ISLAMABAD: This is with reference to Adil Sultan’s article of June 10 titled “Pakistan’s nuclear security”. Although I tend not to be alarmed so quickly and may have different views from what the writer has suggested in his article, I do understand and agree with the overall message he is trying to convey. The issue of our nuclear security is twofold: 1) Threat from the terrorists. 2) Threat from the US either going to the UN Security Council or trying to directly take over our nuclear weapons.
The second scenario is more dangerous than the first since any move by the US to disarm or capture Pakistan’s nuclear weapons would cause mutual destruction and damage to both sides.
In the first scenario terrorists may be able to cause damage of varying degrees to nuclear facilities, but I do not believe they would able to reach the nuclear weapons themselves. In all major attacks so far, terrorists have not been able to take away anything. In their most damaging attack to date, they destroyed two P-3C Orions. But there is a difference between these planes and nuclear weapons since the latter are not lying in open air, unguarded.
The second hypothetical scenario becomes very dangerous because it may prompt Pakistan to weaponise and deploy its nuclear weapons. And that could drag into the theatre countries in the surrounding region. Any military action by the US is likely to result in a military response by Pakistan. And any diplomatic offensive by the US may end up with non-compliance from Islamabad. Either way, the consequences do not look very positive.
Hence, in this context, we need to consider some of the points laid out by the writer.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2011.
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