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US, West, Ignoring Pakistan’s Nuclear Threat

With both Pakistan's strongmen and its Islamist forces ready to take anti-Western action, the U.S. and the West must reconsider the amount of attention they pay to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.
Pakistan's Khushab plutonium production reactor.

Pakistan's Khushab plutonium production reactor.

For more than two decades now, the West has been occupied with nuclear 
programs of classic anti-Western forces, such as Iran, the now-toppled
 Gaddafi regime of Libya and North Korea. Nonetheless, the West has
 been overlooking an Islamic country that already has nuclear arms 
rather than nuclear ambitions: Pakistan.

Pakistan is a nuclear power that might swiftly fall into the hands of Islamists.  If that happens, Pakistan might well be the most dangerous country in the world.  That is so because if the Islamists take control of Pakistan, they will not worry about the consequences of launching a nuclear attack even on other nuclear powers.

In fact, the prospect of retaliation action might feed into their sense of being on a martyrdom mission.   They would consider a global nuclear catastrophe as saving the world from its sins.

American diplomacy is indeed concerned with Pakistan’s nuclear power falling into the wrong hands.  A U.S. embassy cable –made public by Wikileaks–discussed the possibility of Islamists gaining power in Pakistan, leading to a tense nuclear stand-off with India. This reveals, however, that the U.S. concern for Pakistan’s nuclear power is still limited to the
 regional level.

That is naïve.

Pakistan is already developing a long-range delivery system for its nuclear weapons, particularly the Hatf-7 – a missile with an estimated range of 1,500 miles. The missiles name translates as “Doom” in both Arabic and Urdu.  The Pakistani Air Force also operates state of the art F-16 fighters; Pakistan’s F-16Cs are very advanced and are capable of carrying and delivering nuclear missiles.

So, will Pakistan’s Islamists actually come to power? Is there much the world can do to prevent to prevent it?

The biggest difference between Pakistan and most Muslim states is that Pakistan has a functional electoral system that actually works. That also means it could bring the Islamists to power. Luckily, thus far, the Islamists have not yet been able to control the Pakistani electoral scene.  A 2008 poll showed a minority of Pakistanis supported Islamist militants, were critical of the U.S. and sought a “moderate Islamic state.” That minority, however, is window for the Islamists waiting to be opened.

Another warning sign is that Pakistan’s Taliban is considered a unified entity with Afghanistan’s Taliban and is not by any stretch less active.

On the other hand, Pakistan has a strong military institution that seems to control the country’s politics.  In 2008, Al-Jazeera aired a documentary about Pakistan titled, “An Army That Owns a State,” in which it argued that the entire Pakistani state is just a façade for the
 military institution which actually has the final say on the country’s politics.  True or not, the Pakistani army has been successful at keeping the Islamists out of controlling the government as well as a serious partner of the West in its war on terrorism.

Nonetheless, some say the Pakistani military has also been supporting the Islamists at the same time.  For example, the former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan, Col. Richard Kemp, told this author that both the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani
 Intelligence– better known as the Inter-Services Intelligence — had been supporting the Islamists at the same time they were supporting NATO operations against them.

 There seems to be much to support General Kemps’ views.  Countless reports seem to confirm Pakistan’s involvement in supporting the Taliban, including a U.S. cable made public by Wikileaks, which was circulated by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Last May, the killing of Osama Bin Laden, for example raised more questions regarding Pakistan’s true stance on terror. Bin Laden was located in an suburban area barely 30 miles away from Pakistan’s capital, and only a few hundred yards away from Pakistan’s top military academy, the Pakistani version of West Point.

At the time, some U.S. officials said the Pakistani government will have a lot
 of explaining to do, though no serious questioning or explaining it seems was ever done. The U.S. and NATO apparently feel that Pakistan was too important of an ally in its war on terror to offend.

It is safe to assume that the Pakistani military and intelligence officers realize their importance to the U.S. in its war on terror, and are not afraid to push the envelope in both aiding the terrorists and joining the war on terror at the same time in order to gain more significance to the U.S.

Who knows if those strong men will be willing to push the limit with their nuclear power as well?

With both Pakistan’s strongmen and its Islamist forces ready to take anti-Western action, the U.S. and the West must reconsider the amount of attention they pay to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

About the Author: Mudar Zahran is the Secretrary General of the Jordanian Coalition of Opposition, a known Jordanian- Palestinian politician and writer, who now resides in the UK as a political refugee. His writings regularly appear in Arab, Israeli, and American publications.


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7 Responses to “US, West, Ignoring Pakistan’s Nuclear Threat”

  1. Charlie Hall says:

    At the moment Pakistan's ruling party is a secular Leftist party, the Pakistan People's Party. And Islamic extremists have never done well in Pakistani elections.

    OTOH, see this:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/11/the-atlantic-cover-story-pakistan-the-ally-from-hell/247886/

  2. Enuff Warz says:

    Relax we don't like extremists on any side…..Pakistani

  3. Pakistan is controlled by an oligarchy that controls most if not all of the wealth. The military is well paid to guard the wealthy.

    But the extreme fanatics are always going to be able to have the sympathy of the majority while the majority is in wretched poverty.

  4. Charlie Hall says:

    "But the extreme fanatics are always going to be able to have the sympathy of the majority while the majority is in wretched poverty."

    It would be worthwhile to study why that has been the case in much of the Arab world but not, so far, in Pakistan — despite levels of corruption that are among the worst in the world, and despite the fact that the US is more hated in Pakistan than almost anywhere else in the world.

  5. Can JEWS stop conspiracy against the only MUSLIM NUCLEAR POWER on planet? WORLD is not stupid they know that these weapons are designed for INDIA which has got easy hand for its nuclear & conventional weapons from NATO. PAK-AMY is in full control of nukes so stop your propaganda for defaming PAK-NUKES they are safe & will only be used in extreme retaliation we need nukes for our safety reasons.

  6. Can JEWS stop conspiracy against the only MUSLIM NUCLEAR POWER on planet? WORLD is not stupid they know that these weapons are designed for INDIA which has got easy hand for its nuclear & conventional weapons from NATO. PAK-AMY is in full control of nukes so stop your propaganda for defaming PAK-NUKES they are safe & will only be used in extreme retaliation we need nukes for our safety reasons.

  7. Asif Ali says:

    True is true pakistan is a neuclear power and strong army one of the world.some one accept or not but this is a big true.

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