind. Our security establishment cannot keep on harbouring terrorists. It is time to wake up to the reality that we cannot go on like this forever because it is a sure-shot recipe for self-destruction.
Pakistan’s name has been tarnished by those who claim to be our ‘guardians’ and ‘protectors’. As Pakistanis, we must vow not to let anyone wreak havoc in the name of ‘strategic depth’. Victor Jara, a Chilean political activist and revolutionary poet, was arrested and taken to the Chile Stadium in September 1973 following a military coup. He wrote a poem — ‘Estadio Chile’ — which spoke of the horror in front of him. His words, though written in a different context, haunt me every time a terrorist attack takes place:
“How hard it is to sing,
When I must sing of horror.
Horror which I am living,
Horror which I am dying.”
Pakistanis are living and dying a horror of which we must all sing. Let’s stop this horror now. It may take years but we must break our silence and speak the truth for once.
To read complete article: Daily Times
KABUL: The head of Nato said Tuesday he was confident Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were safe, but admitted it was a matter of concern, the day after the worst assault on a Pakistani military base in two years.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen was in Afghanistan on a one-day visit and met President Hamid Karzai to discuss the transition of security from Nato-led troops to Afghan security forces, which is due to begin in July.
Rasmussen was asked if Nato was concerned about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons after it took Pakistani forces 17 hours to reclaim control of a naval air base from Taliban attackers and following the death of Osama bin Laden.
“I feel confident that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is safe and well protected,” said Rasmussen. “But of course it is a matter of concern and we follow the situation closely.”
The attack in Karachi, the worst on a base since the army headquarters was besieged in October 2009, piled further embarrassment on Pakistan three weeks after the al Qaeda leader was found living in the city of Abbottabad, close to the country’s military academy.
Rasmussen was scheduled to wind up his Afghan visit on Tuesday after spending a night and a full day in Afghanistan.
It was embarrassing enough for the people of Pakistan to find out that Osama bin Laden was living in their midst for years. Even more shameful was the realization that their politicians are incapable of questioning the security apparatus of the country. The masses rallied and protested and faced hardships for months to kick General Pervez Musharraf out of power. They voted the Pakistan People’s Party, the most widely-based and allegedly liberal party to power, believing that democracy has been restored.
Though the leader of the government, President Asif Ali Zardari has been blamed for everything going wrong in the country and is regarded as a corrupt individual, until now there has been a perceived upside that Pakistan is being led by an elected government and not a military dictatorship.
This illusion of so-called civilian supremacy silently burst like a bubble when the head of the ISI, General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, and the Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani were called before the parliament to answer for their incompetence related to the May 2 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. The agenda was to inquire about the U.S. attack and why the state security apparatus was unaware of Osama bin Laden’s presence.
But what happened during the closed door meeting revealed once again that the real power in Pakistan still lies with the army and the ISI, not the politicians.
It had been suggested that heads would roll, the foreign aid and the big chunk of national budget that the army receives would be scrutinized. The parliamentarians dropped the ball again and lost another opportunity to exert their authority over other institutions of the state. Once again it became clear who really runs Pakistan.
The last time a civilian government had an opportunity to put the army in its place was in 1971, following the Pakistan army’s defeat in the war that led to the loss of East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan’s then-president and founder of the Pakistan People’s Party, got off to a promising start by placing former dictator General Yahya Khan under house arrest. He re-organized the Pakistan Armed Forces and boosted the military’s morale. But Bhutto also restored their hubris. Years later, his own appointed Army Chief, General Zia ul-Haq, would overthrow Bhutto’s government and send him to the gallows.
During Zia’s 11 year rule, the Russians invaded Afghanistan and withdrew. The army grew so strong that even after Zia’s death in a plane crash, the new chief of the military did not allow the democratically elected Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, to tour the country’s nuclear facility. She was labelled anti-Pakistan and an American agent.
