The First Trigger for Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

Authored by Brian Cloughley via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The disputed of territory of Kashmir, lying in the north of the sub-continent between India and Pakistan, does not often feature in the world news media, but recently the little-known yet most sensitive region has received attention, not only because of boundary clashes between the armies of India and Pakistan but because there have been some dramatic incidents in the Indian-administered region. Tension is rising, as indicated by comments from politicians and media in both countries, which have been swinging from casual abuse to extremes of frenzied condemnation.

 

The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) in India is a right-wing, religiously-based ultra-nationalist political party with a large following which actively supports the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which bases its policies on the aspirations of a strongly nationalistic community. The leader of the VHP, Acharya Dharmendra, declared in a speech on June 2 that «India should drop a nuclear bomb on Pakistan for creating tension at the border. It is a rogue nation and India must teach that country a lesson. It is important for peace in the Indian subcontinent».

So far as can be determined, no Pakistani politician has yet made such a statement, publicly, at least, but the feeling in Pakistan as regards the use of nuclear weapons is much the same as in India: very many citizens of both countries believe that nuclear weapons just make a bigger bang. This is worrying, to put it mildly, especially as these two well-armed nations are squaring up to each other over the Kashmir imbroglio.

Before India and Pakistan became independent in 1947 there were some 560 feudal rulers of princely states, of which Kashmir was one of the few in which a Muslim majority were subjects of a Hindu maharajah. He decided to accede to India but the territory continued to be disputed between India and Pakistan, and remains in such status on the books of the UN Security Council.

The main UNSC resolution about Kashmir is 122 of 24 January 1957. It reminds the governments of India and Pakistan that «the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations».

India has tried for many years to convince the world that the 1972 India-Pakistan Simla Accord following their war of 1971 in some way invalidates UN Security Council resolutions regarding Kashmir. But the first paragraph of the Simla Agreement is «that the Principles and Purposes of the Charter of the United Nations shall govern the relations between the countries». Then it states that «the two countries are resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them» [emphasis added]. It is obvious that, contrary to Indian claims, there is no legal exclusion of the UN or any third party from mediation over Kashmir, given the covenant to include «any other means» towards settlement.

India, however, seized upon its selective interpretation of the wording of the Accord to unilaterally forbid the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to carry out its duties to «observe and report» on both sides of the line of Control dividing the disputed territory. That Mission has forty uniformed observers who investigate cease-fire violations on the Pakistan side, but are not permitted to operate in Indian-administered Kashmir. This state of affairs neutralises objective UN reporting about the region, and one has to ask the question : who benefits from that?

Indian-administered Kashmir is a scenically beautiful region which is economically self-supporting by virtue of food production, tourism, and export of world-class handicrafts — carpets and papier-mâché and carvings. Its citizens desire only fair governance, but over the years have become increasingly alienated from the Indian mainstream, and the recent increase in anti-India violence in the Valley is an indication of infuriated frustration. The insurgency has settled into a grumbling resentment with occasional outbreaks of forcefulness, and some barbaric incidents such as the recent unforgivable murder of a young man.

On 9 May 2017 a young Indian army officer was kidnapped and murdered. He was aged 22, recently commissioned, unarmed, and home to attend a family wedding in Indian-administered Kashmir when five men burst into his father’s house and overpowered him, took him away and shot him dead after treating him despicably.

Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz was an enlightened Kashmiri from a humble background who had made good because he was intelligent and hard-working. He was, of course, a Muslim, which made him doubly vulnerable to those evil fellow-Muslims who killed him. Their achievements were to plunge a family into grief, deprive the world of a good upright citizen, spread even deeper hatred throughout India, and demonstrate that they were vile savages who murdered a defenceless man. These reptiles are not freedom fighters. They are simply murderous criminals who lack any sort of morality and possess not a shred of compassion for their fellow human beings.

Which brings us to the treatment of another young man, Farooq Dar, a Kashmiri not much older than Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, who survived to tell his tale, but also suffered at the hands of brutal bullies who had no fear of justice being applied.

According to the Economist, a reputable publication with no axe to grind in the India-Pakistan imbroglio over Kashmir, Mr Farooq Dar «suffered a severe beating» by Indian soldiers and was then «tied up on a spare tyre attached to the front bumper of an armoured jeep. Indian soldiers claimed he had been throwing stones. Mr Dar was driven in agony through villages… The soldiers reckoned the sight of him would deter others from throwing stones at their patrol».

By far the majority of the citizens of Indian-administered Kashmir who object to draconian Indian rule in the disputed territory are peaceful and want matters to be resolved politically, in accordance with Security Council Resolutions, but some have resorted to barbarism, and unfortunately the Indian army and paramilitary forces have lowered themselves to the level of the extremists. The use of pellet-firing shotguns to deliberately blind protestors was particularly malevolent, but in line with the recent statement by India’s army chief that «This is a proxy war and proxy war is a dirty war. It is played in a dirty way… You fight a dirty war with innovations». Like blinding people. The Indian Express reported that after one demonstration in 2016, doctors performed nearly 100 operations on people with pellet gun injuries. Sixteen had been blinded. Welcome to free Kashmir.

