Another attempt to malign Pakistan nuclear program

By: Daily.Pk

Pakistan’s nuclear program has been subjected to sustained propaganda by Indo-US-Israeli media and officials since early 1980s. From 2005 onwards, propaganda snipes became more and more razor-sharp and scathing. Main theme revolves around weak security apparatus and nuclear weapons falling into wrong hands.

Possibility of Islamists seizing power and taking control of nukes was repeatedly drummed up. It was also said that Taliban sympathisers within Pak army could help terrorist organisations acquire some of the nukes. When representative of Afghanistan was elected to the board of IAEA in October last; first thing he did was to urge IAEA to press Pakistan tackle AQ Khan led ring responsible for spread of atom-bomb know-how. He wanted Khan to be interrogated and expressed fears that Afghan Taliban insurgents sheltering in border areas of Pakistan might one day grab off one of those bombs which will have grave ramifications for world security. According to recent Wall Street Journal, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are unstable and to save South Asia from any nuclear crisis, US should take steps.

Israel fears that Pakistan may transfer nuclear technology to any of its Arab neighbours. It has placed Pakistan on top of hit list since it considers nuclear Pakistan a threat to its existence. Israeli first Prime Minister Ben Gurion had stated, “It is essential that we strike and crush Pakistanis, enemies of Jews and Zionism”. Indian concerns emanate from Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence which has forestalled Indian aggressive designs. Israel and India therefore wants liquidation of Pakistan. Since USA is guardian of these two states, it considers itself morally bound to not only allay their worries but also to ensure denuclearization of Pakistan. US officials have been exerting all sorts of pressures on Pakistani leaders to find out the location of all the nukes since without this basic data it becomes difficult for them to mount an attack to either hijack or destroy the nukes in situ.

Bruce Riedel, well-known for his anti-Pakistan feelings, said in early May, “A Jihadist state in Pakistan is neither imminent nor inevitable; it may not be likely, but it is a real possibility”. He warned that a Jihadist Pakistan would be a strategic nightmare for USA, South Asia and the world. In his view, a Jihadist takeover would make NATO mission in Afghanistan increasingly untenable and encourage Iran to accelerate its nuclear program. Michael E. O’Hanlon working in Washington Brookings Institution queried, “What could we do if Pakistan collapsed and security of roughly 100 nuclear weapons could no longer be vouched for”? He recommended unilateral American action.

Riedel distorted the news of a suicide attack on a bus carrying KRL employees moving through a densely populated and busy patch of Rawalpindi along Peshawar road near Westridge in first week of July killing six persons. Despite the fact that site of incident was about 40 km away from Kahuta, he wrote that Pakistani nuclear sites are already under attack. Earlier on, Riedel had urged the US government to work even with Israel to isolate Pakistan and ultimately end Pak nuclear capabilities. During his visit to Islamabad in May 1998, he along with Strobe Talbot had exerted maximum pressure on Nawaz government not to respond to Indian nuclear tests. I am sure he must be carrying a grudge since Pakistan refused to come under pressure and gave a tit-for-tat response to silence noisy India. He is a great Indian lover and from his uttering and writings it appears he is a hired Indian spokesman.

In his last large-sized article appearing in New York Times in July titled “˜Armageddon in Islamabad’, he has tried to undermine Pakistan military by overplaying same old card of Taliban threat. Besides saying that the military had responded against militants reluctantly, he says that none should be misled by recent positive developments since threat of takeover by Taliban in Pakistan is a distinct possibility. He alleges many within Pak Army having soft corner for Jihadists and prone to marrying up with Taliban. He stretches his imaginations to limits by conjecturing that conservative elements within PML-N and PPP favorable towards Taliban movement with the support of religious minded army officers would form Islamic Emirate of Pakistan and welcome Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and Zawahiri in Pakistan. Gazing through his crystal ball, he postulates purging of army, nuclear set ups and ISI of secularists and forcing them to flee to western countries.

Climax of his diatribe is explained in the last part of his article in which he goes berserk in describing a doomsday scenario. He says that religious ministers equipped with nukes would go bonkers and fire nuclear warheads on Israel, India and American bases in Afghanistan and Gulf countries. He says that since Pakistan does not have delivery means to hit US mainland, some other means would be evolved to do so. To prevent such a horrific outcome he suggests outright military invasion, naval blockade, military coup or reins of power given to MQM. What more proof do our rulers need than this damning evidence of US intentions and US double game?

In continuation of malicious campaign highlighting vulnerability of our nuclear assets, another bizarre story has been floated by a UK national Dr. Shaun Gregory. After describing the robustness of Pakistan nuclear program, he contradicts himself by claiming that militants had attacked nuclear and missile sites at Kamra Airbase, Sargodha Airbase in 2007 and at POF Wah (an ammunition manufacturing factory) in August 2008. Hollowness of the claim can be gauged from the fact that none of the mentioned sites have anything to do with nuclear weapons. Suicide attacks had taken place on the buses of air force in the vicinity of Kamra and Sargodha airbases; in first case a children bus plying on Kamra-Attock road and in second case airmen bus plying on Sargodha-Faisalabad road. In each case, the attacker was no not even near the outer most boundary walls of the bases. Likewise, suicide attack took place at a distance from one of the gates of POF Wah and not within. So how come security was breached as claimed by Gregory? These incidents were reported in the world press and widely condemned. Facilitators of the crimes were traced and nabbed. None of prowling intelligence agencies or media persons linked the three areas with nuclear components storage sites.

The good old professor woke up from his slumber after a lapse of two years and for reasons best known to him decided to add nukes and missiles to the three sites to make his story sensational. It can be safely assumed that Gregory teaching in Bradford University and located eight-hour crow flight away from Pakistan has no means to acquire trans-frontier information. It is therefore logical to conclude that he has either lost his marbles or has been fed the information and asked to frame a story. Latter looks plausible, otherwise it was not possible for a prestigious newsletter of Combating Terrorism Centre of US Military Academy at West Point to publish this cockeyed story in July edition.

News have been deliberately spread to keep the issue alive and keep the world informed that concern of nuclear weapons getting stolen is genuine. Unknown Professor must have been paid well for uttering falsehood. Strangely, this news was splashed in media within days of Pentagon issuing a statement expressing complete satisfaction over security arrangements of our nukes. Adm. Mike Mullen, Holbrooke and other senior officials expressed similar sentiments. Is it a coincidence that each time an assurance is given by a US official, it is promptly negated either by a paranoid US think tank or another US official or someone from Britain. I advise Riedel and Gregory to concentrate on their primary works rather than indulging in gossip since they will earn unsavoury reputation rather than fame. Asif H Raja

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