Home Global Village Mike Pompeo back to harping on the old tune

Mike Pompeo back to harping on the old tune


News Desk |

The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has once again revived the US “blame game” by referring to “proliferation of Pakistan’s nuclear programme” as one of the five biggest lurking risks that threaten US security. Pompeo, while speaking to an American radio broadcast channel, highlighted the five factors that the US perceives as threats to its national security.

He said, “It’s the threat that we’ve talked about today from China, the nuclear proliferation risk that extends from Pakistan, through all those folks who have these weapon systems places like North Korea where they can sell these weapons. I think I’m at five already but I could give you a whole list of threats that I think we can effect change on in a way that will really make a difference for the security of the American people.”

On Tuesday, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani condemned the remarks of the US secretary of state on Pakistan’s nuclear programme, and labelled it as “the most serious aspersion on the country’s deterrent nuclear programme”.

Pompeo went onto blame Pakistan “for providing safe havens to terrorists”, and also added that while no one government had taken an initiative, the current US administration has taken “some action against Pakistan” on its support to terrorists. He said, “Well we’ve taken actions…against Pakistan that no other administration has taken.”

The US secretary of state remarked that terrorism was a personal issue for him since he had lost a great many friends to the war against terror. It appeared from his remark that he had not come across Brown University’s, “Costs of War Project” report, which highlights deaths of over 507,000 people in Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan throughout the 17 years the US has fought its war on terror, of which Pakistan has sacrificed over 75,000 lives, and billions in economic loss, and more.

Mike Pompeo, after glorifying his government’s hardline stance against terror, went onto urge Pakistan to “do more”. He said, “We need Pakistan to do more. They have to stop harboring this terror. We saw what happened with India. The conflict that rose there as a result of terrorist that departed from Pakistan. They need to stop harboring terrorists.”

Read more: A.Q. Khan: Nuclear hero to Pakistan, villain to West

While commenting on the recent military strife between India and Pakistan, the US secretary of state noted that this conflict was to be blamed on cross-border terrorism. He stressed that Pakistan must take strong action against such terrorist groups and must “stop providing them safe havens”.

Pakistan’s Nuclear Deterrence

Despite being a consistent and dependable ally which is now playing an integral role in ensuring the US a face-saving withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan continues to be undermined and implicated. Last year, in response to Trump’s accusations on Pakistan’s alleged “inaction in Afghanistan”, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa had issued a powerful statement, which continues to be relevant today.

Dr. Mubarak noted that since Pakistan and Afghanistan were next door neighbours with common ethnic communities, it was only natural for them to harbor ties, and to-and-fro movement on the borders had been going on since centuries.

Genera Bajwa had said, “We have paid the highest military, economic, political and social cost and the world should acknowledge that. We shall continue to contribute towards peace in Afghanistan but Pakistan’s honour and Pakistan’s security shall always stay premier.”

On Tuesday, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani condemned the remarks of the US secretary of state on Pakistan’s nuclear programme, and labelled it as “the most serious aspersion on the country’s deterrent nuclear programme”. He asserted that Pakistan’s nuclear programme had always been a force of deterrence, and Mike Pompeo’s statements were a reason for grave concern.

Rabbani in a statement that appeared in local press said, “The statement of the US secretary of state appearing in the media today about Pakistan’s nuclear programme is a matter of deep concern and is condemned in the strongest terms.”

Read more: Nuclear weapons have made “demolishing” Pakistan a difficult task: Prof Stephen Cohen

The senator also recalled that the US had always regarded, Pakistan and China, and their strategic alliance, as a threat, and despite blaming Pakistan of inaction, US continues to withhold payment on the expenses Pakistan had incurred while fighting its war on terror. Rabbani called for a joint parliamentary meeting to discuss this threat.

Pakistan Forced into Acquiring Nuclear Weapons for Deterrence

While speaking to Ayza Omar on her primetime TV show, Pakistan’s senior nuclear scientists, Dr. Samar Mubarak commented on Mike Pompeo’s accusation.

