Pakistan achieved “credible nuclear deterrence” on December 10, 1984, and perfected delivery system in the early 90s, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan tells Newsweek magazine in a write-up.
In his first piece written exclusively for a Western publication, Dr Khan says that the West should not be afraid of the country’s nuclear programme. He also boasts of accomplishing a remarkable feat by making Pakistan, “a country which couldn’t produce bicycle chains”, a nuclear capable country and a missile power.
According to him, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons had prevented war with India, which he accused of pursuing a “massive programme” solely for the purpose of serving its ambitions of attaining a superpower status.
“Don’t overlook the fact that no nuclear-capable country has been subjected to aggression or occupied, or had its borders redrawn. Had Iraq and Libya been nuclear powers, they wouldn’t have been destroyed in the way we have seen recently. If we had nuclear capability before 1971, we wouldn’t have lost half our country after a disgraceful defeat,” Khan said.
While Dr Khan said he was not familiar with the latest developments in Pakistan’s nuclear programme, Newsweek published a commercial satellite image, processed by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, which it claimed showed accelerated construction of a nuclear complex at Khushab.
The magazine quoted the think-tank as saying that plutonium from the new reactors would allow a “dramatic increase” in weapons’ production, potentially allowing Pakistan to double its annual production of nuclear weapons.
Accusing western powers of orchestrating a false propaganda aimed against Pakistan’s nuclear programme, Dr Khan said: “I would like to make it clear that it was an Indian nuclear explosion in May 1974 that prompted our nuclear programme, motivating me to return to Pakistan to help create a credible nuclear deterrent and save my country from Indian nuclear blackmail.”
The question of how many weapons are required for credible deterrence against India is purely academic. India, he said, would need just five nuclear devices to wreak havoc upon Pakistan, and Islamabad would need only 10 to “return the favour”.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2011.