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Archive for February, 2004

Nuclear Trails And Trials

It is becoming increasingly difficult for Pakistan to distinguish between friend and foe, with even former PM Ms Benazir Bhutto who one would hope would be a friend and as a former PM more propriety, choosing to hunt with the hounds rather than helping us run like hares. Because of his “nuclear moonlighting”, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan (AQK), our hero cum villain combined, is an albatross around Pakistan’s neck that has brought us to ground zero of world public opinion. While the internal lapses must be investigated thoroughly so that more skeletons do not appear on an already hot tin roof, those wishing Pakistan ill are targetting Pakistan (and the Army) on all sorts of counts, giving lip-service only to AQK’s illegal activity but ignoring the foreign network of companies and the personalities involved.


Interesting Times

Lurching from crisis to crisis for some time, some of our own making and some tailor-made for us, Pakistan is faced with trouble in both the domestic and external spectrums. These are further complicated by a deepening credibility gap and a worsening image problem, we lack answers to both. The fact that the world is facing on the one hand an economic recession, the backlash of which has denied us full redemption thereof, and on the other continuing attacks by terrorists with origin/links to this region and bent upon inflicting 9/11 type of carnage, makes our continued existence as a sovereign entity rather precarious. As a force-multiplication of the many problems, some of our domestic ones have tended to spill into the international arena, thereby creating a further backlash on our already tarnished image and putting additional pressure on us. Whichever major crisis the world is facing, we are somehow part of it!


From Fame To Shame

The world view about Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan is 180 degrees different from how the domestic population views him. The world sees a rogue scientist who used a vast nuclear underworld black market to make money for himself, the jury is still out whether his entrepreneur-ship was with or without official sanction and/or connivance. Speaking to the National Defence University (NDU), US President George Bush outlined a new major campaign against nuclear proliferation, detailing US intelligence findings on Dr AQ Khan and the underground network he used. Khan is generally regarded as a hero within Pakistan, a greater percentage of the population tending to disbelieve rather than believe the allegations against him. Independent analysts within the country are caught betwixt and in-between i.e. the supreme national interest makes one cautious and circumspect out of national security considerations, on the other hand the truth is staring us in the face, reinforced by the need to adhere to the accountability principles of a free media. Another dire reason to lay out the facts, the absence thereof has evoked a spate of rumours and turned it into a virtual firestorm of misinformation.


Nuclear Fallout

Pakistan has had a bad week, one can only hope that the “damage control” being attempted by the Government will be successful. It was a mortifying sight to see Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan (AQK), father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, requesting for clemency in a vintage 1960s-style Soviet-type confession. AQK confirmed that he was involved in “unauthorized” nuclear proliferation, that he had not only passed out nuclear secrets but also supplied critical equipment in the manufacture of nuclear weapons to Iran, Libya and North Korea. For those of us who have always taken him to be a national hero, his statement that whatever he did was in “good faith” was a non-starter, at best a fig leaf of a cover-up that will not satisfy the hounds of various ilk that are baying at Pakistan’s door.