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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pak Nuclear assets are safe?

ISLAMABAD: Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Strategic Technology Resources (STR) Dr. Shireen Mazari said questions rose in media and general public about the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets makes no sense.
The Arms Control & Disarmament Centre of STR held a briefing on Saturday to explain why Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems remain safe and secure today. Dr Shireen said the need for clearance of Pakistan’s position was felt in the wake of the uncertainty and fear prevailing in the country in the aftermath of the US Abbottabad operation on 2nd May.

According to her, what is of concern to many in the country - especially after 2 May - is whether the US or any other power or non-state actor could access or takeover Pakistan’s nuclear weapons or destroys them.
She expressed the view that despite propaganda the non-state actors are not interested in nukes - primarily terrorists or other groups using violence for their political ends - they would want to acquire nuclear weapons, is a highly contentious assumption.
She said while taking the political agenda of the non-state actors in question, that any contemplated use of nuclear weapons would carry such a destructive effect that the end objective for which the terrorists May be intending to use them would itself be destroyed. She said additionally, one has to remember that terrorists are generally on the run and have a mobile strategic doctrine.
First of all she said one need to get over the "Kahuta syndrome" - it’s valid pre-1998 but now the nuclear program has matured and widely dispersed. So even if we were to suffer a mishap at Kahuta, the nuclear weapons and delivery systems would not be affected.
She said that the nuclear establishment has set up its own intimate and integrated security and intelligence network - although inputs are taken from the state networks also like ISI, MI, IB etc. she repeatedly said that there is a large counter intelligence setup, which is the eyes and ears of the nuclear establishment and all this is backed up by the resources of the armed forces. Therefore, there could not be another intelligence lapse - as some suspect happened on May 2, she added.
Dr. Mazari said that the nuclear weapons are mobile and therefore more difficult to detect. She said the induced notion that ’’nuclear weapons mating’’ (Process in which nuclear warheads connected with missiles through delivery system) would take days or weeks is an absolute absurdity and it would come as a rude and fatal shock to any one working on this assumption.
As long as there prevails strategic ambiguity about the whereabouts of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, CEO said that no one can be adventurist enough to try and take them out. Every one need to remember that even when it was known that North Korea had only two nuclear weapons, the US could not chance targeting him, she added.
Talking about Pakistan’s immediate neighbor Dr. Shireen said that Indians have a dilemma - at one hand they want to criticize Pakistan’s nuclear safety, but on the other hand they don’t want to destabilize the nuclear deterrence. She said, that is why on October 2010 Indian Army Chief, General V K Singh, declared that Pakistan had made unusual arrangements for the security of nuclear weapons after global concerns.
Finally, the CEO said that the prevailed idea that someone can simply destroy a nuke by bombing it is totally wrong. She said even if the US knew where the weapons were located, this would be no way to destroy them. She said if there is an air-strike to target our nukes, such attackers would surely be shot down, no matter they came from, Americans or no Americans.
Dr. Shireen Mazari said that the US campaign to get India access to dual use technologies - despite contrary to the NPT commitments of the US - the nuclear deal signed by other developed states with India, the contents of which not have been made public, so for all these reasons Pakistan will have to up its nuclear weapons and delivery systems and also keep them dispersed.

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