By Brig Asif Haroon Raja
Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington on April 12-13 last year. India tried to exploit the event by drumming up vulnerability of Pak nuclear program and to make a case to deprive it of its nukes. All its plans to get Pakistan censured dashed when Obama and other US leaders expressed complete confidence in Pakistan’s security system. In the wake of AQ Khan Network scandal in 2004, Pakistan had taken series of effective measures to prevent recurrence of nuclear proliferation. India in concert with its friendly US officials, media and think tanks then started playing upon the possibility of theft from within by Taliban sympathizers working in nuclear establishments.
189-nation Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signed by three recognized nuclear powers USA, former USSR and UK in 1970 had been formulated essentially to restrain all other nuclear powers or would be powers from indulging in nuclear arms race and to free the world of menace of nuclear weapons by an early date. Review conference has taken place every five years but so far the dream of a nuclear-weapon-free world has remained elusive mainly due to reluctance of leading nuclear powers from getting rid of their nuclear arsenal. The main objective of NPT was to put an effective check on other states from acquiring nuclear capability rather than curtailing or eliminating their stockpiles. However, Israel and India were clandestinely helped by the nuclear club to become nuclear powers which impelled several Arab countries, Pakistan and Iran to pursue the path of nuclearization. India-US civil nuclear deal inked in 2008 has enabled India to acquire unlimited nuclear technology and fuel from Nuclear Suppliers Group to pursue its nuclear weapons program. This was done despite knowing that India is not a signatory to NPT. This discriminatory act has blown the very concept of NPT to shreds.
40 years have lapsed and the US and Russia, both possessing 95% of world’s nukes have still not fulfilled the obligations. SALT was signed in 1991 and it took them almost twenty years to agree to make a cut in their arsenals. On ground, it will take several years to implement April 2010 agreement. Even if it is implemented in the coming future, it will be more of a charade to impress upon smaller nuclear powers to roll back their nuclear programs rather than making the world safe. The number of WMDs held by the two major powers after the so-called reduction would still be enough to destroy the world. Possession of WMDs by eight states is a matter of grave concern for non-nuclear states, particularly those faced with external security threats.
While the US is sermonizing non-nuclear states not to turn nuclear and wants Pakistan to limit its nuclear program, not only it is keeping its huge arsenal intact, it is beefing up Indian nuclear program in complete disregard of regional balance of power and Indo-Pakistan deep seated antagonism. It has never uttered a word against Israeli nuclear program, knowing that Israel has dangerous designs in the Middle East. Indo-Israeli collaboration in nuclear field and closely knit alignment geared towards Pakistan’s nuclear program is well-known to USA. The two had made several attempts to destroy Kahuta plant in the 1980s and 1990s and are still looking for opportunities to carryout surgical strikes.
Israeli air force had destroyed Iraq’s nuclear plant in 1983 when Iraq was fully embroiled in US sponsored war against Iran. It also destroyed Syria’s factory in Negev desert allegedly involved in nuclear program in 2006 when its forces invaded Lebanon. Libya’s nuclear program was rolled back under Israeli pressure since it cannot digest any Muslim country possessing nukes. All out efforts are now being directed to force Iran to cease its nuclear program.
Iran has been subjected to harsh US-UN sanctions since 2006. Four sets of sanctions have been imposed and the noose is being tightened to restrain Iran from acquiring weapon grade nuclear capability. Notwithstanding apprehensions of Arab leaders about Iran’s growing military capability and nuclear ambitions, their demand that Israel should open up its nuclear facilities for international inspection came as a rude shock for both USA and Israel. It became one of the reasons to trigger uprisings in Arab countries and to invade Libya.
America has not learnt any lessen that economic sanctions seldom lessen the resolve of nations pursuing national goals. Iraq was invaded in August 1991 and put under brutal sanctions; yet Saddam regime having gone through 8-year war with Iran remained defiant and faced the US led allied forces invasion in March 2003 with fortitude. Pakistan continued to pursue its nuclear program in spite of heavy sanctions under Pressler Amendment and discriminations. Such a discriminatory policy pursued by USA makes its position as a preacher of non-proliferation weak and comical. It has to first lead by example to expect others to follow suit. If USA feels so threatened from Al-Qaeda attacks on its homeland, should it not seriously consider shifting its nuclear arsenal to Mexico or Canada for safekeeping particularly after the recent serious security lapses.
Huma Yusaf based in Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington in his article dated March 14, 2011 in Dawn newspaper, titled ‘Undefined Nuclear Goals’ suggested supporting FMCT with a proviso that India’s fissile materials were monitored by International Watchdog. She is of the view that if Pakistan continues to defy international demand of FMCT and remains irresponsible on nuclear security and disarmament, its nuclear arsenal will become a liability. She forgets that the ones who matter in the world are on India’s side and in gross violation of their own established rules; they are enhancing and upgrading its nuclear capability to enable it to match China’s nuclear strength and also become a member of the recognized nuclear club. The US has not hidden its intentions to make India a permanent member of UNSC, a predominant power of South Asia as well as global power. The US is firm on its stance and finds no role for Pakistan in its global power game.
Huma also overlooks the fact it is India and not Pakistan that is defying UN and other international institutions on Kashmir, nuclear and missiles issues. Pakistan has on several occasions suggested converting South Asia into a nuclear free zone and has agreed to sign CTBT if India also agrees to do so. Gen Ziaul Haq and Nawaz Sharif in particular made sincere efforts to minimise the risk of nuclear clash. It is a well established fact that India had conducted nuclear tests in May 1998 to overawe and blackmail Pakistan and other neighbours. Pakistan on the other hand went for the extreme step to prevent India’s military adventurism like the one it had undertaken in 1971.
Indo-US-Israeli nexus is gunning for Pakistan. All its efforts are focussed on disabling Pakistan’s nuclear program as well as its delivery means. For the achievement of its objective, the trio has made full use of media and psychological war as well covert war to level the ground for the final thrust. The US pretending to be a friend has proven its enmity by systematically weakening Pakistan politically, economically, militarily and socially. It has pursued discriminatory nuclear policy and is raining Hellfire missiles in FATA and has carried out commando assault in Abbottabad. It has brazenly stated that suchlike assaults would be undertaken in future as well to kill high value militant leaders or to take control of Pakistan’s nuclear and missile sites if threatened to be stolen by militants. It is high time that our rulers start seeing the US as a foe and guard its strategic assets accordingly. As long as the deadly nexus is based in Afghanistan, Pakistan will have to keep a vigilant eye on its western border to prevent 02 May like recurrence. After OBL, the next helicopters attack will come on one of nuclear sites approachable from the west that could be a disaster.