As Human Rights Watch observed, «a major grievance of those protesting in Kashmir is the failure of authorities to respect basic human rights», but the whole Kashmir catastrophe is about human rights, and it is time India and Pakistan devised a solution about the disputed territory. Countless lives would be saved if these governments eschewed the crude and dangerous attractions of ultra-nationalism and agreed to settle the dispute by referring it to independent arbitration. There is no possibility that India would ever agree to surrender the territory it occupies, because no Indian government would survive five minutes after making such a decision. Pakistan must live with the unpalatable fact that it has lost the territory and must make the best compromise.

At this moment the disagreement between India and Pakistan over Kashmir is one of the world’s most dangerous confrontations. It could only too easily lead to nuclear war, given Pakistan’s preparedness to use tactical nuclear weapons if Indian forces penetrate Pakistani territory, as they will probably do if there is a major fire-exchange incident along the Line of Control.

Then there will be a world catastrophe, because there is no such thing as a limited nuclear war.

The Line of Control in Kashmir should be declared the international border, with minor adjustments effected after independent mediation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan should meet and declare that the Kashmir imbroglio is over, and that the countries have agreed to go forward to mutually beneficial cooperation.

Then they could go to Norway to accept their Nobel Peace Prizes.

Why We Should Be Worried About Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

There are over 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world today, owned by nine nations; about 3,700 of them are deployed, ready to be delivered, by the USA and Russia. It is most likely that Palo Alto and the Bay Area are targets for nuclear missiles, ready to be launched by an unfriendly foreign power.

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) can deliver multiple bombs after traveling through the sky for thousands of miles; the latest Russian “Sarmat” carries 12 bombs equivalent to 40 megatons.

The Russian media boasted that the Sarmat is “capable of wiping out parts of the Earth the size of Texas or France.” That means just one ICBM could wipe out all of northern California!

Similarly one of the United States’ Minuteman ICBMs could destroy most of Moscow.

So why does the world need 15,000 nuclear weapons, when just a few will cause physical damage to huge swaths of land and the resulting cloud of radioactive material in the Earth’s atmosphere would drastically affect other areas of the globe?

During the so-called “Cold War” (1947-89) between the USSR and countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), nuclear deterrence was the concept that prevented any country from attacking another with a nuclear bomb — i.e., the possession of nuclear weapons prevents the possessor state from being attacked, simply because the opponent fears the response.

It could be argued that the absence of any nuclear catastrophe since 1946 can be attributed to luck rather than anything else. More than once during the Cold War the decision for or against the use of nuclear weapons was in the hands of one man, and one misinterpretation could have started a nuclear war. This dependence on the “finger” of one man remains the case today. NATO and Russia do not adhere to a No First Use policy; either could fire off a nuclear weapon to start a war.

What other aspects of nuclear weapons should give Palo Altans cause for concern? According to Palo Alto resident William J. Perry, who worked on nuclear weapons much of his life — as a defense contractor in Santa Clara County, as the Pentagon official in charge of weapons research during the Carter administration, and as secretary of defense (1994-97) under President Bill Clinton — we should be worrying about the world blundering into a nuclear war, which could happen through false alarms of incoming ICBMs, or errors in computer programs. We should also worry about terrorists accumulating enough fissile material to make a nuclear bomb and setting it off in central Washington, D.C.

Perry’s recent memoir, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,” describes how he became terrified by the current situation with nuclear weapons. Nuclear-security experts say we should worry about India and Pakistan, which have about 60 nuclear weapons each. These two neighboring countries have fought three major wars since they were created in 1947 and are still at loggerheads over the state of Kashmir. That is where the scourges of nuclear weapons and climate change could merge: A glacial melt in disputed Kashmir could destabilize agriculture and prompt conflict over water resources and electric power, which might bring India and Pakistan to a nuclear brink.

So what are the approximately 140 nations who don’t possess nuclear weapons, or aren’t protected by the “nuclear umbrella” of those who do, doing about nuclear weapons? They have considered the 1996 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice that “the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular to the principles and rules of humanitarian law.” This advisory opinion is based on the fact that nuclear weapons are by their nature indiscriminate; they don’t distinguish between noncombatants and combatants. Thus the use of nuclear weapons is generally considered to be illegal, and the United Nations General Assembly has started working on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, declaring that “it will be a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.”

The first draft of this most important treaty was released in Geneva, Switzerland, in May. The draft was developed through discussions among 132 nations at the UN headquarters last March. The negotiations resumed June 15 and are expected to continue until July 7.

The world has already banned biological weapons (1972), chemical weapons (1993), land mines (1997) and cluster munitions (2008). Now we must get rid of the worst weapons of all.

What am I doing to support this goal? There are four actions that you can do, too.

• The mission of the international organization Mayors for Peace (MfP) is to raise worldwide public awareness regarding the need to abolish nuclear weapons. MfP members are cities; there are 7,355 MfP member cities in 162 countries; 31 members are in California, including Berkeley, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Oakland, San Francisco and Santa Cruz. But Palo Alto withdrew from Mayors for Peace in 2013. Write to the Palo Alto mayor urging him to rejoin MfP.

• Stand on the corner of El Camino and Embarcadero in Palo Alto from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 17, to show your support for the UN treaty to ban the bomb.

• Join our local branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; write to wilpf.peninsula.paloalto@gmail.com to find out how.

• I don’t have enough space in this column to fully explain why Palo Altans should be very worried about nuclear weapons. You can find out more at reachingcriticalwill.org. And to scare you into action like I was scared, I recommend taking the free online course called “Living at the Nuclear Brink: Yesterday and Today,” created by the above-mentioned William J. Perry, available to start anytime by going to tinyurl.com/nuclearbrink17.

