The Pakistani Nuclear Horn Continues to Grow: Daniel 8

Pakistan expanding plutonium production capacity for use in nuclear weapons – SIPRI

Photo:IANS

Pakistan is increasing its capacity to produce plutonium for use in nuclear weapons in tune with an increase in global stockpiles of atomic weapons, missiles and aircraft delivery systems, led by the United States and Russia who appear locked in competition to modernise their nuclear warheads.

The raw material for nuclear weapons is fissile material, either highly enriched uranium (HEU) or separated plutonium. China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the USA have produced both HEU and plutonium for use in their nuclear weapons. The Indian and Israeli arsenal is mainly plutonium based. So far Pakistan has mainly relied on HEU for its stockpile of around 165 nuclear weapons as per the latest estimates. But Islamabad appears to be diversifying, by enhancing its ability to produce weapon-grade plutonium, according to the findings of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Released on Monday, the SIPRI Yearbook 2021 assesses the current state of armaments, disarmament and international security. A key finding is that despite an overall decrease in the number of nuclear warheads in 2020, more have been deployed with operational forces.While the US and Russia continued to reduce their overall nuclear weapon inventories by dismantling retired warheads in 2020, both are estimated to have had around 50 more nuclear warheads in operational deployment at the start of 2021 than a year earlier, says the report.

The report said that at the start of 2021, nine states e the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea) e possessed approximately 13,080 nuclear weapons, of which 3825 were deployed with operational forces. Approximately 2000 of these are kept in a state of high operational alert. 

While it marked a decrease from the 13,400 that SIPRI estimated these states possessed at the beginning of 2020, the estimated number of nuclear weapons currently deployed with operational forces increased to 3825, from 3720 last year. Around 2000 of these e nearly all of which belonged to Russia or the US ewere kept in a state of high operational alert, the report mentions. 

The institute said that three emerging trends in the Asia and Oceania region remained a cause for concern – the growing ChineseeUnited States rivalry combined with an increasingly assertive Chinese foreign policy; the growing violence related to identity politics, based on ethnic or religious polarization (or both); and, the increase in transnational violent jihadist groups, some of the most organized groups of which are active in South East Asia, most notably in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. 

“The overall number of warheads in global military stockpiles now appears to be increasing, a worrisome sign that the declining trend that has characterized global nuclear arsenals since the end of the cold war has stalled,” the report quotes Hans M. Kristensen, Associate Senior Fellow with SIPRI’s Nuclear Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme and Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), as saying. 

Pakistan nuclear stockpile growing

According to the International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM), an independent group of arms-control and non-proliferation experts from both nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon states, Pakistan – a nuclear weapon state outside of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty – continues production of fissile materials for weapons. 

The Princeton-based panel said that, as of the beginning of 2020, Pakistan had an accumulated stockpile estimated as about 410 kg of plutonium which has been produced at four production reactors in Khushab in the Sargodha Division of the Punjab province. 

It further mentions that, as of the beginning of 2020, Pakistan is estimated to have a stockpile of 3.9e0.4 tons of HEU and continues to produce HEU for its nuclear weapon programme. 

“Uncertainty about Pakistan’s uranium resources, and the operating history and enrichment capacity of its centrifuge plant at Kahuta and a possible second plant at Gadwal (which may be dedicated to HEU production) limits the reliability of the estimate,” the panel says in its country report on Pakistan. 

Last year, in a detailed research done on the basis of recent and historic public domain satellite imagery, Washington’s Institute for Science and International Security identified a significant and previously undocumented extension to the Chashma reprocessing plant and considerable development of co-located infrastructure over the last decade. 

“At a minimum, the extension to the plutonium separation plant and associated facilities at Chashma demonstrates an on-going commitment to invest in and operate plutonium separation technology at industrial scale,” the institute revealed in a detailed report.- IANS

WHY PAKISTAN BECAME A NUCLEAR HORN: Daniel 8

WHY PAKISTAN WENT NUCLEAR?

Pakistan becomes a nuclear power in 1998, Why Pakistan went Nuclear?

The hardcore right-wing extremist BJP has a long-held desire to make India a member of the nuclear club. After being sworn in as the Prime Minister in 1998, the nationalist leader, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee announced his national plan of governance in March 1998. Since making India a ‘nuclear power’ was among the key promises that BJP had made during the election campaign, Mr. Vajpayee didn’t take much time to reaffirm that. In pursuit of this, he declared India’s determination to conduct nuclear tests. Pakistan was quite concerned with this Indian warmongering and aggressive mindset. The then Foreign Minister, Mr. Gohar Ayub Khan, appealed to the international community to take notice and put sanctions on India to forbid it from following its nuclear ambitions. This was also intended to make the world realize the BJP-led government’s developing nuclear threat that would put at stake the peace of the world in general and the region in particular. Specifically, when it was reported in The New York Times that as per the Western Intelligence sources “India has stored around 100 nuclear bombs and can rapidly assemble them,” Pakistan’s deliberation was quite significant and timely.