It is ironic to witness that the opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), which was created with the support of the army to counter the PPP’s popularity, is now asking the tough questions about covert operations and the finances of the military.
By snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Pakistan’s ruling party, Bhutto’s PPP, is losing its chance to demonstrate leadership and moral authority. They failed to hold the army accountable for the thousands of civilians and security officers killed in the war on terror in Pakistan. They did not press the chief of the generously-funded army to explain how OBL could have lived in a military garrison town for six years.
These are the same parliamentarians who extended General Kiyani’s tenure. The same parliamentarians who extended ISI Chief General Pasha’s tenure. The boastful parliamentarians who had promised to leave no stone unturned roared like lions for the cameras but behaved like lambs behind closed doors.
It was reported that opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar tried to deliver a speech during the question and answer session, only to be snubbed by General Pasha in front of a full house. Pasha claimed that he ‘knew’ why he was being targeted by the opposition leader, alleging that Nisar had asked him for a personal favor, which he, as DG ISI, refused to extend. An embarrassed Chaudhry Nisar was said to have been taken aback as Pasha continued with his ‘counter-attack’.
Then the tail furiously wagged the dog. General Pasha reportedly offered to resign. Rather than demanding that the ISI chief step down immediately, apparently the parliamentarians did not accept his resignation.
The state run television channel could have returned to its heyday of running prime time programming that kept the country glued to their sets by recording that “closed door” meeting to broadcast later as a drama — or farce.
Some idealistic Pakistanis hoped that the U.S. would finally question the secretly played “double game.” After all, the U.S. supported extensions of Kiyani’s and Pasha’s tenures, claiming that keeping the chiefs in their positions would help to continue the war on terror in an orderly fashion. The U.S. abandoned the people of Pakistan by siding with the army once again, pledging support and failing to attach any strings or conditions to the military aid it provides.
Cowed by Kiyani’s and Pasha’s brazen displays, Pakistan’s parliament passed a resolution that drone attacks should be stopped and that the operations like the one carried out on May 2nd won’t be tolerated in future.
The parliament has an obligation to explain to the public not only how and why Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad, but why the Taliban continues to carry out its bloody operations, and why al Qaeda leaders have been given safe haven. The risk of allowing these questions to remain unanswered is that the military will gain more strength over the civilian government.
The parliamentarians who are supposed to represent the people of Pakistan abrogated their responsibility for the sake of staying in office for few more months, while at the same time making it clear who the country’s rulers truly are.
Nuclear power as the “shark attacks” of energy
I was at a coffee shop recently and a SWPL couple (woman had dreads to boot!) a number of tables away were reading a newspaper, and the husband expressed worry about the Fukushima disaster. The wife responded that “now other people will understand how dangerous nuclear power is,” with a sage nod. They then launched into twenty minutes of loud righteous gibberish about chemicals (I had a hard time making sense of it, despite the fact that I learned a lot about chemicals in the past due to my biochemistry background). Because they’d irritated me I was curious and I tailed them as they left. Naturally they had driven to get coffee in a S.U.V. of some sort (albeit, a modestly sized one which looked like it was more outfitted for the outdoors’ activities common in the Pacific Northwest; they’d probably done their cost vs. benefit about those chemicals!).
In terms of radiation fears, I suspect that if more people just automatically knew …
Read more : Discorver Magazine
by A.H . Nayyer
Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) is now forty years old. It is rated among the worst functioning reactors of the world. Situated on the Arabian Sea, it was originally far away from populated areas of Karachi, but now many residential schemes have moved close to it. The reactors at Chashma are relatively new. The site is on the bank of River Indus, situated between Indus and Chashma-Jehlum Link Canal. The reactor site is known to be on top of a series of tectonic plates …
Read more : View Point
by Selig S. Harrison
China’s expanding reach is a natural and acceptable accompaniment of its growing power—but only up to a point.