To quote Perry: “Today the danger of some sort of nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.”

Cherrill Spencer is the coordinator of the DISARM/Peace Committee of the Peninsula/Palo Alto Branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She can be reached at cherrill.m.spencer@gmail.com.

The Upcoming Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

india-kashmir-guns_04d69974-3b70-11e7-99bd-b9a47f5fadcaWhy there can be no winners in a limited war between India and Pakistan

With the cross-border firing between India and a Pakistani making the headlines, some of the hotter heads in both countries have begun to argue, especially on social media, for an escalation of hostilities. The implication is that a limited war would somehow be decisive, by “teaching the other side a lesson, and making it behave.” But is a limited war possible?

The answer is proverbial – it is possible but the probability is very low. At the outset two fundamental points must be made.

First, nuclear weapon-armed states cannot fight a full-scale conventional war of annihilation or even absolute defeat of the adversary. However, below the “nuclear threshold” space exists for a limited war – limited in time, space and aims.

Second, a war is waged to achieve political aims. A war of retribution is a war without an aim.

The nature of war has undergone a change in the last two decades. What we face today is a Hybrid War which is a complex hybrid of conventional, asymmetric, information, political, diplomatic and economic warfare. It is fought as a continuum without timelines and fought simultaneously over the entire multi-dimensional spectrum of conflict.

India is already engaged in a Hybrid War with Pakistan. However, over the last 15 years we have remained well below the threshold of a limited war. Kargil,1999, was a classic limited war initiated by Pakistan. India also restricted its aim to restoration of status quo and won a victory both militarily and diplomatically. India planned a limited war as a reaction to the terrorist attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001, but could not go to war due to a combination of international pressure, political dithering, lethargic mobilisation and an unsure military.

Due to primordial religious emotions, the deprivation of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 and its dismemberment in 1971, Pakistan considers India as an enemy state and its political aim is to seize Jammu and Kashmir and achieve international parity with India. It has an unambiguous National Security Strategy to wage a Hybrid War backed by military, political and public consensus. Essential features of its strategy are: wage a deniable fourth generation warfare (4GW) in Jammu and Kashmir and hinterland of India; avoid a limited war and if it is forced upon it, stalemate India with conventional capability, “irrational nuclear brinkmanship”, and actual use of tactical nuclear weapons if required.

India’s political aim in relation to Pakistan is simple – prevent it from interfering in its internal affairs through a Hybrid War and if it does so, maintain good relations. To achieve its political aim India’s strategic options are: contain the 4GW being waged by Pakistan; surgical strikes in POK/Pakistan; wage a counter 4GW in Pakistan; and wage a proactive limited war to compel Pakistan to stop a 4GW in India.

Pakistan has the capacity to respond in a quid pro quo manner to all Indian threats/actions below a limited war while continuing to wage 4GW in Jammu and Kashmir. Given its military limitations, it is disadvantageous for it to initiate a war. Thus the onus is on India, either to accept status quo or to force compliance through a limited war. And this is the scenario – a limited war with a nuclear backdrop – that worries the world most. Will a limited war be cost-effective and decisive enough to force compliance on Pakistan? That the Indian government including the present one has not exercised this option despite the 1,000 cuts, answers this question.

Can a major change in the strategic situation force the Indian government to initiate a limited war? The casus belli could be a 26/11 type of terrorist attack or the situation in Jammu and Kashmir going completely out of hand. Since terrorism is calibrated by the ISI it is unlikely to repeat 26/11 and doomsday predictions notwithstanding, despite the “intifada” the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is militarily well under control. Can charged political and public emotions force the government’s hand? In my view the present political leadership while exploiting and manipulating public emotions, is smart enough not to fall prey to them.

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Since the probability of a limited war is very low, let me paint a hypothetical scenario. The year is 2022. Indian economy has grown at 8-10 per cent. Major national security reforms have been undertaken. Armed Forces have been restructured and reorganised, and a clear technological military edge over Pakistan has been established. Situation in Jammu and Kashmir is under control but Pakistan continues to bleed us with 1,000 cuts. International environment is in favour of “war on ‘terrorism’ “.

India has decided to adopt a strategy of “compellence” against Pakistan through a proactive limited war. The political aim is to compel Pakistan to peace on own terms. Essentials of likely politico military strategy: the war will be initiated as a pre-emptive strategic offensive; maximum territory will be captured in POK for permanent retention; a belt of 20 kilometre relative to tactical objectives will be captured across the IB for post war negotiations; maximum damage will be caused to Pakistan’s war waging potential particularly its Air Force, Navy and mechanised forces; maximum damage will be caused to Pakistan’s economic potential; all objectives will be achieved in 10 days, however, prolonged operations may be undertaken in POK; Armed Forces must be prepared for use of Tactical Nuclear Weapons by the enemy.

Until the conditions for this hypothetical scenario are created it may be prudent to continue with “strategic restraint”.

Lt Gen H S Panag, PVSM,AVSM (Retired), is a former Army commander, Northern Command and Central Command

The views expressed are persona

Pakistan Is Not An Ally But A Nuclear Threat

A new report titled authored by ten South Asia experts from top US think tanks noted, “Pakistan’s use of terrorist groups as part of its security and foreign policy is a function of its obsession with India, which it perceives as an existential threat”.

