@theindpanoramaOct 19, 2018 – 8:06 pm EDT
By Ven Parmeswaran
“9/11 happened because Pakistan supported the Taliban and the Al Qaeda. We discovered that Pakistan was the epicenter of global terrorism. Almost all terrorists emanated from Pakistan and committed terrorism in the U.S.A. and Europe. President George W Bush sent his Secretary of State, Gen. Collin Powell to Pakistan, with whom the USA had a Mutual Security Pact from 1954. Powell met Gen. Musharraf of Pakistan and made a deal. Pakistan agreed to cooperate fully with the USA and provide all help in finding Osama bin Laden and other leaders of Al Qaeda.”
President Obama had intelligence that Pakistan was hiding and protecting Osama Bin Laden in one of military cantonments. In 2011, that is 10 years after 9/11, the U.S. secretly got rid of Osama Bin Laden. The Pakistani doctor who confirmed the identity of Osama Bin Laden has been held in jail by Pakistan. Thus, Pakistan betrayed its ally, the U.S.A. For ten years, Pakistan was trying to use Osama bin Laden’s leadership to stage terrorism in India. The mutual trust between the USA and Pakistan was broken. However, President Obama chose not to punish Pakistan.
WAKE UP CALL BY PRESIDENT TRUMP
President Trump is the first U.S. President to challenge Pakistan. He wrote in his tweet: “The U.S. has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies, deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.” President Trump withdrew military aid and gave an ultimatum to Pakistan to stop supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan and to dismantle all terror organizations and terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan.
PAKISTAN’S ECONOMY IN SHAMBLES WITH NO FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Mr. Imran Khan, the new Prime Minister of Pakistan has been elected with the tacit support and help of Pakistan’s military. For his survival his first loyalty is to the military. Pakistan is negotiating with the I.M.F. for a $12 billion loan. The U.S. has leverage in the IMF being the largest investor. The IMF cannot approve the loan without consent from the USA. Pakistan has been devoting its scarce resources to keep on producing nuclear bombs.
Pakistan is more dangerous than North Korea as it does not have a centralized control on its nuclear weapons, making them vulnerable to theft and sale, former Senator Larry Pressler warned, describing both the nations as rogue states. He feared that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons might be used against the US, warning of the possibility of someone buying these nuclear weapons from generals. “The weapons could be transported to the US fairly simply. Just as 9/11 was a very simple operation run by 20 or 30 people,” he said. “The Pakistani nuclear bombs are not controlled. They are subject to sale or stealing and they could be easily gotten out of Pakistan to just about anywhere in the world,” he said speaking at an event sponsored by The Hudson Institute, a top American think-tank. The former top American Senator, however, said he does not think that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are going to be used against India. I do not agree. The Senator said “I think what North Korea needs is just a lot of attention and hand-holding. Pakistan Is a different thing because you don’t really have one person in-charge. I think Pakistan is more dangerous to the US,” he reiterated in response to a question.
“We should declare Pakistan a terrorist state. We should put certain sanctions on Pakistan,” he said.
Why does Pakistan need to keep on increasing the number of bombs? There are thousands of nuclear weapons in the world today. According to the latest count from the Federation of American Scientists, the 5 original nuclear powers have a combined 15,465 nuclear weapons between them, most of which are divided amongst the US and Russia. Yet, the fastest growing arsenal in the world is not included in this number. While Pakistan has a range of 100-120 nuclear weapons in its possession—a figure that pales in comparison to the US or Russia—Islamabad has devoted a tremendous amount of its military budget to growing its arsenal and producing the associated delivery systems that are needed to launch them.
More alarming than Pakistan’s current stockpile is the projected growth of its arsenal over the next decade. In a wide ranging report for the Council on Foreign Relations, professor Gregory D Koblentz of George Mason University assessed that Pakistan had enough highly enriched uranium to increase its stockpile to 200 nuclear weapons by 2020 if fully utilized. Percentage wise, this would mean that Pakistan could have as many nuclear weapons as the U.K. by 2020. Moreover, Pakistan falls outside the purview of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
To guarantee the ability to rapidly expand their stockpile, the Pakistani military is investing in reprocessing plutonium in addition to enriching uranium. In January 2015, the Institute for Science and International Security reported that the Pakistanis opened up their fourth plutonium facility at Khushab, which provides Islamabad with an additional channel to construct nuclear bomb material in a relatively short period of time. “Its expansion appears to be part of an effort to increase the production of weapons-grade plutonium,” the ISIS report (Pakistan’s intelligence agency) reads: “Allowing Pakistan to build a larger number of miniaturized plutonium-based nuclear weapons that can complement its existing highly enriched uranium nuclear weapons.”
PAKISTANI NUKES A MAJOR U.S. INTELLIGENCE PRIORITY
To say that the U.S. Intelligence community is closely monitoring the development of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program would be an understatement. The U.S. government is doing more than just monitoring: they are actively preparing for a terrible catastrophe and engaging Pakistani officials in the hopes that they will stop pouring resources into the expansion of their program. The last thing Washington wants or needs is a nuclear crisis flashpoint in a dangerous and unpredictable region filled with an alphabet soup of Islamist terrorist groups. The US government under both George W Bush and Barack Obama has been trying to prevent such a crisis scenario from occurring.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Despite all the attempts from the nuclear nonproliferation community, Pakistan will continue to develop and strengthen its nuclear deterrent as long as the high brass in the Pakistani military continues to have an India-centric mindset in its defense policy. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence in 1947, and in each case, the Pakistanis were either the losers or forced into a stalemate before acceding to a ceasefire (1971 breakaway of East Pakistan was an especially embarrassing defeat for the Pakistanis). Islamabad has not forgotten these cases ever since. And for the Pakistanis, the lessons of these past conflicts are all the same: we cannot repeat history.
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S NEW WORLD ORDER: INDIA AND THE USA HAVE SIGNED A DEAL THAT MAKES THEM CLOSEST ALLIES ON A PAR WITH THE NATO MEMBERS
The US and the IMF have told Pakistan that it cannot use IMF loan to repay China or divert the resources to increasing its nuclear arsenal. President Trump, unlike George W Bush or Obama, is challenging Pakistan to behave. In effect, Trump is saying that he will not tolerate Pakistan to betray again. Trump is also anxious to withdraw from Afghanistan and he knows Pakistan is the bottleneck. Based on his tough negotiations and policies towards his close allies, be it Canada or Western Europe, Trump means business. Therefore, it is to be hoped that the U.S. will not allow Pakistan to mess up with international security. I think President Trump is giving clear messages to Pakistan’s new Prime Minister and its military/ISIS leaders.
(Scarsdale, New York based Ven Parameswaran is Chairman, Asian American Republican Committee founded in 1988)