Beijing is understandably challenging a century of U.S. dominance in the Pacific and the South China Sea immediately adjacent to its shores. But the aggressive effort to block Indian hegemony in South Asia, reflected in its growing ties with Pakistan and its territorial claim to the adjacent northeast state of Arunachal Pradesh (for which there is no historical basis) is more ominous.
In contrast to its studied neutrality on the Kashmir issue in past decades, Beijing is now openly supportive of Pakistan and is establishing its economic and political influence both in Pakistan-occupied Azad (Free) Kashmir and in the Himalayan state of Gilgit-Baltistan. …
Read more : The National Interest
With the Middle East roiling, the alarming news about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons buildup has gotten far too little attention. The Times recently reported that American intelligence agencies believe Pakistan has between 95 and more than 110 deployed nuclear weapons, up from the mid-to-high 70s just two years ago.
Pakistan can’t feed its people, educate its children, or defeat insurgents without billions of dollars in foreign aid. Yet, with China’s help, it is now building a fourth nuclear reactor to produce more weapons fuel.
Even without that reactor, experts say, it has already manufactured enough fuel for 40 to 100 additional weapons. That means Pakistan — which claims to want a minimal credible deterrent — could soon possess the world’s fifth-largest arsenal, behind the United States, Russia, France and China but ahead of Britain and India. Washington and Moscow, with thousands of nuclear weapons each, still have the most weapons by far, but at least they are making serious reductions.
Washington could threaten to suspend billions of dollars of American aid if Islamabad does not restrain its nuclear appetites. But that would hugely complicate efforts in Afghanistan and could destabilize Pakistan.
The truth is there is no easy way to stop the buildup, or that of India and China. Slowing and reversing that arms race is essential for regional and global security. Washington must look for points of leverage and make this one of its strategic priorities.
The ultimate nightmare, of course, is that the extremists will topple Pakistan’s government and get their hands on the nuclear weapons. We also don’t rest easy contemplating the weakness of Pakistan’s civilian leadership, the power of its army and the bitterness of the country’s rivalry with nuclear-armed India.
The army claims to need more nuclear weapons to deter India’s superior conventional arsenal. It seems incapable of understanding that the real threat comes from the Taliban and other extremists. …
Read more : The New York Times
By Pervez Hoodbhoy
The latest news from America must have thrilled many: Pakistan probably has more nuclear weapons than India. A recent Washington Post article, quoting various nuclear experts, suggests that Pakistan is primed to “surge ahead in the production of nuclear-weapons material, putting it on a path to overtake Britain as the world’s fifth largest nuclear weapons power”.
Some may shrug off this report as alarmist anti-Pakistan propaganda, while others will question the accuracy of such claims. Indeed, given the highly secret nature of nuclear programmes everywhere, at best one can only make educated guesses on weapons and their materials. For Pakistan, it is well known that the Kahuta complex has been producing highly enriched uranium for a quarter century, and that there are two operational un-safeguarded plutonium-producing reactors at Khushab (with a third one under construction). Still, the exact amounts of bomb-grade material and weapons are closely held secrets.
But for argument’s sake, let’s assume that the claims made are correct. Indeed, let us suppose that Pakistan surpasses India in numbers – say by 50 per cent or even 100 per cent. Will that really make Pakistan more secure? Make it more capable of facing current existential challenges?
The answer is, no. Pakistan’s basic security problems lie within its borders: growing internal discord and militancy, a collapsing economy, and a belief among most citizens that the state cannot govern effectively. These are deep and serious problems that cannot be solved by more or better weapons. Therefore the way forward lies in building a sustainable and active democracy, an economy for peace rather than war, a federation in which provincial grievances can be effectively resolved, elimination of the feudal order and creating a tolerant society that respects the rule of law. …
Read more : THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE
by Selig S. Harrison
As the Islamist nightmare envelops Pakistan, the Obama administration ponders what the United States should do. But the bitter reality is that the United States is already doing too much in Pakistan. It is the American shadow everywhere, the Pakistani feeling of being smothered by the U.S. embrace, that gives the Islamists their principal rallying cry.
