NSS & Pakistan

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Dr. Shireen M Mazari

President Obama has called a Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in April (12-13) this year and more than 40 heads of state are expected to attend. This is a follow-on from Obama’s Prague speech of April 5 in which he outlined his arms control and nuclear nonproliferation objectives with nuclear terrorism topping the list. Now there is a growing lobby within Washington that sees Obama’s nuclear arms reduction and disarmament pledges as threatening to US long-term interests; and so far Obama has not managed to move substanti-vely on his commitments in this field – as has been the story with him since he began functioning as the US president. In fact, so far his foreign policy in actual actions has not strayed too far from that of his predecessor.

Be that as it may, since the Pakistani president will also be present at this Summit, the country needs to evolve a policy on nuclear security that ensures Pakistan’s interests for the future. One does not expect President Zardari to actually take a strong nationalist position against the Western tide at the Summit, but we can at least highlight what does need to be done and live in hope. A beginning needs to be made by preparing our interpretations of the four main points of the Obama nonproliferation objectives. The environment envisaged is not a UN-type international framework for nuclear security but a US-led framework, with the US firmly in the driving seat. So, the first thing Pakistan needs to build support for the view that any such framework must be within a UN framework and support for this view can be built amongst the developing states, who are critical to the success of this Summit.

Then comes the Obama agenda, beginning with the desire to “lead a global effort” to secure all vulnerable nuclear weapons materials at vulnerable sites within a time frame of four years – Obama’s term in office! Now clearly, Pakistan will be targeted on this count but we need to point to the truly vulnerable sites which actually are primarily in the US. After all, it is from the US that a USAF plane simply took off with live nuclear weapons and no one knew who had authorised it or where it was headed. So there are serious question marks about US command and control and till these are cleared, US nuclear sites need to be under extra international supervision. Also, Pakistan needs to demand at this Summit that all past incidences of “loose nukes” be evaluated and the most vulnerable or accident-prone sites should then be secured. Of course no such incidents have ever cropped up in Pakistan so we should ensure that our nuclear sites do not even come up for discussion – although that will be part of the US agenda.

Then Obama is seeking, according to his Prague speech, new partnerships and new standards to protect sensitive nuclear materials. Well, if Obama is really committed to this objective, the first thing he needs to do is to move out of the nuclear deal with India – the 123 Agreement – since that widens the scope for diversion of nuclear materials for weapons purposes, given the lose safeguards agreements and the freeing of Indian fissile material for the production of more nukes. So far the US has set regressive standards for nuclear material safety through this deal with India and through its continuing proliferation to Israel – so let the US move towards setting new standards that truly ensure nonproliferation. Many states will be prepared to enter into nondiscriminatory partnerships with the US on this count.

Obama also wants to convert coalitions of the willing effectively into international institutions – such as the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and the Global Effort to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. PSI should certainly be open to all states but for Pakistan it is essential to ensure that this does not contravene the Law of the Sea agreements. As for the Global Effort to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, there are already international treaties that exist like the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material Treaty. Why not simply stren-gthen these? Also, the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference is coming up in May and it is time the NPT was brought in line with the prevailing ground realities where two overt nuclear weapon states are not accommodated as such within the Treaty.
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Incessant targeting of Pakistan

Dr. Shireen M Mazari:

The US duplicity in its dealings with Pakistan continues unabated and I have always maintained that the scale of their enterprise in destabilising Pakistan can only be understood by finding linkages in seemingly unconnected events and publications. Just when the Pakistan military has taken a strong position on its military operations in FATA and the pull towards dialogue with the tribals is becoming evident, the US subversive activities against Pakistan are becoming more overt, and old CIA connections are taking centre stage again including so-called “experts” on Pakistan! Let us look at some recent developments and see the linkages.

First, after incessant cries from ignorant US officials and even more ignorant but imperialist minded media, of Pakistan not doing enough against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, when the Pakistanis captured a leading Taliban commander, suddenly the Americans – and their media and officialdom do have close connections – through their media led forth a new chant of why Pakistan had arrested this man! There were conspiracy theories that immediately began floating that somehow Pakistan arrested this Taliban commander to disrupt the dialogue that Karzai is seeking with the Taliban because Pakistan wants to remain in control of any such dialogue. Talk about bizarre assumptions! So, as some of us have always maintained, in the eyes of the US, Pakistanis will always find themselves in a position of “damned if we do and damned if we don’t.” It is time therefore to wash our hands off this whole US-led misguided “war on terror” and evolve our own strategies to deal with our own problem of violence and extremism which is multidimensional and cannot be straitjacketed into merely a Taliban framework.

Nor is this all. A new campaign has begun in the US, published first in the Wall Street Journal where two American lawyers, David Rivkin and Lee Casey – both of whom served in the Justice Department during the Reagan and George Bush administrations – have accused Pakistan’s Chief Justice Chaudhry of being “the leading culprit in an unfolding constitutional drama.” Supporting Zardari, the lawyers make all manner of unsubstantiated accusations against Pakistan’s chief justice. What seems to have upset these Americans is the CJ’s popularity being far greater than Zardari’s in the eyes of the Pakistani people – by their own admission! But then the American anger at the CJ is understandable because he has fought the cause of the Pakistani people especially through the Missing Persons issue – many sold to the US – while President Zardari and his loyalists have continued to plead the US cause. But it should be unacceptable to any self-respecting Pakistani to have their CJ referred to in such a derogatory fashion. Look how Holbrooke reacted when Pakistanis protested at the miscarriage of justice in New York in the Dr Aafia case, despite the fact that the US has a record of such miscarriages of justice against African Americans and minorities, especially Muslims post 9/11.

A third line of attack is the revival of the Baloch separatist issue with that old Pakistan basher Selig Harrison reviving his fortunes again and taking the lead in targeting the Pakistani state. He first took up this passion when the Soviets went into Afghanistan and led the chorus of how Pakistan was not doing enough of the US bidding in Afghanistan. He was an “Afghan” expert at the time but once Afghanistan receded into the background he became a “Balochistan” expert and now he is deeply involved in aiding Baloch separatists in Iran and Pakistan. Various platforms have been used by him and the latest is the ongoing conference in Bangkok, Thailand, supposedly sponsored by an unknown group calling themselves the Baloch Voice Foundation (BVF) and supported by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) based in The Hague and, of course, Selig Harrison! The BVF interestingly is funded by the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation which, according to information available on the internet, is controlled by Freedom House which in turn is linked to the CIA.
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