Subsequently, on April 2, 1998, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wrote letters to the international leaders, including President Clinton, urging his support for India’s declarations, which he described as a huge leap toward fully operationalizing the Indian nuclear capability. He also asserted that “Pakistan would be forced to take notice of these alarming trends, and it will have no choice but to exercise its sovereign right to take adequate security measures.” Unfortunately, all of these efforts went in vain because not only did the world community turn a blind eye to India’s nuclear tests, but international agencies were unable to prevent India from demonstrating its nuclear weapon capability. Then ultimately, Pakistan had no choice but to conduct a nuclear test in 1998 in order to reestablish the balance of power in the region; that India was trying to tilt in its favor under its great power aspirations. Pakistan, unlike India, never desired to be regarded as a global power; instead, its nuclear capability is purely meant to provide a credible and reliable defence.   

Pakistan has practiced strategic restraint for a long time. However, with a frightening desire to dominate South Asia, India has been dramatically involved in an extensive and all-encompassing modernization of its conventional and nuclear capabilities. Despite still being reluctant to indulge in an arms race, Pakistan was well aware of the sensitivity that such Indian adventurism would bring large-scale military modernization to the region. 

While being a responsible state, Pakistan believes in peaceful coexistence but it requires serious efforts to settle long-standing disputes such as Kashmir; since peace and prosperity in the region are directly associated with the Kashmir dispute. However, even after 23 years, Since the Indian nuclear tests in May 1998 the current extremist government in India led by Mr. Modi is following the same legacy of the BJP yet in a more aggressive way.

The reckless Indian nuclear horn: Revelation 8

India’s nuclear recklessness

Part II

So the latest report of uranium being sold and smuggled out of India is not new. Why the international community has chosen to turn a blind eye and why the IAEA has deliberately ignored these continuing episodes of Uranium theft and smuggling incidents are serious questions that need to be raised on all relevant forums. With this terrible track record, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) should not even begin to consider India for membership till its nuclear safety record can be visibly improved.

Nor is this all – in terms of problems related to India’s nuclear development. The Indian state’s proliferation record is equally poor. While Pakistan has been and continues to be pilloried ad nauseum over the Dr A Q Khan episode, the silence over the Indian state’s massive proliferation record reveals the hypocrisy and duality of approach of the international community on the entire nuclear issue.

It does not surprise one because Israel’s nuclear capability and any discussion on Israel’s nuclear programme has been kept strictly out of all international agendas on nuclear proliferation and nuclear weapons including in the IAEA. Why states like Pakistan do not raise this is what is inexplicable.

India’s proliferation record as a state: On March 10, 2006, Albright and Basu of the Institute for Science and International Security wrote that the ISIS had “uncovered a well-developed, active, and secret Indian programme to outfit its uranium enrichment programme and circumvent other countries’ export control efforts.” Also, according to them, India leaked out sensitive nuclear technology in order to procure material for its nuclear programme.

Even before these revelations, India’s proliferation record was highly suspect. It had a strategic relationship with Iraq, which included nuclear cooperation going back to the first Indian nuclear test in 1974, as highlighted in a document of the Washington, DC-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS). It was in 1974 that Saddam flew into India specifically to sign a nuclear cooperation agreement with the Indira Gandhi government. This agreement included exchange of scientists, training and technology transfers. Iraqi scientists were working in India’s fuel reprocessing laboratories when India separated the plutonium for its first nuclear explosive device.

Later, those same Iraqi scientists were in charge of the nuclear fuel reprocessing unit supplied to Iraq by the Italian company, CNEN. This was followed by an Indian scientist spending a year at the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission’s computer centre training Iraqis in the use of nuclear computer codes. So it was hardly surprising to find Iraq supporting India’s nuclear tests. The Ba’ath Party’s newspaper, ‘Al-Thawra’, declared, “We cannot see how anyone can ask India not to develop nuclear weapons and its long-range missiles at a time it is like any other big state with its human and scientific potential.” (ISIS Brief, May 28, 1998).

Also, in May 1998, a Baghdad weekly, owned by Saddam Hussein’s eldest son Uday, announced that India had agreed to enroll several groups of Iraqi engineers “in advanced technological courses” scheduled for mid-July. The field of training was left unspecified.

An Indian company, NEC Engineers Private Ltd, is believed to have helped Iraq to acquire equipment and materials “capable of being used for the production of chemicals for mass destruction,” according to a CNN report of January 26, 2003. The company also sent technical personnel to Iraq, including to the Fallujah II chemical plant. Between 1998 and 2001, NEC Engineers Private Ltd shipped 10 consignments of highly sensitive equipment, including titanium vessels and centrifugal pumps to Iraq.

