Sunday, 12 June 2011

Pakistani Nukes and the UN

Pakistani Nukes and the UN
Dr Shabir Choudhry 12 June 2011

Pakistan is a declared nuclear weapon state. There are only nine countries in the world which have these weapons. Many believe nuclear weapons bring status, power, influence and stability; but I am not sure if one can say Pakistan has all that.

Nuclear weapons are made with huge amount of money diverted away from social and welfare programmes. It requires many years of hard work and sacrifices, and one clear purpose is that the nuclear weapons will protect borders of the country, its sovereignty and pride, and promote status of the country.

In a land of pure – Pakistan, however, situation is different. Weapons of mass destruction – atom bombs, which Pakistan is keep on improving and increasing their numbers have not brought stability, promoted status of the country or even defended borders and integrity of the country. It is pointed out by some critics that like ‘strategic assets’ and ‘strategic depth’ which, later on became liabilities, it appears nuclear bombs have also become a ‘liability’, as the entire effort seems to be to protect them at a great cost to people and the country.

In a comity of nations Pakistan DOES NOT have good reputation. Everything wrong is associated with Pakistan. Fingers point to Pakistan or Pakistani controlled areas whenever there is a terrorism related incident in the world; and attitude and performance of the army and army related institutions is surely not helping the situation.

The country is deeply divided on religious and sectarian lines. There is a civil war going on in various parts of Pakistan. Those responsible for maintaining law and order and defending sovereignty, integrity and borders of the country are busy in activities which promote insecurity and fuels public anger. It seems no one is in charge to weather the storm which is about to engulf Pakistan; or even worried about dangers facing the country.

Anyone who dares to criticise those responsible for landing Pakistan in this quandary, without any hesitation, are declared anti state, traitor and not patriotic. It looks that the men in uniform (most of them are not even educated - a person holding a certificate of FA or FSC, basic requirement to get a commission in the army is not an educated person – everything they get after getting a commission is training and educationalists differentiate between training and education. Highly renowned guerrilla commander Ilyas Kashmiri who was recently killed in a drone attack was trained, but he was not educated – he was a university drop out) and their agents have wrongly assumed that they have monopoly over wisdom and knowledge; and they alone are patriots. And because of their power and institutional discipline and strength they have right and power to issue certificates who is loyal and who is a ‘security risk’.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statement that Iran has “precise information that America wants to sabotage the Pakistani nuclear facilities in order to control Pakistan and to weaken the government and people of Pakistan", has made head lines in Pakistani and international media. The news came as a shock to many Pakistanis who were assured by John Kerry only a few weeks ago that there were no such plans.

But who is John Kerry? He might be important to the Pakistani rulers, civil and military alike, as they line up to shake hand with him, and like good children or students listen attentively to every word uttered by him; but he does not make decisions of this nature in America. He is only a Senator. In a country like India and in most civilised and democratic countries President, Prime Minister, Army Chief, secret agency Chief and Foreign Minister won’t meet him.

I have no doubt that the world community is not at ease with Pakistan in control of most deadly weapons on earth. Would people in a market place feel safe when they see a careless and mischievous child playing with a hand grenade? They know child will not only kill himself, but also endanger lives of other people in the market.

The question is what should people in the market do? Should they ignore the child and let him play with the hand grenade; or some how try to take the hand grenade away from him? The child is fascinated with the new toy under his control, and does not want to lose his control. The child discovered that under shadow of this toy he can get away with murder, including export of jihad, violence, extremism and terrorism to other countries.

The child fully appreciated his power and influence and soon recruited like minded children to continue his policy of promoting violence and inflicting fear and harassment. He even got away with Kargil misadventure and attack on the Indian Parliament; and this surely boosted his confidence and sense of pride.

The people in the market have a choice of remaining quiet, but will the danger go away just because they don’t want to be ‘interventionalist’, or don’t want to jeopardise their trade and other interests. There is a danger that if they surround him to persuade him to stop his immature and childish actions the child could use the weapon in his hand; or in order to get sympathy can shout slogans like, Islam is in danger, conspiracy of Hindus, America and Jews and child abuse.

My friend Abbas Butt and I had a meeting with a very senior figure from the European Parliament in 2007. A tragic incident in London known as 7/7 had taken place, which killed more than fifty innocent people. This incident was carried out in name of ‘jihad’ by some misguided extremists, who were also trained in areas under Pakistani control. This and other similar incidents created enormous problems for Muslims peacefully living in Britain and other European countries.

