U.S. President Biden, during his speech at a reception of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on 13 October 2022, remarked ‘Pakistan is one of the most dangerous nations which has nuclear weapons without any cohesion’. Speaking in the context of China and his relationship with President Xi Jinping, Biden said, “This is a guy [Xi Jinping] who understands what he wants but has an enormous, enormous array of problems. How do we handle that? How do we handle that relative to what’s going on in Russia? And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion.”
Contrary to how the statement was interpreted in Pakistan, Biden was essentially pointing out the fragile situation obtaining in this South Asian country – a situation where the political and non-political players are presently at loggerheads with each other. The political turmoil started when PM Imran Khan was removed from office in April this year. The cricketer-turned ex-PM was shown the door as a result of a controversial no-confidence motion against his government. Imran Khan alleges that his government was toppled through a foreign-sponsored conspiracy that was built upon large-scale horse trading.
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Understanding the matter better
As for the ‘nuclear weapons without any cohesion’ part of Biden’s statement, there is nothing new in the American perception of Pakistan’s nuclear program. The U.S. leadership and intelligence have always linked Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal with its chronic political instability. There is a strong lobby in the West that presses for seizing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons on the pretext that Pakistan is a highly fragile state. Their hostility goes back to the time when Pakistan started its quest for nuclear bombs in the late 1970s.
During his address at the Command &Staff College, Zia declared that Pakistan would have the the bomb by end of 1980. This was a year after the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. At about this time work on the tunnels for carrying out underground nuclear tests was started in Dera Ghazi Khan and a few other places in Balochistan. Americans had no option but to look the other way. They needed Pakistan’s help too, in Zbigniew Brzezinski’s words, “sow shit in the Soviet Union’s backyard”. To further enhance America’s vested interest in keeping a friendly Pakistan, Zia offered military bases to the Americans.
Nevertheless, Americans kept a close watch on the activities at Kahuta and elsewhere by recruiting moles and infiltrating them into Pakistan’s nuclear weapons facilities. So did the Indians, Soviets, Israelis, French, and many others. A French diplomat was intercepted while traveling on the Rawalpindi-Kahuta road and thoroughly beaten up. Later on, Zia rang up the diplomat after he was evacuated to his residence, with many of his ribs broken. Zia consoled the diplomat with his characteristic modesty and promised to bring the culprits to book. Indians were not so lucky and, whenever caught, were terminated after being brutally beaten up.
Monitoring and sniffing devices were planted by the CIA in the vicinity of the enrichment facility. Many of these devices were found out by the security personnel, and disabled. However, through some of the undetected sniffing devices, and through their moles, the Americans were able to ascertain, from time to time, the level of uranium enrichment at Kahuta.
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So, what is the strategy of Nawaz Sharif, Zardari, and the legions of Trojan horses which include, among others, civil bureaucracy and media barons? Folks, please don’t be misled by the crocodile tears shed by the leading lights of the present regime. Through the manipulation of financial institutions which, over the years, they have packed with their cronies, they are striving hard, since April this year, to crash the money markets and soar the dollar high enough to choreograph an economic meltdown. Thereafter, IMF will step in to offer a financial bailout in exchange for Pakistan handing over its nuclear assets to the US.
Is this a mere conspiracy theory?
“Let’s Buy Pakistan’s Nukes,” wrote Bret Stephens in 2008 in The Wall Street Journal in an op-ed article in which he highlighted the problems Pakistan’s atomic program has caused… Stephens, who interviewed Pakistan President Zardari in September 2008 when he was participating in the UN General Assembly session, said despite some gains after acquiring a bomb, Pakistan didn’t gain greater security. As a remedy, Bret Stephens suggested the government of Pakistan verifiably eliminate its entire nuclear stockpile and the industrial base that sustains it. In exchange, the US and other Western donors would agree to a $100 billion economic package, administered by an independent authority and disbursed over 10 years, on the condition that Pakistan remains a compliant state within a U.S.-Indian security matrix.
“A pipe dream”? Bret asked. “Not necessarily. People forget that the world has subtracted more nuclear powers over the past two decades than it has added: Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ukraine and South Africa all voluntarily relinquished their stockpiles in the 1990s. Libya did away with its program in 2003 when Gadhafi concluded that a bomb would be a net liability and that he had more to gain by coming to terms with the West,” he added.
What are the chances that the present government will accept bargaining Pakistan’s nuclear assets in exchange for a huge U.S financial bailout? As the events unfold, it becomes clear that Pakistan’s present political leadership would do anything for the sake of power and money.
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Now spare a moment for Bilawals clarification!
Pakistan’s foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Saturday during a news conference in Karachi that he was “surprised” by Biden’s statement. “I believe this is exactly the sort of misunderstanding that is created when there is a lack of engagement,” he added.
Political and economic stability is what Pakistan needs today.
Saleem Akhtar Malik is a Pakistan Army veteran who writes on national and international affairs, defense, military history, and military technology. He Tweets at @saleemakhtar53. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.