This further defeats US efforts to maintain peace in Afghanistan, it added. It further termed Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal a concern.

Background: Pakistan: A state-sponsor of terrorism

Countries including India and the US have constantly accused Pakistan of using terror to achieve political objectives

Along with independent organizations, quarters within the Trump administration have been calling out Pakistan for supporting home-grown terror.

Pakistan’s ISI is said to have connections with groups including the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba and played a role in the 2001 Parliament attacks and the 26/11 attacks.

Fact: Pakistan’s Inter-services Intelligence

ISI, established in 1948 is Pakistan’s largest intelligence agency. ISI has aided terrorism since the 80s when along with the US, it aided the Afghan Mujahideens to fight Soviets in Afghanistan, paving for emergence of organizations like Al Qaeda later on.

12 May 2017: Pak-based terror groups threat to US, India: US intelligence report

The US intelligence community in the “Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community” annual report called out Pakistan for supporting anti-India militants.

The report also expressed concerns on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons arsenal and the likelihood of them falling into terrorists hands.

It further warned against persistent threats from Pak-based terror groups to the US and the West.

07 Jun 2017: Pakistan not an ally, but a threat: US think-tank report

A Report published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorist groups including the Haqqani network and Taliban. It further termed Pakistan more of a threat than an ally.

“The US should make it clear to Pakistan that it faces a total end to aid, and the imposition of sanctions, if it continues to support these organizations”, it added.

The Coming Nuclear War of Revelation 8

Citizens from the Balochistan, a large province of the southwestern region of Pakistan, particularly those from the Chagai district, refer to May 28 as “black day.” This is because many of them suffer the consequences of the explosions set out off by the Pakistani government in a mountains nearby 19 years ago. Many of them have developed serious diseases ranging from blood and skin cancer to typhoid as a result of the test’s nuclear radiation fallout.

Pakistan embarked on its pursuit for nuclear weapons in the early 1970s after its powerhouse regional nemesis — who also happens to be its neighbor — India, introduced nuclear weapons into the South Asia scene. The successful nuclear weapons testing by India, with whom Pakistan has two fought bloody wars and is still embroiled in conflict over the territory of Kashmir with, was used by Pakistani leaders as a justification for the Muslim state to construct its own nuclear deterrent to forestall possible Indian aggression.

International observers and statesmen have called for the easing of tensions between both countries, lest a nuclear war, or at least the very serious threat of a nuclear war, break out between them.

Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program has however been on the receiving end of support from a rather unlikely patron: the United States. It has been widely reported that billions of dollars of aid provided to Pakistan by the US government is often siphoned off to nourish its nuclear program.

Back in 2009, a senior US national security adviser from the Obama administration was quoted as saying that “most of the aid we’ve sent them [Pakistan] over the last few years has been diverted into their nuclear program.” Most of the aid full under the rubric of “coalition support funds” for Pakistani military mission against Taliban insurgents, but it has been substantially reported that a lot of the aid has been handed over to the Pakistani government without the US asking for accountability on spending.

Moreover, the international community has long suspected Pakistan of providing assistance to the North Korea in its endeavor to construct a nuclear bomb. Pakistan is one of the few countries in the world to have both a diplomatic and economic relationship with Pyongyang, which stems back to the 1970s.

To try and combat the possible clandestine provision of nuclear materials to North Korea by Pakistan, the Untied Nations Security Council passed a Resolution in 2006 and another in 2016 aimed at investigating Islamabad’s role in helping North Korea edge closer to the bomb. It also possible, and some fear that, given Pakistan’s recent success in testing a nuclear device, that valuable tech know-how could be handed over.

There has been a great deal of saber-rattling between Pakistan and India over the possibility of a nuclear exchange.

In late 2016, a skirmish over Kashmir between Indian and Pakistani troops resulted in the death of 18 soldiers, which caused India to promise “surgical strikes” on suspected militant positions in Pakistan. In January of this year, Pakistani officials threaten to use nuclear weapons against India when secret Indian plans for attacking its neighbor in the event of a crisis were leaked.

Thus, considered within the context of mutual India-Pakistan nuclear threats, the latest of new of Islamabad’s successful nuclear test in the Balochistan region will undoubtedly unsettle international observers, not to mention the Pakistanis and Indians themselves.

Pakistani Terrorism is Alive and Well

Pakistan is ‘harbouring terrorists’, using them as ‘reserve’ in Afghan: US intelligence official

Pakistan is 'harbouring terrorists', using them as 'reserve' in Afghan: US intelligence official (Source: PTI)

Washington :  A top US intelligence official has told lawmakers that Pakistan is “harbouring terrorists” and using them as “reserve” in Afghanistan.

“Pakistan views Afghanistan or desires for Afghanistan some of the same things we want: a safe, secure, stable Afghanistan. One addition — one that does not have heavy Indian influence in Afghanistan”, Lt Gen Vincent Stewart, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency told members of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing on worldwide threats.

“They view all of the challenges through the lens of an Indian threat to the state of Pakistan”, Stewart said.

“So they (Pakistan) hold in reserve terrorist organisation –– we define them as terrorist organisations, they hold them in reserve so that — if Afghanistan leans towards India, they will no longer be supportive of an idea of a stable and secure Afghanistan that could undermine Pakistan interest”, Stewart said.

