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Volume 3, No. 9 - February 2004

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Nuclear Proliferation By Pakistan
Editorial Team

 

With recent media reports, the epicenter of the dangerous game of nuclear proliferation has been exposed and all the evidence points to Pakistan. Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan has been exposed as the kingpin of the nuclear black market that he has been operating for so many years. Khan, his friends and mentors have made millions by selling the nuclear technologies to other rogue nations like Iran, Libya and North Korea for years. In the process of making millions, they have also made this world a more dangerous place.

 

In a dramatic turn of events, A. Q. Khan first admitted his role in this dangerous game but not without mentioning the fact that his government and army chiefs (General Mirza Beg, General Jehangir Karamat and General Pervez Musharraf) were aware of all these nuclear technology transfer deals. But then within 24 hours, he met Pakistani President Musharraf and revised his confession. As part of the clemency deal, Khan took the whole blame on himself and contradicted his previous statement. It is only in Pakistan that a criminal like A. Q. Khan gets prime time slot on government controlled television to appeal for clemency. Going by Pakistan's previous record, it is no surprise that the whole matter has been hushed up in less than 48 hours.

 

The Pakistani regime apparently believes that the rest of the international community will buy such an incredulous story of a few individual scientists proliferating nuclear weapons without the regimeís knowledge. In a country where not a bird can fly without the ISI's knowledge, how one could transfer nuclear technology to other rogue nations without official support, is just implausible. Outside observers such as Bernard Henri-Levy and the New York Times writer Barry Bearak have confirmed that Pakistan is a hub of duplicity,
with the regime fully in control.

 

Pervez Musharraf's instantaneous pardon for A. Q. Khan and his assertion that Pakistan would not allow international agencies to inspect its nuclear facilities is a dangerous rebuff to the international community. This kind of clandestine nuclear technology transfer is not Pakistan's internal matter. If many of Americaís most visible enemies such as Iran, Libya and North Korea were supplied with such nuclear technology, what about Al Qaeda? After all many Al Qaeda and Taliban sympathizers remain within positions of power in
Pakistan. How can the world, and especially the United States consider these revelations as Pakistanís internal matter?

 

It is outrageous when US administration takes a line that is contradictory to its own stated position. On Sept. 20, 2001, President Bush in his address to a joint session of Congress and the American people said: "We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."

 

Not only has Pakistan supplied nuclear technology to several nations listed on the US State Departmentís annual list of state sponsors of terrorism, it continues to harbor terrorists in open view. A recent Los Angeles Times article discussed the presence of Fazlur Rehman Khalil, head of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and co-signer of Bin Ladenís anti-US fatwa, in Islamabad, where his headquarters and jihad fund operations are within eyesight of a Pakistani military base.

 

Surprisingly, on February 5, 2004, State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher said: "What penalties, sanctions, controls or steps are used to prevent it from happening again are up for individual governments to decide. It's up to the Pakistani government to make sure that this sort of thing doesn't happen again."

 

No, it is not up to the Pakistani government, which now stands defined as the ultimate example of a rogue nation. What has happened in Pakistan over last few days has made a mockery of international laws and conventions. If Pakistan gets away with this irresponsible behavior with tacit support from US, then the United States has no business enforcing international laws on countries like Iran, North Korea and Libya. Why should these countries be treated differently?


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