THE 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, which starts its meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Monday, will be engaged with a number of issues, but the most important will be whether or not it gives China the go-ahead to build nuclear reactors in Pakistan. The USA is going to press China not to sell Pakistan the reactors. The real paradox is that it is doing so because of Indian lobbying, even though the USA itself first signed its nuclear deal with India and only later brought in the NSG in 2008. The USA is trying to apply pressure on China, which is now part of the NSG, even though China is well aware that the USA has refused to give Pakistan a civilian nuclear deal even though it is both a key ally in the USA’s war on terror, and also faces an energy shortage which has already started pinching.
It must be noted that the USA is priming India to act as its counterweight in the region against China, and thus will press even harder to make it give up the deal with Pakistan, which involves two reactors at Chashma, generating 650MW each. Indian arguments have involved the worst kind of raising of bogeys to feed US fears. Including that of Iran’s nuclear development, but the USA must realise that it has yet to provide a solution to Pakistan’s energy needs, even though it so promised, and must therefore not stand in the way of Pakistan fulfilling its legitimate and genuine needs from other countries.
The pressing need is for China to remember that its best interests lie in continuing the deal with Pakistan. It should notice that it is not even being offered compensation, even though one of the motives behind the US deal with India was commercial, so that its nuclear industry could find an outlet. China should realise the kind of unipolar world the USA wants, and how detrimental would be the combination of the USA and India in working against its interests, which at present include bringing the nuclear deal with Pakistan to fruition.
An American citizen by the name Gary Brooks Faulkner has been arrested in FATA near Pakistan-Afghan border. He is reported to have told police a ‘cock and bull’ story that he was searching for Osama Bin Laden. He was carrying a gun, a sword, a dagger and night vision goggles, which Pakistan army did not have till recently. Of course, the real motive of his odyssey to Pakistan would be known only after investigation, but there is a possibility that American embassy would intervene like it did for other diplomatic personnel who were apprehended roaming around with sophisticated weapons showing utter disregard to Pakistani law. US embassy may try to convince Pakistan that he was just a crazy person, therefore he should be released. The question could be asked that when Faisal Shehzad is arrested in America, all fingers of accusation are pointed towards Pakistan. It is possible that an accused tells lies to avoid harsh methods employed by American intelligence, but the media without waiting for the findings of investigations pass judgments that Pakistan is either behind these elements or it is not doing enough to control extremists.
According to news agency report, the 52-year-old California construction worker arrived in the picturesque mountain border province of Chitral on 3rd June, which borders the Taliban stronghold of Nuristan in Afghanistan, After hotel security guards noticed he had vanished on Sunday night, a search party was dispatched. After a 10-hour manhunt they found Faulker some 14 kilometers (9 miles) from the Afghan border, according to police official Mumtaz Ahmad Khan. Faulkner was also carrying night vision goggles and a dagger to go along with his sword and a gun. Agency report adds: “He has since been shifted to police custody in Peshawar, capital of the Khyber Pakthunkwa province. US bloggers have latched on to his story, calling Faulkner an ‘American ninja’ and a Christian warrior to downplay his guilt. Richard Snelsire, a US embassy spokesman, has said that the US consulate in Peshawar is aware that a US citizen has been detained and is seeking consular access.
According to press reports, the Obama administration has decided to object to a Sino-Pak civilian nuclear deal for establishing two atomic reactors in Pakistan when it comes before the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting in New Zealand next week. The plea is that it will violate international guidelines forbidding nuclear exports to countries that have not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or do not have international safeguards on reactors. State Department spokesman Gordon DuGuid said the US government “has reiterated to the Chinese government that the United States expects Beijing to cooperate with Pakistan in ways consistent with Chinese nonproliferation obligations”. One does not understand why the US and the West prop India and NSG waives conditions when it is a matter with India, but jump into action when Pakistan tries to sign similar nuclear agreement with China, especially when Pakistan had requested India to ink similar agreement with Pakistan.
The US and western countries have an egregious record of displaying double standards – one for them and their strategic partners and the other one for those who refuse to fall in line with the agenda to promote their interests. Whereas the US in the past had been critical of Pakistan’s peace accords with the Taliban in Waziristan and Swat on the pretext that by doing so an opportunity was provided to them to reorganize, President Barack Obama had more than once expressed his wish to make some arrangements with saner elements in Afghan Taliban before the congressional elections. Anyhow, a diplomatic source said that negotiations with the tribal groupings of the Taliban foot soldiers were already taking place. And the Americans had contacted such groups in Helmand, Uruzgan, Paktia and Paktika provinces. Similar talks were also held with Afghan militant leader Gulbadin Hekmatyar because ‘they never had any link to Al Qaeda’, one senior diplomat said.
The big powers indeed have their own imperatives or compulsions, and even when they are allies they become nonaligned, as the US and the western countries did during 1965 and 1971 wars between India and Pakistan. The US may have set its own priorities but, apparently, every issue seems to be important to the super power, be it war against terror, nuclear non-proliferation, narcotics control or containing China – if not now then at a later stage. The US and the West will continue changing stances as and when it suits them. Anyhow, the way the US has treated Pakistan – a friend that stood by its allies for about half-a-century, got dismembered as a result of its involvement in military pacts, and even risked its very existence by becoming the frontline state against another super power during the Afghan crisis – is deplorable.
By entering into strategic partnership and inking nuclear deal with India, the US leadership had not only disappointed Pakistan but also spawned despondency in Kashmir, And this led to disturb the balance in South Asia to the chagrin of Pakistan and small countries in the region. American journal ‘The New Yorker’ has published a report from Seymour Hersh titled ‘Pakistan Nuclear Security Plan’, about alleged vulnerability of Pakistan’s nuclear assets and facilities. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Tariq Majid has dismissed the report as ‘absurd and plain mischievous’. He said Pakistan did not need any foreign help to guard its nuclear facilities because they were already well-protected. The statement said: “As overall custodian of the development of our strategic programme, I reiterate in very unambiguous terms that there is absolutely no question of sharing or allowing any foreign individual, entity or a state, any access to sensitive information about our nuclear assets. Our engagement with other countries through the International Atomic Energy Agency or bilaterally is to learn more about best practices for security of such assets and are based on two clearly spelt-out red lines – on intrusiveness and our right to pick and choose.”
In May 2009, CIA Director Leon Panetta had said that the United States does not know the location of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons but is confident the country has secured them. The CIA director was asked about Pakistan’s nuclear programme at a forum organized by the Pacific Council on International Policy days after his ‘evidence’ that Pakistan was adding to its nuclear weapons systems and warheads. One does not understand the unwarranted concern about Pakistan’s nukes when Pakistan is only pursuing its minimum deterrent policy in the face of threats from a hostile neighbour. Pakistan’s political and military leadership however should ponder over the fact that Indian RAW has been given free hand to fund insurgents in Balochistan and FATA.
The CIA and the RAW, with the support of terrorist state Israel’s Mossad had last year created another intelligence setup in Afghanistan namely Research and Analysis Milli Afghanistan (RAMA), and all of them have coalesced to destabilize Pakistan. Against this backdrop, Pakistan cannot lower its guard, and would counter intrigues against it.