President Zardari is visiting United States. As it is clear to any one with intact mind that Pakistan is falling apart. Pakistan Army is either reluctant or finds itself incapable of fighting Taliban insurgency in Swat. United States and various experts have raised the issue of security of Pakistani nuclear weapons. In response to it the delusional minority in Pakistan, the English speaking Liberals [who are considered Kaffir by Taliban and security risk by Army] who consider themselves the vanguard of Pakistan non-existent nationalism, have raised a storm of protest. These protest are similar to their protest against India during the Ajmal Kasab’s issue. How serious is “nuclear threat” from Pakistan? As we all know, when these English speaking “experts”, and “intellectuals” were busy denying any such threats, nuclear proliferation actually took place. Notorious nuclear proliferator AQ Khan sold nuclear material to North Korea, Iran and Libya.
Serious cracks are visible in Pakistan’s security establishment. Reports suggest widespread unrest within the Army with record number of deserters. Key figures of state have been accused of complicity with Taliban. Civil administrator of Sawt/Malakand had open ties with Taliban and was responsible for their takeover. Late General Hamza Alvi accused senior Generals of complicity with Taliban and payed the price. On whose side is ISI has become a question similar to that of existence of God. With this kind of “security” , Pakistan’s nuclear arsnel is a very serious threat to humanity.
The most advance public opinion in Pakistan according to these delusional liberals was one motivated around the “lawyers movement”. All liberals drummed up the “secular humanist” nature of Lawyers movement . Its leadership was in hands of ex Maoists and Stalinists like Aitzaz Ahsan. Who was in firm alliance with Islamic Fascist Jamate Islami [accused of Bengali Genocide] and PML-N [General Zia’s comrades in Arms]. During the glorious Lawyers Movement, the Bar Associations conducted country wide mock presidential elections in which Dr AQ Khan was their representative. When this is the state of affairs with the “most advance layer of public opinion”. The world must consider its options. If Pakistani liberals have no conscience and consider it act of patriotism to support the evil deeds of their state than its duty of the world to take action. Following is the article by Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy a rare voice of conscience and it was written year back or so things have gone from bad to worse and it should open the eyes of conscientious Pakistanis
“The safety procedures and their associated technologies are only as safe as the men who use them”
Pakistan’s Nuclear Threat
Pervez Hoodbhoy. International Herald Tribune
A cacophony of protests in Pakistan greeted a recent statement by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammad ElBaradei. “I fear that chaos, or an extremist regime, could take root in that country, which has 30 to 40 warheads,” he said. He also expressed fear that “nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of extremist groups in Pakistan or Afghanistan.”
But in Pakistan, few worry. The Strategic Plans Division, which is the Pakistani agency responsible for handling nuclear weapons, exudes confidence that it can safely protect the country’s “crown jewels.” The SPD is a key beneficiary of the recently disclosed secret $100 million grant by the Bush administration, the purpose of which is to make Pakistan’s nuclear weapons safer.
This money has been put to use. Indeed, ever since Sept. 11, 2001, there has been a regular traffic of Pakistani military officers to and from the United States for coaching in nuclear safety techniques. While multiple layers of secrecy make it hard to judge success, the improvement in the SPD’s public relations is palpable. PowerPoint presentations, guided tours of military headquarters and calculated expressions of openness have impressed foreign visitors.
Senator Joseph Lieberman, chairman of a Homeland Security and governmental affairs committee, left reassured. After a briefing by the SPD’s chief, Lieutenant General Khalid Kidwai, Lieberman declared in a press conference, “Yes, he did allay my fears,” and promised to carry that message back to Congress.
So, is ElBaradei needlessly alarmed? Of the two diametrically opposed opinions, which deserves greater credence?
The two men are looking at different things. Lieberman was impressed by how well Pakistani nuclear handlers have been tutored in the United States. ElBaradei, on the other hand, expressed a broader concern. He presumably reasoned that safety procedures and their associated technologies are only as safe as the men who use them.
This is the crux of the problem. Pakistan has become steadily more radicalized as the influence of Islamists increases in its culture and society. The deliberate nurturing of jihadism by the state has, over 30 years, produced extremism inside parts of the military and intelligence. Today, some parts are at war with other parts.
This chilling truth is now manifest. A score of suicide attacks in the last few weeks, some bearing a clear insider signature, have rocked an increasingly demoralized military and intelligence establishment. For example, an unmarked bus of the Inter Services Intelligence agency was collecting employees for work early in the morning in Rawalpindi when it was boarded by a suicide bomber who killed 25 when he blew himself up. The ISI had not recovered from this shock when, just weeks later, another bus was blown up as it entered the service’s closely guarded secret headquarters.
Elite commandos of the Special Services Group have fared no better. Here, the suicide bomber was an army man. Still more recently, a group of six Pakistani militants, reportedly brainwashed by clerics linked to Al Qaeda, was arrested in December for plotting suicide attacks against military targets. Their leader was revealed to be a former army major, Ahsan-ul-Haq, who had masterminded the Nov. 1 suicide attack on a Pakistan Air Force bus that killed 9 people and wounded 40 others in the city of Sargodha, where nuclear weapons are said to be stored.
Fearful of more attacks, military officers have begun the transition to a new, surprisingly modest lifestyle. They have given up wearing uniforms except on duty, move in civilian cars accompanied by guards in plain clothes, and no longer flout their rank in public.
As the rift within widens, many questions pose themselves. Can collusion between different field-level nuclear commanders – each responsible for different parts of the weapon – result in the hijacking of one complete weapon? Could jihadist outsiders develop links with sympathetic custodial insiders?
Many vexing questions concern the weapons laboratories and production units. Given the sloppy work culture, it is hard to imagine that accurate records have been maintained over a quarter century of fissile-material production. So, can one be certain that small, but significant, quantities of highly enriched uranium have not made their way out? More ominously, religious fervor in these places has grown enormously over the last 30 years.
Nevertheless, we Pakistanis live in a state of denial. Even as suicide bombings escalate, criticism of religious extremists remains taboo. The overwhelming majority still attributes recent terrorist events – such as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto – to the Musharraf government. But these delusions will eventually shatter. At some point we will surely see that ElBaradei’s warning
Pervez Hoodbhoy is chairman of the department of physics at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad and the author of “Islam and Science: Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality.”