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Archive for December, 2003

Nuclear Fallacy

In December 2002 the United States accused Iran of launching a secret nuclear weapons programme, supporting the accusation by satellite images of two sites under construction in Natanz and Arak. Denying any military purpose behind its nuclear activities, while maintaining that its nuclear sites were designed purely to provide nuclear fuel for future power plants, Tehran agreed to IAEA inspections. The UN nuclear watchdog agency carried out a series of non-conclusive inspections from February this year until May. In July 2003 when another IAEA team began a fresh round of inspections, UN nuclear experts discovered traces of enriched uranium capable of making weapons in Natanz. While confirming this the IAEA Chief Mohammed ElBaradei did question its usefulness for non-military purposes. Under pressure Iran agreed to negotiate a draft protocol allowing surprise inspections but said inspectors would not be given complete freedom of movement.

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A Bad Security Lapse

The President’s cavalcade almost came to grief recently when sophisticated explosive devices blew gaping holes in the bridge the convoy was crossing on its way from Islamabad International Airport to the Army House, the explosion shattering windows in a wide area in the vicinity. Musharraf’s legendary luck held and calm as a cucumber, the President soon after went off to attend a wedding reception in Islamabad, the perfect embodiment for the saying in the Ingall Hall in the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) Kakul, “it is not what happens to you that matters but how you behave while it is happening”.

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Maximizing Water Management

History is replete with conflicts over the availability of water. Over the past decade, one of the most contentious issues among the Federating units in Pakistan has been the sharing of water resources. With increases in both population and acreage under cultivation, the water problem has become more acute. An equitable solution has to be found, in a politically charged atmosphere this has to be handled in an adroit and skilful manner. Not only do we have to increase our water resources, we have to better manage our water. When your existing dams are silting up fast, this need is force-multiplied. It doesn’t take an Einstein to discover that this cannot be done without having more and more dams. If periodical water riots in Karachi are anything to go by, one doesn’t need the thirsty masses end up shooting at each other for the dwindling supply of water.

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A Question Of Image

Pakistan has perennially suffered from an image problem, recently reaching endemic proportion because of the “terrorism” tag, this despite the fact that we are an acknowledged frontline State in the US-led “war against terrorism”. The irony is that while we have been in the forefront thrice in the free world’s engagement with their opponents, viz (1) during the cold war as an US ally in the 50s and 60s (2) during the struggle against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 80s and (3) the on-going confrontation since 9/11 with terrorists on our own soil and those using Pakistan as a logistics area for Afghanistan, we have been pilloried from pillar to post by the western media, duly orchestrated across a broad front by baseless stories fed by Indian sources. The result has been a build up of adverse perception about Pakistan (and Pakistanis) in the world psyche. After 9/11 the negative fallout has been force-multiplied to the extent that the green passport is now universally viewed with barely muted suspicion. Things are not helped by prestigious western magazines carrying stories divorced from reality about Pakistan.

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