Are Our Nuclear Assets Really At Risk?
The Nuclear Security Summit 2014 held in The Hague (the Netherlands) on March 24- 25, has ended with a communiqué reached by all the participant countries to prevent nuclear material from falling into the hands of terrorists. Obama hailed the progress in The Hague summit saying, "It was not about commitment but about concrete steps to make sure nuclear material does not fall into the hands of terrorists. That's what we have done".
The Nuclear Security Summit and its joint declaration are altogether opposite to the prevailing perception in Pakistan about who is the actual enemy of Pakistani nuclear assets. For decades, almost all of the political and religious parties have been accusing foreign elements of being involved in conspiracies against Pakistan. America, Israel and India are put on the highest rank in this context.
This perception was propagated with more rigorously ever since Pakistan conducted its first nuclear tests in May, 1998.
When the former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced to part his ways from PPP, he also claimed that in the presence of the President Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistani nuclear assets were not safe.
Even after about two years, SMQ has not produced any evidence in support of his allegation. This was a true reflection of how our politicians have been propagating the alleged risk to the nuclear Assets. But, the question is, are our nuclear assets really in danger from the western world? If it is true, have the enemies ever attempt to target the assets?
It is on record that in May 1998, even before the Pakistani government could officially release this news, the American sources had leaked the information that Pakistan had decided to conduct its first nuclear tests.
That is what then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif revealed that the American president telephoned him and asked not to conduct the tests. This clearly proves that America had been closely monitoring all the movements of the Pakistani nuclear assets for conducting tests and that is how it broke the news earlier than the test could be conducted.
Furthermore, we should not forget that about the 2nd May`s Abbotabad operation, Pakistan was in complete darkness unless a helicopter crashed and the American government officially disclosed its great achievement.
Assuming that, during the operation, the helicopter had not crashed and the USA officials had not declared anything about the “discovery” of Bin Laden, would Pakistan have known about it anyhow? When this is the scenario, will the question not rise that how many times else such operations had been conducted secretly by American marines, but the Pakistani armed forces would have remained completely unaware?
In response to the criticism on the Abbottabad operation, Pakistan Air Force officials explained that the USA helicopters had utilized the stealth technology due to which the PAF radars could not trace them. Otherwise, according to the officials, their “response time” was between 4 to 5 minutes.
Apparently, it is a good response time. But, the loss of 24 Pakistani troops at Salala check post by the NATO planes in November, 2011, exposed the reality of their “Response Time”. According to the media, NATO plans kept striking on the Pakistani check posts for about half an hour.
All these facts clearly indicate that if America ever decides to launch any Abbotabad-type secret operation, Pakistani nuclear assts might be seriously at risk. This indicates that America is not presently taking the Pakistani nuclear assts as a potential threat for it or the rest world.
Not only America, but even Pakistan itself is not in a mood to use its nuclear assets against anyone. Because in today`s world, it is not easy for a country to overcome its enemy with nuclear weapons in the same way as America did over Japan in 1945. It fact, it is totally impossible especially in the situation when the rival is also a nuclear state. But, still, if a country makes such a blunder, then in addition to receiving the price in the same coin from the other side, it will have to face severe aggression from the entire world.
In such a situation, only those countries can survive longer which are geographically big, economically strong and have developed congenial ties with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, Pakistan does not meet these requirements at all. Therefore, whether it is a politically elected government or an Army General, Pakistan will never go for nuclear war.
However, if the people, having Taliban or Al-Quaida-type mind set, somehow get a control over the nuclear weapons, then they will not hesitate at all to use them against their enemy countries anywhere in the world. The thousands of suicide attacks in Pakistan by TTP is an undeniable example of their brutality. To tell the truth, this is the real threat to the western world.
That is why the foreign powers seem to be more worried about the Pakistani nuclear assets than perhaps, Pakistan itself. Although Pakistan has clarified it several times that its nuclear assets are in safe hands, the world is not in a mood to trust its words anymore especially after the presence of Bin Laden in a militarily sensitive area. According to one of the Wiki leaks, the American President Obama is seriously concerned over the security of the Pakistani nuclear assets. He has issued very strict instructions to its armed forces to keep paying more attention on the security of the Pakistani nuclear weapons.
Taking into account the sensitivity of the matter, Pakistani needs to devote more attention to this issue so that it can trace the inside black sheep, if any, before the outsiders would. Otherwise, we must not forget that the American agencies are still busy in trying to find out the possible link between the presence of Bin Laden in Abbotabad and our military establishment.
Additionally, the way we are trying to legalize Taliban in Pakistan and also the way national as well as international media are highlighting our alleged involvement in Syria, are not only enhancing the world`s concerns, but also making our credibility more dubious before them which can create very serious problems for Pakistan in the days to come.