Don’t worry about Pakistan’s governmentThe US has plenty of WMD [Archives:2004/710/Opinion]

February 9 2004

By Maha Emad
For the Yemen Times

Following the Soviet Union's collapse, the world witnessed a specter of rampant nuclear proliferation, fuelled by thefts and leakages of fissile material, in the former Soviet republics.
Some 20 seizures of weapons-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium, believed to have originated from those states, are reported to have been recorded internationally in the last decade alone.
In 1996, the CIA's director, John Deutch, in a testimony before a US Senate committee, narrated many cases of nuclear smuggling, involving nationals of 18 countries. However, no Pakistani national was involved in any of those cases.
Thefts and leakages of fissile material also did take place in the USA in the 1990s. However, after initial reports, suggesting that the stolen material might have found its way to Israel, the mass media adopted a complete silence, as if nothing had happened. It is common knowledge that the Zionist state has vigorously pursued its clandestine nuclear programme, since early 50s, in collaboration with the USA and the West, and has stockpiled 300 to 350 nuclear weapons over the years.
The law enforcement agencies maintain that as with other contraband items what was seized is only a small fraction of what has been circulated through smuggling channels, while bulk passes undetected. Even the most efficient and well-equipped anti-smuggling establishments cannot detect more that 10 per cent of the total that passes through illicitly. The bulk remains hidden or invisible like an iceberg, whose tip is only visible above the sea surface.
The international community, in particular the USA and the European countries, however, opted to ignore the massive thefts and leakages of the fissile material both in the USA and the nuclear loose states emerging on the world map following the Soviet Union's implosion.
A UN disarmament commissioner, Therese Delpech has recently asserted that individuals serve as a front for states involved in leaking secrets. In reality, these private networks allowed states to hide, Delpech – the French member of the United Nation's Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, told Radio Free France International. She believed that private proliferation is often a front for public proliferation.
Therese Delpech might have made this statement on the basis of her personal knowledge and solid information. Her statement impels one to deduce that smuggling of nuclear material to Israel, and some other states was, in fact, clandestine operations or shipments of the fissile material undertaken on behalf of the Zionist state or its western patrons, including the USA. This proves that the West has been actively and fully involved in the nuclear proliferation. One may further substantiate this conclusion by stating that there are, at least, two recorded cases when, in the 1990s, the Russian managers of secret defence plants offered plutonium for sale to visiting foreign scientists.
Regarding the USA, it has the largest arsenal of nuclear and biological weapons in the world. It is the only country which had so far used its nuclear arsenal twice and dropped atom bombs on the Japanese cities – Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and on Nagasaki three days later. Further, Washington has yet to ratify the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, while it has withdrawn from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia.
Though this leading country of the world should have set an example for others, the American leaders, for reasons best known to them, opted to keep their country outside the purview of international treaties, controls and safeguards as far as nuclear non-proliferation is concerned. On the other hand, they spare no effort in pressurizing, coercing and forcing other countries, even those pursing a peaceful nuclear programme, to rollback or freeze their programmes, while the USA, itself, continues to vigorously pursue an ambitious nuclear programme.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – the world watchdog to check nuclear proliferation – seems not to be bothered, at all, by this odd behaviour of the sole Super Power. IAEA's selective approach in implementing nuclear control regimes reminds one of Pakistani police constables who, fearing retribution, ignore the mighty ones if they happen to breach the law, but pounce upon the weak with full might should they ever indulge in an unlawful act, even due to their ignorance of the law.
Now, a systematic and vigorous campaign against Pakistan's nuclear assets appears to be undertaken by elements in the western world, which intensely dislike acquisition of nuclear capability by a Muslim country or wish to keep the global population, in particular in the third world countries, at their mercy. Their allegations revolve around proliferation of nuclear technology and nuclear related information. All sorts of stories are put out at regular intervals, though these may have never been proven or substantiated by those who promote and concoct them.
In instances quoted earlier, the West tried to cover up and put a veil of secrecy on the leakages, thefts and illegal transfers of the fissile materials from their countries or with the connivance of those states. However, some circles in the West are now trying to highlight the reported acts of a solitary individual, who might have leaked some nuclear related information, to satiate his personal greed.
The authorities in Pakistan are vigorously investigating the matter. But, still some elements in the West, as pointed out by President General Pervez Musharraf, while talking to the Press during his recent to Davos, have put Pakistan in the world spotlight while possible breaches by the European countries were passing in silence. President Musharraf underlined that there are European countries involved since the technology involved advanced metallurgy found largely in Europe.
While Pakistan has gone out of the way to prove its innocence, and its leaders, as well as Foreign Office has, time and again, assured the world community that Pakistan has not and would never proliferate nuclear weapons in future, none of the accusers ever questioned Israel's nuclear arsenal or Indian continuous acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, along with regularly improvised carrier systems. Rather, the West continues to bolster the offensive capabilities of both the countries to further its own global designs.
Admitted, since 1974, Pakistan had a covert nuclear programme, after India tested a nuclear bomb. The organization and individuals running this programme enjoyed a degree of autonomy, which could provide opportunities to unscrupulous individuals, if they were out for personal gains.
But, the programme is no longer covert. It is, now, overt and Pakistan has also taken steps to block the possibility of any leak of nuclear secrets by establishing strong and foolproof custodial controls. After conducting thorough investigations, the appropriate agencies in Pakistan have concluded that no government in individuals Pakistan ever sanctioned or authorized any one to proliferate.
Thus only they, and not Pakistan's government, were involved in the affair. Investigation in the allegations against top scientists, much to the dislike of some rightists' elements in Pakistan, is also in progress and Pakistani authorities have assured the international community! that they would be very harsh with the guilty ones and punish those enemies of the state.
The US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, after an hour long meeting with Pakistan President in Davos, has expressed satisfaction over steps taken by Pakistan to control nuclear non-proliferation. Dick Cheney's appreciation of Pakistan's steps for non-proliferation is certainly a welcome development. It is hoped that Cheney's satisfaction will put an end to stories circulated periodically by the western media about Pakistan's nuclear programme.
The western analysts must take into consideration the responsible behaviour demonstrated by Pakistani authorities, through the evolution of nuclear developments on the Sub-Continent. Pakistan had offered seven different proposals to avoid South Asia's nuclearisation, but nobody bothered to promote Pakistani suggestions. It is a well-known fact that Pakistan was forced to acquire nuclear weapons because of the operative situation in the region following detonation of a nuclear device by India. Undoubtedly, Pakistan fully comprehends the necessity and implications of responsible behaviour. Important functionaries of the state have repeatedly assured the skeptics that Pakistan has not proliferated in the past, nor will it ever proliferate in the future.
Further, no transfer of nuclear technology has ever taken place from Pakistan. Only some information had possibly been leaked from here and the Government was determined to pursue the case and punish those found guilty. The facts belie the propaganda unleashed to tarnish Pakistan's image. In contrast to what has been propagated, Pakistan has never wavered in its commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, provided India agreed to do the same.