Loading The Dice Against Pakistan’s Nukes: 8 Suggestions For A Counter Strategy

Posted by Shireen M. Mazari on Apr 15th, 2010

Loading The Dice Against Pakistan’s Nukes: 8 Suggestions For A Counter Strategy

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Monday, 12 April 2010.
The Nation

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—The dice is already loaded against Pakistan at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington that starts today. According to a Reuters report and information from other sources, are already talking of how India and other anti-Pakistan forces are planning to gang up on Pakistan by not only once again raising the bogey of the so-called Dr Khan network but also of anti-Muslim fears focusing on religious extremist groups in Pakistan. For the first time a political platform has been provided which brings a number of states critical of Pakistan’s nuclear programme together to target Pakistan at a political level. Earlier, technical platforms like IAEA did not provide such an open political programme. Also, this will be the first time that Pakistan’s nuclear programme will be singled out at a global conference on nuclear security. India already plans to spearhead a move to impose restrictions on Pakistan’s nuclear programme and unfortunately the recent past raises a number of fears as to what sort of compromises Pakistan may make under pressure.. After all, we have seen the bizarre praise lavished on the highly intrusive and negative Kerry Lugar Act by the Foreign Minister who also, more recently, tried to give a positive spin on a Pakistan-US Strategic Dialogue that was devoid of any substantive “gives” on the part of the US. Surprisingly, even the Establishment put a positive spin on something that had nothing to redeem it.

Under these circumstances, it is not unreasonable to suspect some give on Pakistan’s part in terms of nuclear concessions. Ironically, one fails to understand that despite having a massive amount of published data on India’s proliferation record, much of which was acquired a while back by this scribe from the Foreign Office and published, the Pakistan government has failed to mount a counter offensive in time for the Summit. After all, did they not know what could happen in Washington? Were no possible scenarios worked out?

Again, why have we failed to raise the very serious threats to the Non Proliferation Treaty raised by the Indo-US nuclear deal, the 123 Agreement? One is surprised by the rather careless approach to this Summit that seems to be the hallmark of the present leadership. Have some compromises on the nuclear issue already been made by the government covertly? Also, should we not raise the question of why North Korea and Iran have been left out of a Summit which focuses on nuclear issues and on which these two countries along with Israel are central to the debate? Israel, of course, has chosen to stay away so as to escape censure.

Pakistan needs to at the very least raise the following points at the Summit:

One: The illegality of the 123 Agreement in terms of the nonproliferaiton regime unless the US is killing the NPT.

Two: A demand to have criteria-based concessions on nuclear trade in the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group rather than country-specific exceptions.

Three: Assert the right of all countries to develop peaceful nuclear energy.

Four: Support the idea of the IAEA nuclear fuel bank.

Five: Suggest modification of the NPT to allow Pakistan and India to join the Treaty as nuclear weapon states. After all an NPT Review Conference is around the corner.

Six: Absolutely refuse to allow a discussion on Dr Khan – Pakistan needs to assert that that issue is closed and should walk out if discussion ensues.

Seven: Demand the US improve its nuclear command and control system.

Eight: All countries, including India and the US, with records of missing fissile material improve their nuclear safety and allow the IAEA to inspect these improvements. (Pakistan has no record of any missing fissile material; such is its level of safety).

Unless Pakistan’s PM and his delegation are assertive, we will allow ourselves to be pilloried without any legitimate reasons. Let us not allow ourselves to become targets by default.

Dr. Mazari is the editor of The Nation, where this analysis first appeared.

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