In the meeting, we discussed terrorism and extremism and identified sources of terrorism; and how to counter that. Despite Pakistani claims to fight terrorism, and in return receiving billions of dollars, it was an open secret that Pakistan was supporting terrorist groups and promoting and exporting terrorism. This issue came under discussion in the meeting; and I said I don’t know what could be done to change policy of Pakistani rulers. They know there will be no war because they have nuclear weapons.

It was at that time, our guest said: “Eventually the UN will to take over”. I strongly believe our guest had no intention of saying this and this phrase slipped out because of the nature of the discussion and at heat of the moment.

I said how that is possible. The UN has no army. The UN cannot sanction a war on Pakistan just because the country has nuclear weapons. I asked many questions and requested for replies and some explanation for that phrase, but I got no replies. Our guest did not say another word on that and each time changed topic.

I said to Abbas Butt after the meeting that this phrase speaks volumes about the situation in Pakistan and what dangers the country was likely to face. Because of the position our guest held at that time, it surely gave access to those areas where this kind of discussion could take place. I said only way the UN can take over the Pakistani nukes is:

1. If a situation is created where the government of Pakistan is unable or unwilling to guard these weapons and there is credible evidence that these weapons could get in to wrong hands;

2. Or if there is a civil war, where armed forces are actively fighting each other and there is a serious danger that someone could use these weapons against each other or against Pakistan’s neighbours, an emergency meeting of the Security Council could be convened to pass such a Resolution that for the safety of humanity and peace and stability of the region, the international community has to act and act fast and take control of the Pakistani nukes.

I discussed this matter with some Pakistani journalists who have contacts with secret agencies of Pakistan. Also I discussed this with one senior member of the Pakistani establishment. They didn’t look too worried about this, perhaps they thought their position was so secure that such action could not be taken against Pakistan.

Pakistanis have been relying too much on their strategic location, protection or influence the nuclear weapons provide and on the Chinese support; especially their Veto in the Security Council. But Pakistanis need to wake up, and understand fast changing regional and global situation. No one burns his fingers to put out a fire at neighbours house when the neighbour is only pouring more fuel to the fire.

Pakistanis need to realise that there is a serious danger to their existence; and those who claim that Pakistan is a gift of Prophet PBUH and that Pakistan will remain till doomsday are misleading and are providing a false sense of security. Prophets gift were Qur’an and his Sunna; and whatever is happening in Pakistan is totally against teaching of Qur’an and Sunna. There is no justice, no sense of security and those who are employed to provide security kill people, as if they were in jungle hunting wild animals.

Pakistan gift of Prophet PBUH or not, Pakistan created to serve Islam or to serve some other forces, fact, however, is that Muslims are not safe in this country, apparently created in name of Islam. This is not to suggest that non Muslims are safe in Pakistan. Need of the time is to take appropriate actions now to save Pakistan and people of Pakistan. If immediate and correct actions are not taken then Pakistan may not exist as a nation state; and name of Pakistan might continue with a new geography, as it happened in 1971.

Pakistani nukes, their safety and command and control have been subject of discussion around the globe. I am sure they are safe; and those who control them know how to protect them and how to use them as well, if need arises. Pakistani people are very emotional about their nuclear assets and the Kashmir dispute.

Their rulers have messed up the Kashmir dispute, as rightly acknowledged by Nawaz Sahrif in an interview on 10th June. He said Pakistani institutions have caused more damage to the Kashmir dispute than anyone else. Of course he was referring to the army and the ISI. They have messed up importance, if any, of the ‘strategic depth’ and ‘strategic assets’; and I hope they don’t do same to the nuclear assets.

Many of those who rule Pakistan have very little interest in welfare, stability, prosperity and future of the country at least that is how it appears, mainly because Pakistan is their second home. If something happens to Pakistan they will pack their bags and fly out on C130; and leave the people to face the mess they created.

People with history knowledge might remember that the last ruler of Muslim Spain (known as Undhless to Muslims), King Abdullah was allowed to leave Spain with his family. He left his fellow Muslims at the mercy of those who defeated King Abdullah.

I fear it is already too late, as many things are already in motion to deal with future serious problems; but those who take Pakistan as their first home and those who care for people, peace and stability of the region need to act that catastrophe could be saved.
Writer is Head Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir
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