Friday June 21, 2024

Anti-Pakistan agenda on N-terrorism

By Abdul Zahoor Khan Marwat
November 14, 2017

Pakistan has adopted potent measures as part of the Nuclear Security Action Plan (NSAP), Mobile Expert Support Teams (MEST) and Nuclear Emergency Management System (NEMS) to respond and manage nuclear emergency and securities. Additionally, the SPD has deputed approx 25,000 personnel to secure Pakistan’s nuclear facilities with extensive barriers, detection systems, separate storage of nukes and security system to prevent unauthorized use to meet international IAEA standards. The Harvard Kennedy School report on "Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Continuous Improvement or Dangerous Decline?" has stated: "Pakistan has substantially strengthened its nuclear security in the past two decades." It cites changes in organisations governing nuclear security, training, equipment and approaches to screening personnel, requirements for nuclear material accounting and control, approaches to strengthening security culture and "substantial changes in every other aspect of nuclear security covered in the survey" as reasons for the improved nuclear security.

Measures taken to secure Pakistan's nuclear weapons highlighted in the report include: Allotment of 25,000 troops to guard Pakistan's nuclear stocks and facilities by the Strategic Plans Division (SPD); equipment of sites with extensive barriers and detection systems; separate storage of nuclear weapons components      although this may change as Pakistan shifts towards tactical nuclear weapons intended for rapid deployment; equipment of weapons with locks to prevent unauthorised use; extensive cooperation with the United States to improve nuclear security.

Despite extensive safeguards in place, Pakistan’s nuclear activities are still considered unsafe by the Western lobby. Pakistan is the only nuclear country with zero mishaps. All other nuclear states have such incidents on their credit including the US having the maximum incidents of nuclear negligence. The possibility of nuclear assets going into the hands of “terrorists” is a pre-planned idea just to target Pakistan’s national security. Terrorist organizations don’t have any access to Pakistan’s nuclear assets. Pakistan’s security measures to protect nuclear assets against internal and external threats are among the best in the world. 

On the other hand, evidences indicate that India has not, in reality, been compliant with the conditions of the NSG waiver. At least, eight of India’s nuclear reactors are outside the safeguards, which is a big question mark on the credibility of its nuclear safety and security standards. The Harvard Kennedy School report said it is difficult to judge whether India's nuclear security is capable of protecting against the threats it faces. Two reports from the King’s College respectively titled ‘India’s Nuclear Exceptionalism’ and ‘India’s Strategic Nuclear and Missile Program’ also reveal that India has already accumulated nuclear material for over 2,600 nuclear weapons, including all of its unsafe guarded reactor-grade plutonium, which is weapon-usable, and raised concerns over this stockpiling.

The international consensus on Pakistan’s nuclear programme’s institutionalized structure of safety and security arrangements is obvious as neither terrorist networks, nor any external power, is capable of seizing its nuclear weapons. The negative voices against the programme are results of Indian efforts to undermine its nuclear security in the garb of terrorism and Western and Zionist fear of a Muslim country holding nuclear weapons.

To say the least, the criticality of nuclear weapons for the country’s defence and international sensitivities are clearly known to the Pakistani security establishment, government and policymakers. Pakistan has taken several discernible measures to safeguard the nuclear components which are dispersed throughout the country and whose location is unknown except to the concerned people. Those having fundamental discomfort with nuclear weapons in Pakistan, especially tactical nuclear weapons, should stop producing reports that are highly exaggerated and patently false. No terrorist group poses a threat to nuclear weapons, including tactical, in Pakistan, which are strongly guarded. Not only the weapons are in safe hands but also the nuclear programme works as a hedge against strategic threats to our security and gives us a prideful national identity.