India also had a nuclear cooperation agreement with Iran, signed in February 1975. It began helping in the completion of the Bushehr plant between 1980 and 1983, including the sending of nuclear scientists and engineers to Iran in November 1982. In 1991, despite US opposition, India negotiated the sale of a 10 MW nuclear reactor to Iran and Dr Prasad worked in Bushehr after he retired in July 2000 as head of the Nuclear Corporation of India. Another Indian, Narander Singh, also worked on Iran’s nuclear programme. That is why, in February 2004, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Hasan Rowhani, visited New Delhi for talks with the Indian prime minister.

In March 2007, two Indian nationals, Sudarshan and Mythili Gopal, were arrested in the US for illegally transferring latest computer technology meant for missile guidance system to Indian government R&D institutes: Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre; Bharat Dynamics Ltd; and Aeronautical Development Establishment.

And this is not all, in terms of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) proliferation. In 1992, India supplied thiodiglycol and other chemicals also to Iran and, in 1993, 30 tonnes of trimethyl-phosphite was supplied to Iran by United Phosphorus of India. It is also known that an Indian company exported chemicals to Iraq for Saddam’s missile programme and a director of that company, Hans Raj Shiv was under arrest in New Delhi.

Despite these public nuclear and other WMD proliferation revelations about the state of India, the US has continued to press for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The discovery of India’s chemical weapons stash was another mark of rogue behaviour by the Indian state on the issue of WMD, revealed when India had to finally confess and destroy its chemical weapons after the Convention on Chemical Weapons came into force.

The special treatment meted out to India and Israel on WMD reflects the discriminatory approach towards the entire issue of nuclear weapons proliferation. Clearly for many Western states it is not the issue of preventing proliferation but of denying certain states nuclear status – and these states happen to be primarily Muslim states. Therein lies the entire crux of the proliferation issue.

Concluded

The writer is the federal minister for human rights.

Twitter: @ShireenMazari1

The views expressed by the writer are her own.

Antichrist warns PMF their reputation is at stake

Sadr warns PMF their reputation is at stake

A+ A-ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Thursday told Iraqi militia groups to dedicate their lives to serving the people and to respect the chain of command, warning them that their reputation is at stake, hours after a prominent militia leader was released and acquitted of terror-related charges, sparking outrage among Iraq’s protest movement.

“If someone who belongs to you commits an offense, do not support him… And if his general commander tries to punish him or investigate him, then wait for the results of the investigation and do not be hasty in leaving him or defending him, for neither the jihadi nor the resister is above making mistakes or receiving punishment,” Sadr said in a message to the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF or Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic).

“The reputation of the jihadists is at stake, and everyone is responsible for it… Serve your people without discrimination between one race and another or one sect or another,” he added.

PMF leader Qassem Musleh was released on Wednesday after the Supreme Judicial Council said the investigative court did not find any evidence to prove the he was involved in the assassination of a Karbala activist leader, Ihab al-Wazni. 

“Qassem Musleh was accused of killing the activist Ihab al-Wazni, but no evidence was presented against him, especially as he proved, according to his passport information, that he was outside Iraq when Wazni was assassinated, and he denied committing or participating in this crime,” the Judicial Council stated, adding that Musleh also did not incite violence against the activist. 

Unknown gunmen fatally shot Wazni near his Karbala home in May. In a televised interview with al-Hurra last month, Wazni’s mother said that Musleh threatened to kill her son multiple times. 

Musleh’s release was celebrated by the PMF, but condemned by activists who believe the Iraqi government does not have the ability to confront the powerful militias. 

Sadr issued a warning to the PMF: “We, the mujahideen were not born for life, nor were we created for chairs, authority and domination. Rather, we were created for the sake of the homeland and the people… No domination, no authority, no chairs, no money, and no fame.”

Musleh was released a day after a top-ranked official from the Iraqi intelligence service was assassinated. The intelligence service was involved in the militia leader’s arrest. 

Since the start of the protest movement in October 2019, dozens of activists have been killed and several have been kidnapped and tortured. The killers act with impunity as investigations have yielded few results. Iranian-backed militias affiliated with the PMF, which are under the umbrella of Iraq’s security forces, are widely blamed.

Nuclear winter with the first nuclear war: Revelation 8

Professor: Nuclear war might cause crop failures, famine; ways to prevent

This is a screen capture of Alan Robock addressing a virtual Friends of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (FORNL) meeting on nuclear war and its potential impact on the world and its inhabitants.

For most people, “climate change” conjures up images of fires, floods, severe wind damage and humans suffering from extreme storms, long droughts, sea level rise and heat waves as the air and oceans warm up and glaciers melt.

But for physicists who have been modeling the potential environmental impacts of a nuclear war since the early 1980s, humans could cause climate change triggered by temperatures running in the reverse direction — an instant Ice Age lasting more than a decade. Temperatures would plummet below freezing most days. The predicted result: food crops would fail and massive starvation would kill millions of people who survived the blast effects and radioactivity of nuclear bomb explosions.