He said Pakistan needs to be told very clearly that Afghanistan’s security and stability is in the interest of all of the parties in the region and does not pose a risk to Pakistan.

“We’ve got to convince Pakistan that if they’re harbouring any of the Haqqani network members that it is not in their interest to continue to host of Haqqani network, that we ought to be working together to go after those 20 terrorist organisations that undermine not just Afghanistan, not just Pakistan, but all of the region”, he said.

“And so we’ve to make sure we’re pushing them to do more against the Haqqani network. Then (they should) separate the Taliban from the Pashtun, which want a Pashtun dominated Afghanistan,” he said.

“So we’ve got to get the conversation going again with Pakistan about their role in not harboring any of these terrorists, helping to stabilise Afghanistan”, he added.

Hoping that US may have some progress in this, Stewart said Pakistan also have some influence in bringing the Taliban to the peace table.

“So, we’ve got to get them to think about reconciliation, that the status quo is not in their best interest”, he said.Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence said there is need to evaluate how to address the situation of Pakistan harbouring terrorist.

“I think certainly an evaluation of how we work with Pakistan to address the situation of the harbouring of terrorist groups would be essential to a strategy that affects Afghanistan, going forward in Afghanistan”, he said in response to a question.

“Because that is potentially a very disrupting situation, putting our own troops at risk and undermining the strategy of dealing with the Taliban and local groups that are trying to undermine the government”, Coats said.

First Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 10:50 AM

One People, Two Nations, Two Bombs (Revelation 8)

Image result for nuclear pakistanDangerous nuclear rivalry

By Talat MasoodPublished: May 31, 2017

The writer is a retired lieutenant general of the Pakistan Army and a former federal secretary. He has also served as chairman of the Pakistan Ordnance Factories Board

Nearly two decades ago, Pakistan conducted its first nuclear tests on 28th May 1998. These were in response to India’s nuclear tests that had taken place two weeks earlier. The government touted it as a great achievement and the public went ecstatic. There was a reason for that “celebration”. When India exploded its bomb their public went wild and politicians and commentators were boastful that they had joined ranks of the five major powers. They were also taunting Pakistan that its programme was fake and provoking it to call its bluff. Despite enormous pressure from United States and other Western countries, the then PML government decided to go ahead and carried out six underground nuclear explosions—one more than the Indians.

Similar scenes of joy and exaltation were experienced in Pakistan. The Indian public and politicians were embarrassed as they had thought they had monopoly of nuclear technology and expertise.

Nineteen years later, however, the mood of the Pakistani nation is more sober and the government’s recall of the event more tempered. It shows that Pakistan has matured as a nuclear power and realises the huge responsibility that rests on it as a consequence of this capability.

We also should not forget the enormous sacrifice that the nation had to make in order to acquire this capability. The world singularly was targeting Pakistan. It had a different yardstick for India and as regards Israel it was as though it had an inherent right to be a nuclear power. Nothing exposes the double standards of world powers as in respect of their applying one standard for India and Israel and a completely different one for others in case of acquisition of strategic power. By terming Pakistan’s nuclear capability as an Islamic bomb, the West exposed its outright prejudice. In all truth, the country’s power elite made serious errors of judgment that continue to haunt us to date. We are still paying the price for the irresponsible conduct of AQ Khan in dealing with sensitive nuclear matters. More so, a serious reappraisal of our entire foreign, defence and security policies was necessary to make it compatible with the new power that the country had acquired.

The decision to support the Afghan Jihad had several dimensions. Desperate to seek legitimacy from the outside world, General Ziaul Haq joined the US-led coalition against the Soviet Union which provided him cover and more significantly acted as an umbrella to pursue the nuclear programme. Not that the Reagan administration or the CIA was not aware of the programme but they looked the other way. There was a greater and higher strategic goal of dismantling the Soviet empire that the US was pursuing and Pakistan was a convenient surrogate. In short, there was a convergence of interests and Pakistan took full advantage of it. By the time American interest in Pakistan had subsided, Pakistan had already made sufficient progress in its quest for achieving nuclear autonomy. Although this is history it still casts a heavy shadow on Pakistan’s nuclear programme as viewed through the western lens. Several additional challenges that Pakistan faces are related to its nuclear capability.

The spread of terrorist groups in the Afghan-Pakistan theatre have allowed the US and western think tanks to raise the spectre of nuclear material or weapons falling in their hands. With Da’ish making inroads in Afghanistan and TTP and some other Pakistani groups associating with them various scenarios related to attack on nuclear installations or seizure of sensitive material are projected. Pakistan is aware of these contingencies and has taken all possible measures to safeguard its nuclear assets. The US has repeatedly acknowledged Pakistan’s safety and security measures as being satisfactory and in conformity with international standards. It has even assisted in improving these by providing financial and technical assistance. What then are its apprehensions and are these to be taken seriously or brushed aside as outright bias?

For there is a strong conviction among some quarters that the West is still not reconciled to Pakistan’s nuclear capability. At the same time, we cannot ignore the reality that Da’ish and some other militant groups could aim at seizing nuclear material. But Pakistan is fully aware of these contingencies and has repeatedly assured the international community and the domestic audience that it has taken comprehensive measures to make its nuclear installations and material fully safe and secure.

