The Pakistani Nuclear Bazaar
The West has begun to suspect the Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Although his timely overtures for peace with India have been generously rewarded by Indian leadership, the Western leadership and media refuse to look the other way any longer as far as his nuclear deals are concerned. It has to be remembered that at the time when these clandestine deals were being made, most of the Western politicians or even the opinion-making press looked the other way. But not any longer.
While inspecting Libyan weapons sites, the British and American scientists were shocked to find a “full bomb dossier”. The “dossier” was of Pakistani origin. It was also revealed that some Pakistani scientists were on Libyan payroll for supplying information. These Pakistani scientists could have received as high as hundred million dollars. The clandestine game went on throughout 1990s. Now that Col. Muammar Gaddafi opened up his weapons sites for the West, such shocking facts are coming out regularly. One remembers that just a few days back the Pakistani hand in providing support to Iran and North Korea came to light. The worst for the Pakistanis came when Col. Muammar Gaddafi’sson, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi confirmed that his country had bought plans to make a nuclear bomb from Pakistani scientists. The Pakistani Government tried to minimise any further erosion of credibility, though it is already at the lowest by making a statement that some “rogue scientists” might have been involved in the transfer of the nuclear technology for what it termed as “personal gains”. It would be of some interest to note that at the top of the list of these “rogue scientists” is the father of the Pakistani Bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan, who is known for his fundamentalist sympathies. But this statement is really a transparent lie. Till yesterday, Abdul Qadeer Khan was a national hero for the Pakistanis. The Pakistani nuclear establishment has come to be known as Khan’slaboratory. Today they would like to disown it and try to prove that the Pakistani Government did not indulge in nuclear technology peddling though some “rouge scientists” might have been doing so.
The cover of a sales brochure is circulated by Dr Khan’slaboratory to aspiring nuclear weapon states and also to some middlemen in the Nuclear black market. The cover of the brochure bears the official seal of the Pakistan Government besides the photograph of the “father of the Pakistani bomb”, who is now told to be a “rogue scientists”. Though India had been warning the whole world for a long time regarding these clandestine activities of the Pakistanis, none seemed to bother. Now that the Islamic terrorism has spread its tentacles and is threatening the global peace, the West has begun to take note of Pakistani activities. The New York Times has recently acknowledged: Pakistan – and those it empowered with knowledge and technology, they are now selling on their own – has emerged as the intellectual and trading hub of a loose network of hidden nuclear proliferates. The paper has further noted that though the network of these proliferates is global but almost all roads lead to Khan Research Laboratories in Kahuta.
The American press and other institutions have begun to raise concern about Pakistan’srole in proliferation. But President Bush is yet to speak against Pakistan. Probably Bush believes that if he begins to speak against Musharraf, the latter would be discredited and destabilised. How long this double standard of America would continue in face of the realities of struggle against terrorism is yet to be seen.