He noted, “As a matter of fact, this spillover from Afghanistan into Pakistan of terrorists, Taliban and Taliban associated other agents, this is not our doing. This is because American intervened in Afghanistan, stayed on Afghanistan and stepped up its operations against the Taliban with the aid of the Nato allies, and continued for many years to no avail. Now they are entering into talks with the Taliban.”

How come the technology went into the hands of the British? Later, it went into the hands of the French, South Africans, and later into the hands of Israel. Isn’t that proliferation?

Dr. Mubarak noted that since Pakistan and Afghanistan were next door neighbours with common ethnic communities, it was only natural for them to harbor ties, and to-and-fro movement on the borders had been going on since centuries.

“This is very strange coming from a leading American leader that Pakistan is being blamed for proliferation (nuclear). Let me remind the world and the West, it was the genesis of America which made the first atomic bomb. How come the technology went into the hands of the British? Later, it went into the hands of the French, South Africans, and later into the hands of Israel. Isn’t that proliferation?”

While referring to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signed back in 1969, Dr. Mubarak noted that India and Pakistan were not members of this treaty, and yet, Pakistan is blamed for violating this treaty with every effort it takes to build up its nuclear deterrence capabilities.

Read more: Pakistan’s nuclear plants are heavily protected: IAEA Chief

“The Americans signed a nuclear transfer of technology treaty with the Indians, completely in disregard to the NPT. They are making dollars out of it and the Indians are in cahoots with the Americans on the nuclear technology advancements.”

Dr. Mubarak noted, “Pakistan started its nuclear programme five to six years after India exploded its first atomic bomb in 1974, after they dismembered half the country, and broke it up into Bangladesh and Pakistan. When we suffered so much, we were forced into creating our own nuclear programme for defense because that was the only way we could establish parity with India as far as defense capability is concerned.”

In response, we built the Al-Nasr missile, which is a tactical weapon with the smallest nuclear warhead currently in use in the world.

He said that Pakistan could not rely on conventional weapons given India’s intimidating military force and nuclear capabilities, which had given New Delhi a “power balance over the subcontinent”.

US Appeasement of India

Nuclear scientist Dr. Mubarak also shed light on US’ “treachery” in not asking questions over India’s consistent and increasingly mounting efforts of enhancing its nuclear capabilities, and instead, blaming Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence as a threat to the US. He agreed that indeed, such statements stem from US’ support and appeasement of its allies in South Asia.

Read more: Pakistan and India Nuclear Suppliers Group membership, stake holders and challenges

Dr. Mubarak noted, “Of course, we know that they are working hand-in-hand with the Indians, who are using this alliance for upgrading their nuclear facilities. They [the US] are also giving them [India] conventional weapons, and all sorts of technology to build anti-missile systems and radar, but Pakistan, on the other hand, has the support of none, and has only relied on its own brain power, which is tremendous.”

“As you know, Pakistan has totally nullified the Cold Start doctrine which India put forth few years ago, in which they raised their conventional 60 armed divisions to punish Pakistan, as they say wherever they wished. In response, we built the Al-Nasr missile, which is a tactical weapon with the smallest nuclear warhead currently in use in the world.”

Just to appease the Indians, and because they are on the verge of selling four to five nuclear power reactors, the US secretary has made this statement and put Pakistan in a strange situation.

Dr. Mubarak highlighted that Pakistan produced those nuclear weapons with its own brainpower and resources, and “our nuclear deterrence capabilities have laid to waste the billions of dollars’ worth of nuclear investment made by India to intimidate Pakistan.”

While speaking to Ayza Omar on the US support to India and its blame-game on Pakistan a token of its appeasement of India, former foreign minister Sardar Asif Ahmed Ali noted, “I think, what has probably happened behind the scenes is that the Indians did not find the statements and the reactions of the US officials and President Trump very comforting for their position in this south Asian drama. So, just to appease the Indians, and because they are on the verge of selling four to five nuclear power reactors, the US secretary has made this statement and put Pakistan in a strange situation.”

Read more: Pakistan’s nuclear weapons safety and security – Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

Ali also noted that earlier, the US officials were speaking from a position of neutrality, given that they “needed our help in Qatar where they are talking to the Taliban”.

Mina Jahangir with additional input by News Desk.

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