Pakistan is justifiably opposed to the discriminatory attitude of Western nuclear powers towards it. India being a strategic ally of US has been given several exemptions under the 123 Agreement. India agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and place its civil nuclear facilities under the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. In exchange, Washington agreed to extend full cooperation in the field of civil nuclear projects and technology. New Delhi was allowed to continue with its military nuclear programme without any checks or oversight.

Whereas when Pakistan seeks similar concessions it is denied on one pretext or the other. Lately, the development of tactical nuclear weapons has been a subject of intense criticism by US and western think tanks. As is well known, this capability was developed as an antidote to the Cold Start doctrine. Certainly, this has prevented India from taking an adventurous course. But there is always a lurking danger that the militant group acting on its own could strike in India, raising the possibility of it eventually leading to a nuclear exchange. Clearly, Pakistan has taken several measures to clamp the activities of non-state actors. But with the level of atrocities being committed by India in Kashmir and the anger and frustration that it generates across the border, it would not be surprising that such attacks may still occur. The constant firing on the Line of Control and India’s refusal to engage in dialogue and isolate Pakistan diplomatically have the potential of moving the minute hand of Doomsday clock a few seconds forward.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2017.

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The Labile Pakistani Nuclear Horn (Rev 8)

Who guards Pakistan’s Islamic bomb?

Raaskoh1By Shahdad Baloch

Like every year this year also the Free Balochistan Movement headed by Baloch national leader Hyrbyair Marri has announced to organise a worldwide protest against Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in Balochistan. Pakistan tested his deadly nuclear weapons in Balochistan’s Koh-e-Kambaran and Raaskoh range of Chaghai Balochistan on 28 May 1998. The Baloch nation has been demanding from the civilised nations of the world and the UN to send medical and nuclear experts to examine the effects of the Pakistan’s nuclear radioactive against the local population.

The aftermaths of the nuclear blasts have been horrendous as each other hundreds of people and livestock die due to the mysterious disease. New babies are born abnormal and skin diseases in the region have dramatically increased. These are the effects that the people of Balochistan have been suffering but the nuclear weapons of Pakistan pose a great threat to the world peace if immediate action is not taken to neutralise Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

“Pakistan’s nukes in the hand of religious fanatics” the rising concerns that whether the nukes of Pakistan are safe from terrorist has rendered them as “Apprehended nukes”, mostly apprehensions come up with reality which then became a trauma for the world. The growing concerns that militants might try to snatch a nuclear weapon in transit or insert sympathisers into laboratories or fuel-production facilities, leaves loopholes that who is guarding the growing nukes of Pakistan?

The killing of Osama bin Laden at Abbottabad near the army academy already proved that al Qaeda sympathisers might also be among those guarding Pakistan’s nukes. Pakistan does not release details of its nuclear arsenal before IAEA or the world. Estimates vary on the size of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, although analysts suggest Pakistan has between 60 and 120 nuclear warheads. The attack on Pakistan’s Air Force headquarters and GHQ Rawalpindi shows that the terrorists had advance knowledge of the general’s routes, indicating that they had contacts and allies inside the security forces.

Pakistan has the scattered nuclear arsenal, from tactical nuclear weapons to nukes carrying missiles, which lacks proper security planning. The successes of major attacks on Pakistan army bases and the attack carried out at Mehran Base to hijack a naval frigate by serving Navy personals along with Owais Jakhrani, a former Navy cadet, raised an obvious question: Are the bombs safe? Pakistan maintains there is no chance of Islamist militants getting their hands on atomic weapons. But evidence is on record that Pakistani army and ISI are in cardinal relation with terrorists and there is a big lobby within the army who support Taliban, Daesh and Al Qaeda. In such a state if there occurs a coup than how the world defines the guardians of nukes? Might be in That fashion that the militant army and jihadis are guarding nuclear arsenal unanimously!

On April 29th, President Obama was asked at a news conference whether he could reassure the American people that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal could be kept away from terrorists. he said, “gravely concerned”. He added that the biggest threat to Pakistan nukes comes internally. It seems that the world is pessimistic regarding the fragile civilian government of Pakistan and her army’s nexus with religious fanatics.

The first reaction in 1998, came when Bill Clinton was president of America. ”I cannot believe,” Mr. Clinton said. ”that we are about to start the 21st century by having the Indian subcontinent repeat the worst mistakes of the 20th century, when we know it is not necessary to peace, to security, to prosperity, to national greatness, or to personal fulfilment.”

The reiterations from religious extremists that they could carry out more organised attacks on Pakistan’s military basis has enhanced the probability of nuclear theft. It is widely believed that tactical nukes are not far from the reach of religious fanatics who see these as Islamic atom bomb, which could be used on the basis of the ideological clash with Jews and Christians. There is growing hatred within Pakistan against countries like Israel, India, USA and occupied Balochistan. On several forums of the world, it was debated that Pakistan might use its nukes on India and occupied Balochistan, holding the pre-emptive measures Pakistan has scattered the nukes due to which nuclear theft is high risk.

Pakistan army is more a Jihadist factory than a state army, for them both non-Muslims and secular Muslim nations like the Baloch nation are infidels and worthy to be killed which reflect ideological similarities between Pakistan army and religious extremists such as ISIS. Since the test of Islamic atom bomb the world leaders, analysts, institutions, states, and nations are of the same lineage that the nukes of Pakistan are in transition towards extremist mentality, but still, the guardians of nukes are being discussed in theories.