In his recent virtual talk on the climatic and humanitarian impacts of nuclear war to Friends of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Alan Robock explained the “nuclear winter” theory. The distinguished professor of climate science in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University said the phrase nuclear winter was coined in a 1983 Science magazine paper coauthored by Carl Sagan, the famous astronomer and science communicator. The phrase describes a phenomenon first predicted in 1982 by two scientists in a Swedish journal article, “Nuclear War: The Aftermath.”

“Paul Crutzen and John Birks were the first to point out that there will be massive fires and that the smoke from the fires could change climate,” Robock said. He then showed an illustration of Earth’s Northern Hemisphere covered by a cloud of smoke that moved south.

“The smoke comes from fires that would be started by detonated nuclear weapons,” he said. “If there was enough smoke to block the sun’s heat and light, the temperatures would plunge below freezing even in the summertime. We call that nuclear winter. It would be cold, dry and dark. The heating of the stratosphere would destroy the ozone layer so more ultraviolet radiation would reach the surface. Food crops would die, causing global famine

Robock’s 1984 paper in the scientific journal Nature indicated that a nuclear war would produce higher-than-normal amounts of sunlight-reflecting ice and snow, making Earth even colder.

He surmised that his paper and the papers of American and Russian scientists doing climate modeling may have halted the arms race between 1986 and 1993, based on statements citing scientists’ conclusions by former American and Soviet Union presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.

But, Robock said, “We still have 10,000 nuclear weapons deployed and over 13,000 weapons on the planet (down from 70,000 in 1986). Nine nations possess nuclear weapons, but the U.S. and Russia have 90% of them.”

The superpowers have about 6,000 warheads each, he added, “but the other seven have only a few hundred or fewer than a hundred each. The problem has not been solved.”

He and others have been involved in modeling the climate and crop impacts of millions of tons of smoke injected into the upper atmosphere by a regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan and a larger nuclear war between Russia and the United States. Here is his conclusion:

“A nuclear war between any nuclear states, using much less than one percent of the current nuclear arsenal, would produce climate change unprecedented in human history. A small nuclear war could reduce food production by 10 to 40 percent for a decade, with massive increases in ultraviolet radiation (which causes deadly skin cancers).

“The current arsenal can still produce nuclear winter, causing global famine and killing millions of people. In a U.S.-Russia nuclear war, more people could die in India or China than in the U.S. or Russia even if no bombs were dropped in India or China. The effects of regional or global nuclear war would last for more than a decade.”

Robock, a member of the Physicists Coalition for Nuclear Threat Reduction, has spoken to a number of university physics departments to encourage physicists to advocate to Congress and stakeholders that nuclear weapons should be eliminated.

“We are lucky that for the past 75 years there has not been a second nuclear war,” he said. “Here are the immediate steps we can take to make this less likely. Take U.S. land-based missiles off hair trigger alert. Give up granting the U.S. president the sole authority to launch nuclear weapons. Change our nuclear policy to one of ‘no first use of nuclear weapons.’ Stand down our land-based missiles and begin to dismantle them as part of a rapid reduction of our nuclear arsenal.”

Robock provided evidence that nuclear arsenals do not deter conventional weapon attacks by non-nuclear states and terrorist groups. He added that the world has been endangered by several “nuclear close calls,” including on “Black Saturday,” Oct. 27, 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis when the U.S. and the Soviet Union came close to initiating nuclear attacks.

“A nuclear war could start tomorrow by accident, hackers, computer failure, bad sensors or unstable leaders,” Robock concluded. “The only way to prevent a global catastrophe is to get rid of nuclear weapons.”

Chaos before the first nuclear war: Revelation 8

Chaos on the Horizon: Pakistan Wants a Risky Reset

The Biden administration’s approach to South Asia has focused primarily on the promotion of U.S.-India relations. For example, the administration sent Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to meet Indian leaders in New Delhi. It stressed the importance of India at its Interim National Security Strategic Guidance. Additionally, it has actively promoted the U.S.-India-Japan-Australia Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, also known as the Quad. Although the results of these policies have been mixed, shortcomings have not resulted from a lack of U.S. interest.

Even as it has sought to cultivate India, however, the Biden administration haslargely ignored the other big, nuclear-armed state in South Asia: Pakistan. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin bypassed Pakistan on his recent visit to the region, as did climate czar John Kerry. President Joe Biden has not even spoken to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pakistani and U.S. National Security Advisors Moeed Yusuf and Jake Sullivan did meet in Geneva last week. But their discussion yielded only a terse statement reporting that the two sides had talked about various issues of “mutual interest,” including means of advancing “practical cooperation,” and had agreed to “continue the conversation.” 