Evidence is everywhere of what the Economist calls “a rising tide of anti-American passion.” The leading spokesman of traditional Muslim theology, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), opposes the “war on terror” because “it is an American war” and blames a U.S. plot for the recent assassination of the moderate Punjab governor, Salman Taseer.
The endless procession of U.S. leaders paying goodwill visits to Islamabad, most recently Vice President Joe Biden, evokes sneers and ridicule in the Urdu-language press, accompanied by cartoons showing Pakistanis scratching fleas crawling over their bodies. The late special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, liked free-swinging encounters with Pakistani journalists that left a trail of bitterness expressed in the Urdu media, but this did not deter Holbrooke and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from return visits. …
Read more : National Interest
As Pakistan nears bankruptcy, patience of foreign lenders wears thin
BY GRAEME SMITH
ISLAMABAD — A terrifying kind of mathematics has become popular among aid workers, analysts and others who spend their lives tracking the fate of Pakistan. It’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation about how the country will get through the coming years without declaring bankruptcy: take the country’s foreign debt ($53-billion), add interest, subtract the $1.8-billion that won’t arrive as scheduled on Jan. 1 from the International Monetary Fund because Islamabad failed to meet loan conditions. Add the staggering cost, perhaps $10-billion, of rebuilding after summer floods.
The numbers seem bleak. The government floated the possibility last week of running a deficit for the coming year of $15-billion.
Islamabad’s latest plan to raise revenue, a reformed tax law, has become bogged down by stubborn opposition parties, front-page criticism and street protests. The cabinet’s economic team is threatening to quit.
Pakistan needs a bailout. But is the country still a good investment?
“That’s the conversation people are having now, about whether you’d be throwing good money after bad,” said Mosharraf Zaidi, a development expert and policy analyst based in Islamabad.
The international community has accused Pakistan of poor financial management for years. Cables recently posted by the website WikiLeaks show a U.S. intelligence official complaining in 2008 about the country’s preference for spending money on strategic military hardware instead of development: “Despite pending economic catastrophe, Pakistan is producing nuclear weapons at a faster rate than any other country in the world.” …
READ MORE : Globe and Mail
RAWALPINDI: On the day WikiLeaks released a slew of American diplomatic cables revealing, among other things, tensions between the US and Pakistan over nuclear matters, a top Pakistani military official claimed the country “has transited from the ‘most sanctioned ally’ to the ‘most bullied ally’” of the US.
The comments were part of a wide-ranging briefing given to editors, anchors and columnists on Sunday. The timing of the briefing appeared to be a coincidence, having been scheduled before the WikiLeaks information became public. All comments were made strictly on the condition of anonymity being maintained. …
Read more : DAWN
— — — —
Courtesy: DunyaTV (Dunya Mere Aage with Nusrat Javed and Mustaq Minhaas, 30 November, 2010)
There is a complete blackout on the effects of uranium mining in Dera Ismail Khan in south Punjab. Researchers too were defeated by the powerful nuclear establishment that keeps even health information as a national secret.
Sadly, absolutely nothing is known about disposal of nuclear waste in Pakistan. Are the authorities dumping low-level wastes in the sea or river? Where and how do they plan to bury the high-level wastes that will be lethal for thousands of years to come? Also, there is a complete blackout on the effects of uranium mining in Dera Ismail Khan in south Punjab. About 10 years ago, mine workers and other affected villagers had banded together after large numbers fell sick from lung disease and cancer. To the dismay of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, they managed to produce a petition for the Lahore High Court. But,as invariably happens, the powers that be forced them to withdraw their case and some token compensation was given. Researchers too were defeated by the powerful nuclear establishment that keeps even health information as a national secret.
