Saturday, November 17, 2007

Keeping Pakistani Nukes Safe

Over the past six years, the Bush administration has spent almost $100 million so far on a highly classified program to help Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s president, secure his country’s nuclear weapons, according to current and former senior administration officials.

But with the future of that country’s leadership in doubt, debate is intensifying about whether Washington has done enough to help protect the warheads and laboratories, and whether Pakistan’s reluctance to reveal critical details about its arsenal has undercut the effectiveness of the continuing security effort.

The aid, buried in secret portions of the federal budget, paid for the training of Pakistani personnel in the United States and the construction of a nuclear security training center in Pakistan, a facility that American officials say is nowhere near completion, even though it was supposed to be in operation this year.

A raft of equipment — from helicopters to night-vision goggles to nuclear detection equipment — was given to Pakistan to help secure its nuclear material, its warheads, and the laboratories that were the site of the worst known case of nuclear proliferation in the atomic age....

The American program was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when the Bush administration debated whether to share with Pakistan one of the crown jewels of American nuclear protection technology, known as “permissive action links,” or PALS, a system used to keep a weapon from detonating without proper codes and authorizations.

-U.S. Secretly Aids Pakistan in Guarding Nuclear Arms

U.S. Is Looking Past Musharraf in Case He Falls
Bush Failed to See Musharraf’s Faults, Critics Contend
Rounding Up the Last of Pakistan’s Opposition

A Reality Check For Mush;
History is governed by ground realities. The reality is that the creation of Pakistan was unnatural and artificial. Ultimately, nature asserts itself and directs the course of history. Statesmanship can make peaceful an inevitable transition. Alternatively, events can make it painful. In this context, this scribe recalls an open letter he wrote to Nawaz Sharif after the Kargil war, which was published in The Hindustan Times of July 2 1999. By coincidence, just two days after it appeared Sharif, as PM, made an unscheduled dash to the US on July 4th for an emergency meeting with President Clinton.

That open letter revealed for the first time a conversation I had with a Chinese diplomat, Qian Qichen, who sought the meeting, held at my residence in early 1980s. Previously, Qian had been private secretary to Zhou Enlai. Subsequently Qian rose to become China's Foreign Minister, and later, its Vice Premier. We had a frank conversation.

I quote from the open letter to Nawaz Sharif:

"Partly to test him, partly out of curiosity, I asked (Qian) how China would react if Pakistan disappeared after a war with India. After all, I asked, were not India's security concerns about China accentuated by a hostile Pakistan? Did he not think India would be reasonable, even generous, if Pakistan, the result of imperialist manipulation, were undone? He looked startled: 'Nobody has put up such an idea', he exclaimed. 'I cannot say. One has to think about this.' That was his spontaneous reaction. He was absolutely correct. He never endorsed the idea. But he didn't discard it either... As for myself I am a believer. I know that one day India and Pakistan will get together. Through diplomacy if possible. Through war if necessary."

If terrorist sleeper cells in Kashmir operate in spite of Musharraf he should acknowledge this and start joint operations with the Indian army to take on the elements initiating it. If the terrorism is occurring with his blessing he should realistically assess its consequences. China is a powerful and loyal ally of Pakistan. But its rulers are realists. Would they continue to support a nation perceived to be a failed state at the cost of jeopardizing political advantage and lucrative markets elsewhere? And can neighbouring nations remain indifferent to a nuclear power divided by civil war? If Pakistan were to unleash a cross-border adventure, it would very obviously be risking future balkanization. Baluchistan and parts of NWFP could break away; leaving Punjab and Sind in Pakistan. Would such a diminished Pakistan survive?

Pakistan's One-Man Calamity- Nawaz Sharif
My country is in flames. There is no constitution. Judges have been sacked on a whim and arrested, political leaders locked up, television stations taken off the air. Human rights activists, lawyers and other members of civil society are bearing the brunt of a crackdown by a brutal regime. Extremism has assumed enormous and grave proportions...

America has always been a friend of Pakistan. It is our strategic and natural ally. I remember the good relationship I shared with President Bill Clinton during my term in office. When Musharraf's misadventures in Kargil in 1999 brought us close to nuclear confrontation with India, I, in close consultation with Clinton, defused the situation. I remember President Clinton saying: "The world should thank Nawaz Sharif for averting a nuclear conflict between Pakistan and India."

Clinton refused to shake hands or be photographed with Musharraf when he visited Pakistan in 2000. People took that as a gesture from a friend who wished Pakistan well. By refusing to associate with a dictator, President Clinton essentially won the hearts of the Pakistani people. That was the policy that should have been pursued. That is the policy that should be pursued now. America should not alienate 160 million

Aunt Benazir's false promises- Fatima Bhutto
It is widely believed that Ms. Bhutto lost both her governments on grounds of massive corruption. She and her husband, a man who came to be known in Pakistan as "Mr. 10%," have been accused of stealing more than $1 billion from Pakistan's treasury. She is appealing a money-laundering conviction by the Swiss courts involving about $11 million. Corruption cases in Britain and Spain are ongoing....

Why did Ms. Bhutto and her party cronies demand that her corruption cases be dropped, but not demand that the cases of activists jailed during the brutal regime of dictator Zia ul-Haq (from 1977 to 1988) not be quashed? What about the sanctity of the law? When her brother Mir Murtaza Bhutto -- my father -- returned to Pakistan in 1993, he faced 99 cases against him that had been brought by Zia's military government. The cases all carried the death penalty. Yet even though his sister was serving as prime minister, he did not ask her to drop the cases. He returned, was arrested at the airport and spent the remaining years of his life clearing his name, legally and with confidence, in the courts of Pakistan...

My father was Benazir's younger brother. To this day, her role in his assassination has never been adequately answered, although the tribunal convened after his death under the leadership of three respected judges concluded that it could not have taken place without approval from a "much higher" political authority.

Musharraf's media

Pakistan's Identity Crisis

The Courage of Lawyers

Musharaff's War on Media

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