It is reasonable for the Biden administration to prioritize U.S.-India relations over its relationship with Pakistan. Despite the United States and Pakistan’s ostensible partnership over the past twenty years in the Global War on Terror, the relationship between the two countries frayed badly during that conflict. Pakistan often worked at cross purposes with the United States, supporting the Taliban and related groups, and undermining coalition efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the United States and India developed a close partnership, with India becoming central to U.S. efforts to offset rising Chinese power in the Indo-Pacific region.  

Nonetheless, Pakistan remains animportant regional power. It possesses a significant nuclear weapons capability. It is locked in a longstanding security competition with India. It enjoys a close relationship with China. And it wields considerable influence in Afghanistan. Failure to engage Pakistan reduces the ability of the United States to understand Pakistan’s position, and potentially to affect its behavior, in these critical areas.

The Biden administration should not, then, continue to ignore Pakistan. But, in its efforts to strike a better balance, it must not overcorrect and move too far in the direction of U.S.-Pakistan cooperation. Many influential voices advocate just such an approach.Leading analysts argue, for example, that the United States should take advantage of new leadership in Washington, impending U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and a growing Pakistani need for foreign investment, not just to engage Pakistan, but to reset U.S.-Pakistani relations. In this view, the Biden administration should work closely with the Pakistani government to promote far-reaching economic cooperation, including building manufacturing facilities in Pakistan and turning the country into a re-export hub for U.S. goods into China.

Senior Pakistani officials make similar arguments. In a recent speech, Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, touting Pakistan’s “tremendous geo-economic potential,” stated that cooperation with the new Biden administration could “transform” the South Asian region and “guide us into a future full of peace and prosperity.” He subsequently communicated to senior United States officials Pakistan’s desire to pursue “greater cooperation” with the U.S. in “all domains.” According toYusuf, today’s Pakistan is “very different” than before, dedicated to an “economic security paradigm” and “100 percent open to improving the (U.S.-Pakistan) relationship.” At the meeting in Geneva, Yusuf reportedly presented Sullivan with a blueprint for enhanced U.S.-Pakistan relations based on expanded trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. 

A reset in the United States-Pakistan relationship sounds attractive, but efforts to achieve it are unlikely to succeed. The United States could not sustain close cooperation with Pakistan, even in the realm of trade and economics, unless Pakistan fundamentally changed its strategic behavior. At a minimum, this would include abandoning its anti-Indian terrorism campaign, ceasing support for the Taliban and related groups in Afghanistan, and distancing itself from China.  

The Pakistanis have suggested that such a transformation is possible. Bajwa, for example, claimed that Pakistan could “bury the past” with India, and was committed to “peace in Afghanistan.” While acknowledging the centrality of Pakistan’s relationship with China, he also maintained that Pakistan had “diverse potential,” and should not be viewed solely through the lens of Sino-Pakistani cooperation.

In truth, over its seventy-four-year history, Pakistan has never fundamentally altered its strategic behavior. Even in the face of major changes in the security environment—losing wars with India, acquiring nuclear weapons, joining the Global War on Terror—Pakistan has consistently been guided by its ideological commitments, particularly the perceived need to undo Indian control of Jammu and Kashmir. Therefore, it has steadfastly adhered to policies designed to promote this outcome, including deploying Islamist militants against India, acquiring strategic depth in Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban, and cultivating China as an “all-weather” friend. Pakistan continued to do so even as it accepted tens of billions of dollars from the United States in return for its purported cooperation in the War on Terror.

At present, terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed remain based in Pakistan and active on Indian territory. Omar Sheikh, found guilty in 2002 of kidnapping and murdering journalist Daniel Pearl, could go free after the Pakistani Supreme Court overturned his conviction. The roughly $80-billionPakistan-China Economic Corridor, though currently underperforming, ensures that close Sino-Pakistani strategic cooperation will continue far into the future. And although Pakistan helped to secure Taliban participation in the Afghan peace process, it continues to provide sanctuaries for the Taliban and related militants and has been unable to get the Taliban to agree to aceasefire. This is not a recipe for a United States-Pakistan reset. It is a recipe for more of the same.  

This does not mean that the United States should eschew all engagement with Pakistan. More high-level dialogue, including a conversation between Biden and Khan, would be helpful. And modest economic initiatives, such as the establishment of tariff-free zonesfor Pakistani exports to the United States, could promote mutually beneficial trade, involve relatively low cost and risk, and avoid areas of past U.S.-Pakistan acrimony.  

But any such initiatives must be conditioned on measurable improvements in Pakistani behavior, and not simply granted as part of a sweeping reset of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. Trump’s South Asia strategy was clear on the need to link U.S.-Pakistan cooperation with improved Pakistani behavior, and the Biden administration would do well to take a similar approach. Even if doing so does not change Pakistan’s policies, then it will create incentives for improvements and, at the very least, not support ongoing Pakistani malfeasance. Pakistan is too important for the United States to ignore. But the United States must not harbor any illusions regarding a reset in U.S.-Pakistan relations. 

S. Paul Kapur is a professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. From 2020-2021, he served on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff. The opinions in this article are his alone. 