Pakistan has turned occupied Balochistan as her “War terrain”, from where she could operate her evil designs against Baloch nation, Israel and India, even American navy and soldiers are not barred from the presence of Pakistani Navy in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, this is because it is hard to differentiate between the guardians of nukes and the religious extremist who are hell bent to destroy the peace of world. The reduced risk of nuclear war is possible only when the world supports the Baloch struggle for the restoration of an independent, nuclear free secular Balochistan, which would be a buffer state against dogmatic extremist and their supporters like Pakistan.

History of the Pakistan Nuclear Horn

Journey to making Pakistan a nuclear state was not easy, as  successive rulers and governments faced and resisted all kinds of pressures and sanctions. And, at last, we became a nuclear state on May 28, 1998.

Founder of nuclear programme, former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) was made a ‘horrible’ example and executed, which many believe was linked to his bold decision on January 20, 1972 and refusal to abandon country’s nuclear programme.

The dream finally came true on this day, May 28, 1998 when another prime minister, Nawaz Sharif (NS), in his second tenure, took the most popular decision and Pakistan joined the nuclear club.

There is a general consensus in the country that Bhutto was the founder of the bomb, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan was the father of the bomb. Then the credit goes to Nawaz Sharif, who finally took the decision to make Pakistan a powerful nuclear state, after India conducted its second nuclear test in the same month.

Pakistan twice waited for the US and the West to stop India from initiating an arms race in the region and creating a situation wherein Pakistan was left with no choice but to go for the tests. According to former foreign minister, Sahibzada Yaqub Khan (the late), “Had the US played a responsible role during India’s first nuclear test and stopped India, the country would not have even heard the name of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan.”  The decision to launch Pakistan’s nuclear programme was taken in Multan, at the residence of Nawab Sadiq Hussain Qureshi, when Bhutto called the meeting of country’s eminent scientists.  Dr Samar Mubarak Mand, who attended that historic meeting, once quoted Bhutto’s remarks during the meeting. Bhutto said, “Faith placed him in a position where he could make decisions that would lead the country into a nuclear arms race.”

In the same meeting, Bhutto asked the scientists, “Can we make the bomb?” After some pause, a junior scientists said: “Yes, we can.”  He then asked, “How many years will it take?”

The reply came, “Five years.” And Bhutto raised three fingers: “three years.”

“Yes, it can be done in three years,” the scientists replied.

Bhutto smiled and said, “This is a very serious political decision which Pakistan will make, and perhaps other third world countries will have to make one day.” It was perhaps one of those decisions which Bhutto took at a time when the nation had not even recovered from 1971 tragedy of East Pakistan. But, many books written on this subject revealed that since the days Bhutto had entered Pakistani politics as a junior minister in Ayub Khan’s cabinet in 1958, it was in his mind. He sent many junior scientists to US under the ‘Atom for Peace’, programme in the 1960s to get training.

He finally came out more aggressively after 1965 war with India, when he said, “We will eat grass but will make bomb to make Pakistan strong.”

Many of his opponents at that time termed it a political stunt and statement, but years later when he became the prime minister he launched the program and wanted it to be completed in his tenure. But, events which unfolded resulted in massive US pressure, followed by serious warning to him from former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who came to Pakistan with a message of carrot or stick. When ZAB refused, he was made a ‘horrible’ example.

The most unfortunate part was the event which followed after Kissinger’s visit. Massive US pressure, threats, sanctions and political turmoil, which led to 1977 crisis. It’s a tragedy but the fact remains that the then military dictator, General Ziaul Haq signed the death warrant of the founder of Pakistan ‘s nuclear programme. Bhutto, was hanged on April 4, 1979, after a controversial murder trial.

The “Father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme”, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, who was discovered by Bhutto, termed former prime minister a true nationalist. “I have never seen a nationalist like Bhutto,” he told the writer in a TV interview few years back. “I tried to save Bhutto’s life and even visited some Islamic countries including Turkey, met its president to use their influence on Zia to commute his sentence as I knew Pakistan needed someone like him,” he added.

AQ Khan further said that the then Turkish President told him that he would call Zia, but also cautioned him (AQ) that Zia would not spare him.

Dr Qadeer said that Bhutto gave him powers like a PM, and that was exactly what he said when he met him and complained about certain hurdles from his bureaucracy. He called a meeting and told all those concerned: “I have given complete power to him as far as this programme is concerned. You just have to follow his instructions,” AQ Khan quoted Bhutto as telling the senior most bureaucrats.

Making Pakistan a nuclear state, was a national decision since the day India conducted its first nuclear test and Pakistan got cold response from the US, which did not stop India nor impose that kind of sanctions which Pakistan faced.

In the aftermath of 1979, Iranian revolution and later Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, the US needed Pakistan. It not only lifted sanctions but also provided unprecedented support in the form of civil and military aid, for the ‘Afghan jihad’. It came like a blessing for Pakistan as during all this period Pakistan played a decisive role in “jihad-e-Afghanistan”.

Dr Qadeer said: “Bhutto’s dream to make Pakistan nuclear came true in the 80s and he had even told Zia and later former president, the late Ghulam Ishaq Khan, that we are ready and just needed a green signal.”

But, it took Pakistan another 10 years, before it finally conducted the nuclear test after India’s second test.