There are, however, other aspects of Pakistan’s nuclear programme that I have focused upon earlier and bring up yet again:
Pakistan got nothing from The Bomb
About twelve years ago a million Pakistanis danced in the streets after six nuclear weapons had been successfully tested. They had been told that making nuclear bombs was the biggest thing a country could do. Burma is said to be trying to make a bomb and may succeed too, but surely the North Korean nuclear test gave rock-solid proof that we Pakistanis have been fed a diet of lies.
North Korea is a country that no one admires. It is unknown for scientific achievement, has little electricity or fuel, food and medicine are scarce, corruption is ubiquitous, and its people live in terribly humiliating conditions under a vicious, dynastic dictatorship. In a famine some years ago, North Korea lost nearly 800,000 people. And it has an enormous prison population of 200,000 that is subjected to systematic torture and abuse.
Why does a miserable, starving country continue spending its last penny on the Bomb? On developing and testing a fleet of missiles whose range increases from time to time? The answer is clear: North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles are instruments of blackmail rather than means of defence. Brandished threateningly, and manipulated from time to time, these bombs are designed to keep the flow of international aid going.
Surely the people of North Korea gained nothing from their country’s nuclearisation. But they cannot challenge their oppressors. But, Pakistanis — who are far freer — must ask: what have we gained from the bomb? …
Read more >> ViewPoint
WASHINGTON: Israel has “eight days” to launch a military strike against Iran’s Bushehr nuclear facility and stop Tehran from acquiring a functioning atomic plant, a former US envoy to the UN has said.
Iran is to bring online its first nuclear power reactor, built with Russia’s help, on August 21, when a shipment of nuclear fuel will be loaded into the plant’s core.
At that point, John Bolton warned Monday, it will be too late for Israel to launch a military strike against the facility because any attack would spread radiation and affect Iranian civilians.
“Once that uranium, once those fuel rods are very close to the reactor, certainly once they’re in the reactor, attacking it means a release of radiation, no question about it,” Bolton told Fox Business Network.
“So if Israel is going to do anything against Bushehr it has to move in the next eight days.”
Read more >> DAWN
US aid fuels dangerous deal in Pakistan
By Selig S. Harrison
WITH ONE hand, Pakistan scoops up its multiplying millions in US aid. With the other, it buys nuclear reactors from China that will give it the capability to add 24 nuclear weapons per year to its estimated existing arsenal of 70 to 90. …
Read more >>- Boston
Nuclear weapons in South Asia – by: ZULFIQAR HALEPOTO
MAY is known as a sinister month for peace in South Asia when on May 11, 1998, India tested three devices at the Pokhran underground testing site, followed by two more tests on May 13, 1998.
On May 28 the same year Pakistan exploded five underground nuclear devices in response to India’s nuclear tests. Tests were justified as an instrument of ‘deterrence’ to avoid any conventional war in the future.
– Ali Gharib and Jim Lobe
WASHINGTON (IPS/GIN) – The United States and its allies must act urgently to prevent Pakistan from descending into a spiral of economic, security, and political crises, according to a new report released here by an influential think tank.
The 27-page report, “Needed: A Comprehensive U.S. Policy Towards Pakistan,” called for at least $4 billion to $5 billion in new aid for Islamabad of which $1 billion should be earmarked for the military and the police, to help ward off the growing threat posed to the central government by Islamic militants based in the frontier regions with Afghanistan and linked to Al-Qaeda.
“Simply put, time is running out for stabilizing Pakistan’s economy and security,” the task force warned. “We cannot stress the magnitude of the dangerous enough nor the need for greater action now,” it stressed, adding that failure to provide needed assistance could well result in “state failure.”
WASHINGTON: Counting many elements, including terrorism and nuclear weapons, in Pakistan as causes of international worries, a former top US official has described the South Asian country as an “international migraine”. ( Watch )
“…my own sense is Pakistan has everything that gives you an international migraine. It has nuclear weapons, it has terrorism, extremists, corruption, very poor and it’s in a location that’s really, really important to us.