Image: Reuters

Pakistan Worries About India’s Nukes: Daniel 8

Pakistan deeply concerned by Indian media reports of attempted Uranium sale

  • FO concerned over lax controls, poor regulatory and enforcement mechanisms in India.
  • It also expresses concern over possible existence of a black market for nuclear materials inside India.
  • Pakistan reiterates call for thorough investigation of incident and measures for strengthening the security of nuclear materials in India.

Pakistan on Friday expressed “deep concern” over the reports in Indian media regarding the attempted illicit Uranium sales in India.

FO Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said that the foreign ministry had seen reports of “another incident of attempted illegal sale of 6 kg of Uranium in India”.

“Similar incident involving 7 kg of Uranium in the Indian state of Maharashtra last month and other such reports in the past are a matter of deep concern as they point to lax controls, poor regulatory, and enforcement mechanisms, as well as the possible existence of a black market for nuclear materials inside India,” said Chaudhri. 

The FO reminded New Delhi that under the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 and IAEA Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) it is binding on “states to ensure stringent measures to prevent nuclear material from falling into wrong hands”.

“Pakistan reiterates its call for a thorough investigation of such incidents and measures for strengthening the security of nuclear materials to prevent their diversion,” said the FO spokesperson. 

Pakistan also emphasised that it is “equally important” to determine the “intent and ultimate user of the attempted Uranium sale” as it is important for “international peace and security as well as the sanctity of global non-proliferation regime”.

Indian police arrest seven suspects for attempt to sell uranium in Jharkhand

Earlier today it was reported that the Indian police in the state of Jharkhand arrested seven people for having “mineral uranium” in their possession and for their plans to sell it in the black market.

The Indian Express reported that the law enforcement authorities of the Indian state seized 6.4kg of what they believe is uranium from two suspects and are on the hunt for the suspect from whom they had procured the material.

“All the accused were arrested from the Bokaro district of Jharkhand and were booked under IPC Sections 414 (Whoever voluntarily assists in concealing or disposing of or making away with property which he knows or has reason to believe to be stolen property), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 34 (common intention) and under various sections of Atomic Energy Act,” reported the publication.

“Seven people were arrested for possessing and planning to sell a mineral, which is suspected to be uranium after we received a tip. We are further investigating the case and the mineral is sent to the lab to check its veracity,” Superintendent of Police Chandan Jha was quoted by the Indian Express as saying.

But the publication reported that a press release issued by the arresting police force mentioned that the mineral that was seized was uranium.

Separately, the FIR submitted to the court showed that the police had taken action after receiving a “tip” on June 2 that five people — Deepak Mahato, Pankaj Kumar, Mahabir Mahato, M Sharma, Krishna Kant — were gathering to sell uranium in the black market.

It also said that the police took action as they were informed that if they arrest the five suspects, they will be able to uncover the operation.

The “Seeing police, Deepak Mahato and others, who were discussing something, started dispersing. They were caught by force after the area was cordoned. They said that they all were in touch with one Baapi Chandra, who had uranium with him, and that they had gathered in order to find prospective buyers. All smartphones from these five have been seized,” stated the FIR.

Nukes = Destruction: Revelation 8

Nukes: Deterrence or Destruction?

Taking a leaf out of the barbaric history of the US-crafted nuclear holocaust, in a show of power, India and Pakistan tested nuclear bombs, spending billions to nurture hostilities while leaving people lurching in abject poverty.

03 Jun 2021

On May 11, 1998, India conducted three nuclear bomb explosions in Pokhran, followed by two more explosions on May 13. Operation Shakti was a success. In response to Indian jingoism, on a sizzling sweltering May 28, Pakistan successfully conducted five nuclear tests at Chagai, followed by another in the Kharan desert on May 30. The war mania that followed the tests led to frenzied celebrations among the middle class on either side of the divide.

In a paper on “The Cost of Nuclear Weapons in South Asia”, Peter Lavoy, the former director for Counterproliferation Policy in the United States, wrote: “New Delhi and Islamabad refuse to reveal what they spend on nuclear weapons or delivery systems. Based on likely labour, facility, and material costs, however, one can estimate that each state has allocated more than $1 billion to design and manufacture a small number of nuclear-capable missiles (Prithvi and Agni for India and Ghauri and Shaheen for Pakistan). Each side is likely to have spent five times that figure for the production of fissile materials and manufacture of a few weapons.”

Massive international sanctions were the first outcome of the explosions. The then Pakistani prime minister, while congratulating the people of Pakistan, froze their foreign currency accounts to retire the growing foreign debt. It became one of the biggest scams of history and “led to brutal economic nuisance both internally and externally. The stock market crashed because the investors lost their confidence,” The Economist commented in its August 1998 edition. It went on: “After the euphoria of its nuclear tests, Pakistan faces [faced] economic collapse and political bankruptcy.” So, the bombs had fallen directly upon the people; they were the mutations.