Nawaz Sharif, who was the prime minister, took the bold decision with complete backing of all stakeholders. He once told this writer that during his consultation with some of his colleagues, one voice which really encouraged him was that of Syed Mushahid Hussain Syed, who told him, “Mian Sahib, do it.”

What former military ruler retired General Pervez Musharraf did with Dr AQ Khan was most unfortunate. Though, he himself defended his decision by saying, “It was taken in the national interest”, it did not go well and people generally were upset. What he did with Nawaz Sharif, from trial to conviction and from sentence to exile is also a matter of history.

As a state, Pakistan is the only Islamic nuclear state. But, today, our challenges are different and more serious i.e. internal threats like growing extremism, terrorism, ethnic and sectarian division. In the fight against terrorism, we have lost 70,000 people including 25,000 soldiers and officers.  Pakistan has come a long way and is trying to change its narrative from the one damaged during General Zia’s period and later due to bad policies of Gen Musharraf.

It’s time to learn few lessons that until and unless we become a strong economic power, and succeed in eliminating extremist narrative and change the mindset, our problems would persist as a nuclear nation.  Let’s make Pakistan a strong nation, an economic power and all this is only possible if we defeat the mother of all ills, extremism.

The writer is a senior columnist and analyst of Geo, The News and Jang

The Nuclear Holocaust Will Not Begin With Korea (Revelation 8)

India and Pakistan have been rivals since 1947, when the two countries were born from the dissolution of the British Raj in India. The two countries have gone to war four times since then, in 1947, 1965, 1974 and 1999, and been on the brink of war as recently as 2008. The last war, the 1999 Kargil War, was particularly dangerous as both countries were avowed nuclear powers. If a war on the subcontinent went nuclear, how bad could it get?

India tested its first nuclear device, codenamed “Smiling Buddha,” in May 1974. India had been prompted to build nuclear weapons by China, with which it lost a border war in 1962, and which had considerable conventional forces. More importantly however, it had nuclear weapons, and India felt compelled to build its own. The country maintained a moratorium on further tests until May 1998, when it conducted five tests in rapid order, including four fission and one fusion bomb (which was a partial failure).

Today the country has between ninety and 110 nuclear warheads divided among India’s own version of the nuclear triad consisting of nuclear-capable strike aircraft, land-based missiles and the new ballistic-missile submarine INS Arihant. This is designed to give the country a flexible nuclear arsenal capable of surviving a first strike by another nuclear state. India has a No First Use policy, vowing not to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict.

India’s aerial nuclear strike force consists of 272 Su-30MK1 twin engine fighters on order from Russia, sixty-nine MiG-29s and fifty-one Mirage 2000 fighters, at least some of which have likely been modified to carry nuclear weapons. The land-based missile leg of the triad consists of Prithvi tactical ballistic missiles. With a range of ninety-three miles, these could be used against enemy tactical targets such as air bases, artillery concentrations, headquarters sites or supply depots. The Agni 1–5 series of short, medium, intermediate-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles represent both tactical weapons and longer-range systems capable of Pakistan’s own nuclear-weapons sites, cities, ports and other high-value targets.

Finally, India is constructing a fleet of four ballistic-missile submarines led by INS Arihant. Equipped with both short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, Arihant can carry twelve K-15 Sagarika (“Oceanic”) short-range ballistic missiles with maximum range of 434 miles, or alternately, four K-4 medium-range ballistic missiles with a 2,174-mile range. Protected by India’s naval superiority, the Arihant-class submarines will provide a crucial second-strike capability capable of launching a devastating retaliatory barrage.

Pakistan is estimated to have an arsenal of 110 to 130 nuclear weapons, a number that is believed to be steadily growing. Unlike India, Pakistan does not appear to have vastly more powerful thermonuclear weapons, nor does it have a No First Use policy. In 2015 the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center estimated Pakistan’s bomb-making capability at twenty devices annually. At such a rate Pakistan could easily become the fourth- or even third-largest nuclear power in the world.

Like India, Pakistan is also developing a “triad” of land-, air- and sea-based nuclear delivery systems. Islamabad is believed to have modified American-built F-16A fighters and possibly French-made Mirage fighters to deliver nuclear bombs. Land-based missile systems are Hatf series of mobile missiles includes the solid fueled Hatf-III (180 miles), solid fueled Hatf-IV (466 miles) and liquid fueled Hatf V (766 miles). An even longer-range missile, Hatf VI (1,242 miles), is probably now entering service. In order to counter threats stationed on the Nicobar and Andaman Islands, Pakistan is also developing the Shaheen III intermediate-range missile, capable of striking targets out to 1,708 miles.

Pakistan is taking a less expensive route to sea-based nuclear deterrence, outfitting existing ships and submarines with the Babur cruise missile instead of building dedicated missile submarines. The latest version, Babur-2, has a range of 434 miles and uses older Terrain Contour Matching and Digital Scene Matching and Area Co-relation navigation technology. Babur-2 is deployed on both land and at sea on ships where it would be more difficult to track down and destroy. A submarine-launched version, Babur-3, was tested in in early 2017 and would be the most survivable of all Pakistani nuclear delivery systems.

What would a nuclear war be like? A nuclear war in South Asia would start out as a conventional war, which might very well be sparked by a cross-border incident. Uncontrolled escalation could lead to conflict between land, sea and air forces on both sides. The inclination would be for the losing side, especially one seeing tank spearheads barreling down on its major cities, to deploy tactical nuclear weapons.