For India, nuclear explosions were necessary to meet the “Sino-Pak threat”. For Pakistan, “it was a suitable reply to India”. Both states submitted themselves to “the peaceful production of the means of destruction”, which, as Herbert Marcuse warned, “deforms the defenders and that which they defend”. How could destruction be an alternative to peace? The ordinary peaceful Japanese citizens suffered the brunt of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not the ruling class who lived in Tokyo. And those who congratulated people on procuring lethal bombs knew that history precisely but acted indifferently.

Barring the United Kingdom, France, and Russia, the western condemnation of India after Pokhran was unequivocal. Yet, inwardly, they smiled at the obscenity and vulgar narcissism of a show of power by two poverty-ridden states. The nuclear race, like any race for ammunition, suited their long-term hegemonic interests. The end of the Cold War necessitated the realisation of capital through a nuclear war or at least a nuclear arms race in the periphery. Who could have gratified their destructive instinct better than the ruling class of India and Pakistan, where fear and phobia are ingrained deeply in the psyche of the middle class? But where is their enemy? Over a billion people live in India and Pakistan, the majority devoid of basic amenities, yet their governments foster enmities and hostilities across an imaginary line drawn by Cyril Radcliffe.

Much before the COVID-19 crisis, the Indian government admitted 22% of its population lives below the poverty line, which has many definitions but no consensus. Nearly one-sixth of total diabetics belong to India. A large number die of preventable diseases that the West has eradicated. Tuberculosis, the poor man’s disease, is still the biggest threat to life in India and Pakistan.

In Pakistan, according to the Asian Development Bank, 24.3% of the population lived below the national poverty line in 2015, while 38.8% of the national population was poor based on the multidimensional poverty index. For every 1,000 babies born in Pakistan, 67 died before their fifth birthday. The picture of the debt-to-GDP ratio of 76.73% is equally dismal. The external debt stands at around $105 billion (2019). Pakistan spends 4% of its GDP on the military, making it the ninth-highest military spending country (just below Israel at 4.3%) and 2.6% on health, a highly overestimated if not altogether fictional figure.

What changes the nuclear options have brought in the destiny of the people of Pakistan remains the existential question. If the whole idea behind the exercise was a reduction in the military expenses, it backfired, and if it was meant to strengthen defence against Indian aggression, things have not really turned out as expected.

“External policy”, for Max Horkheimer, is “the continuation of the internal policy”, and internally, the establishment became more active and coercive. According to Human Rights Watch, the American invasion of Afghanistan spurred former president Gen Pervez Musharraf to arrest several alleged terror suspects who later went missing. An inquiry commission to investigate the ‘forced disappearances’ has so far received 3,000 such instances. (See Amnesty International, 2016). Emboldened by US backing, Musharraf allegedly went on a killing spree. Akbar Bugti, a former conformist and ex-governor of Balochistan, was assassinated after “months of failed attempts” by the armed forces to capture him in his hometown. “The army’s bombing of Dera Bugti resulted in indiscriminate killing and displacement of 1,60,000 people in the region,” journalist Rosheena Zehra wrote in The Quint in August 2017. Bugti, Brutus of his people, became a symbol of Baloch resistance.

Another spontaneous movement led by the students from the northwest, the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), spread like wildfire. It blamed the Army for the destruction of the region and supporting Taliban-led terrorism. The state crackdown was immediate. In recent days, one of its prominent leaders, Arif Wazir, was murdered brutally. The incident was ignored by the media and the State did not condemn it either. He was the 18th identically-assassinated member of his family.

At around this time, the body of a Baloch dissident was found in a canal in Uppsala, Sweden. Later, another body of a female Baloch dissident was found in Toronto. A 2011 report in the New York Times had presaged that Inter-Services Intelligence spies have approached academics and journalists in the United States and threatened them not to speak about the insurgency in Baluchistan or human rights abuses by the Pakistani Army.

History has proven that armies that fight wars against their people invariably end up losers. The invitation to graze while fighting a thousand-year war to save one’s faith sounds neither romantic nor pragmatic. It is doctors, engineers and workers of the world who signify the life unvanquished, not those who make the nukes that destroy humanity.

 “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in,” wrote Leonard Cohen. Is COVID-19 the crack from where the light will enter the India-Pakistan divide, lead their people to fight the inhuman system of capitalism and live-in peace?

The author is an Australian Pakistani writer, columnist and academic associated with Western Sydney University. The views are personal.

The Atomic Nucleus of Pakistani Nuclear Horn: Daniel 8

The Atomic Nucleus of Pakistan-US Ties

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In recent weeks, there have been reports of the Pakistani government working to “reset” its relationship with the United States. Pakistan’s main goal is to build holistic ties with the U.S across trade, investment, and other areas. In reality, Islamabad’s looking to carve a position in Washington on its own terms, rather than be a conduit for America’s interests in Afghanistan (as it had been since the 1980s).[1]

Remarkably, the discussion comes amid Pakistan’s 23rd anniversary as a nuclear weapons power – i.e., the underlying force influencing U.S-Pakistani ties since the 1970s.

Following India’s underground tests in 1974 – i.e., Smiling Buddha – the U.S started tightening measures to both stop ongoing and prevent future proliferation of nuclear technology. Pakistan, which was an active beneficiary of the U.S-led ‘Atoms for Peace’ initiative, was left with the choice of fully abandoning any and all efforts for nuclear weapons – or see itself closed off from Washington’s favour.

Pakistan chose the latter. Yes, the ramifications of its choice did not materialize until 1990 via the Pressler Amendment (which required the White House to bar the sale of conventional arms to Pakistan unless it could certify that Pakistan was not working on nuclear weapons). However, the build-up to that situation started in the mid-1970s, and arguably, had shaped the nature of US-Pakistani ties towards one of general suspicion and pragmatic, security-centric transactions (especially in relation to Afghanistan).

With its “reset” initiative, it seems that Pakistan is trying to steer its relations with the U.S to a time similar to the 1950s and 1960s. Though defence was a major aspect to U.S-Pakistani ties at that time, it involved other aspects that were either aimed at – or at least resulted in – industrial development and, above all, economic growth that mirrored the advancements of other countries in Asia. For some Pakistani decision makers, this period was Pakistan’s ‘golden age’ in terms of its overall potential and regional influence.

However, it would be erroneous to imagine that Pakistan’s stature at that time was unrelated to its ability and intentions to acquire nuclear weapons. Pakistan got the most out of its ties with Washington at a time when it did not desire nuclear weapons. The moment that calculus changed, the relations – and benefits that came through those ties – became less holistic and, arguably, less cordial at the highest levels…

[1] Peerzada Salman. “New American administration offers chance of reset in Pak-US ties, say experts.” Dawn. 13 January 2021. URL: https://www.dawn.com/news/1601241/new-american-administration-offers-chance-of-reset-in-pak-us-ties-say-experts

Trusting the Pakistani Nuclear Horn: Daniel 8

PM fully trusts nuclear capability

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday visited a National Command Authority (NCA) nuclear facility of the Strategic Forces Command and expressed full confidence in the country’s nuclear capability and protection to strengthen the national defence.

On his arrival, the prime minister was received by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Nadeem Raza, and Director General Strategic Plans Division Lieutenant General Nadeem Zaki Manj. During the visit, the prime minister was apprised of various facets of Pakistan’s Strategic Programme.

The prime minister appreciated and acknowledged the untiring efforts of all the scientists and personnel associated with Pakistan’s Strategic Programme and expressed full confidence in Pakistan’s nuclear capability and protection to strengthen the national defence.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan commended efforts of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in crossing historic milestone of Rs4,000 billion in any year the first time ever, as during July-May, the collections stood at Rs4,143 billion.

In a tweet, the prime minister said, “I commend efforts of FBR in crossing historic milestone of Rs4,000b in any year for first time ever. During Jul-May our collections reached Rs4,143b and still counting – 18 percent higher than same period last year. This reflects broad-based economic revival spurred by government policies.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan also took notice of complaint lodged by an expatriate Pakistani on the Citizens Portal regarding the transfer of a plot in a housing society.

According to the Prime Minister Office, action has been taken against officers of Islamabad Land Revenue on the directions of the prime minister. The circular registrar office had not addressed the complaint of the expatriate Pakistani.

On the directions of Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, the chief commissioner Islamabad held an inquiry into the complaint and a notification has been issued by his office regarding suspension and dismissal of relevant officers.

The deputy registrar Cooperative Societies, Islamabad has been immediately removed from his office and the chief commissioner has also recommended the Interior Ministry for the suspension of circular registrar. The inspector of cooperative housing societies and clerk of the circular registrar office have been dismissed from the service.

A show cause notice has also been issued to the housing society concerned and its bank accounts frozen. At the direction of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, the chief commissioner inquired into the complaints.

Accordingly, the chief commissioner’s Office issued notifications of suspension and dismissal of the officers concerned.

Meanwhile, members of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly called on Imran Khan. The members included Ali Shan Soni, Ali Raza Bukhari, Saghir Chughtai, former speaker Anwarul Haq and former minister Shehzad Chaudhry who announced to joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), expressing full confidence in the leadership, vision and policies of the prime minister.

The AJK lawmakers said that the prudent and coordinated strategy by which Imran Khan has taken the country out of the financial crisis and pursued Kashmir policy at national and international for a is appreciable.

“The fight is very admirable. We were inspired by the vision and practical steps of PTI and decided to join the party so that we could further the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan,” they maintained.

The meeting was also attended by Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs Ali Amin Gandapur, Saifullah Niazi, Amir Kayani, Arshad Dad, Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry and others.