January 08, 2004
strongman General Musharraf these days is appearing very decent and sweet
The other day he offered even to side track the UN Security Council
resolution, if it helps in the settlement of the
Kashmir dispute. All
this began in early December when he pulled a rabbit out of the hat and
ordered a ceasefire along the Line of Actual Control in
(read in between the line – no infiltration along the LOC). This started
the ball rolling towards a possible meeting with the Indian Prime Minister
Mr. Vajpayee during the SAARC meet. Even the Indian Prime Minister hailed
it as a breakthrough and called this development - a result of huge amount
of pressure on General Musharraf by
India and US, UK &
rest of the international community. Unknown to Vajpayee, Iran had at
that time told the International Atomic Energy Agency that design of the
Uranium-235 Centrifuge was given to them by the Pakistani Chief of the
Atomic Energy in mid eighties. Other technical help continued to Iran in a
clandestine manner to hoodwink the world opinion. If discovered Pakistani
successive administration since 1985 had devised a scheme of deception by
calling the transfer of technology as a private enterprise of rogue
scientists. Even the American did not know about it. They probably were as
surprised as Mr. Vajpayee was, hence quite a bit of uproar ensued in the
security circles in Europe and US.
Pakistani army has for long been branded as a rogue army for its
involvement with Taliban and Osma Bin Laaden. In last two years General
Musharraf has turned the matter around and has even managed to get himself
wined and dined by President Bush in return for support to catch Osma Bin
Laaden and Al Qaeda. The latter has partially happened. Some key
operatives have been caught but the main fish keeps eluding the
presumably with clandestine Pakistani help. This time in the matter of
transfer of nuclear technology to Iran, Pakistan has been caught with its
hand in a cookie jar. Various news organizations have curtailed their
comments on Pakistan and its army at the behest of the US State
Department, but still questions about spread of nuclear technology to Al
Qeada, even in its crude state, has not escaped the media attention.
To salvage the
image, which has been battered with the Iranian disclosure, General
Musharraf immediately decided to honor all commitments, which he had made
but never put them into practice. These include:
terrorist camps in the Pakistani Occupied Kashmir were closed in full view
department responsible for operation in Kashmir was curtailed and its
staff transferred elsewhere.
nowhere, Musharraf ordered a ceasefire along the LOC (India replied in
minor issues which have been pending for a while – train, bus, air link,
trade etc. were to be restored to where they were two years back.
Musharraf offered to sidetrack the plebiscite issue on Kashmir.
mullahs were told to control their anti American propaganda Etc. etc.
With the above Musharraf is pretending to be a statesman, a Kamal Atta
Turk, who is willing to discuss and settle all outstanding issues with
India. To please the Americans, he ordered further turning the heat a
notch on Al Qaeda. He also ordered its intelligence services to cut ties,
if any, with Taliban. At the home front a few unwilling generals were
transferred from the critical jobs and a settlement with the religious
parties in the Parliament was reached in which he will shed the uniform,
but will become the Commander – in – Chief and the President of Pakistan.
A job Field Marshall Ayub Khan had until his fall after 1965 War with
Cleverly with this move, he retains the control over the army and civilian
All this happened only after an open statement by the Iranians that
Pakistani engineers have been providing them hardware and technical help
to build an Atom Bomb for the last 15 years. To upstage this disclosure,
Musharraf immediately claimed, that the rogue engineers and scientists
have done all this in the past without the knowledge of Pakistani
government and the army. He further claimed that this help has now been
General Musharraf’s statements are partially true.
Pakistani nuclear scientists and engineer, since they started working
actively on the Atom Bomb in 1978, have been under very strict military
surveillance. They could not step out of the security circle as they
feared India/Israel may assassinate them. The Chairman of the Pakistani
Atomic Energy and Director Nuclear Laboratory at Kahuta, who is one of the
engineer named by the Iranians, does not report to the civilian
authorities. He reports directly to the military general staff. A senior
officer of the rank of a Brigadier acts as his personal bodyguard. Hence
it is difficult to assume that the Pakistani army did not know about what
the scientist in question was doing. Moreover he gave a prototype of the
gas centrifuge to the Iranians, hence this could only have happened with
the full knowledge of the army. I do agree that Musharraf at that time, a
Brigadier, did not know all the activities at the general staff. Later,
Brigadier Musharraf moved to become a Major General, Lt. General and then
a full General - how could he avoid not knowing Pakistani Army and the
Iranian nexus? It is hard to believe.
do believe that the civilian prime ministers which followed after 1989
elections, did not know about this transfer of nuclear technology. One
cannot be sure about it.
Hence all that sweetness, Which General Musharraf is displaying today is
born out of lost face in front of the Americans.
Lucky for General Musharraf, an assassination attempt was made on his life
immediately after the Iranian disclosure. This brought in a huge wave of
sympathy from the Americans. The second attempt two weeks later set the
alarm bells ringing in Washington about the soundness of the American
Not only the American are worried about losing their best friend in
Pakistan, they are also worried about a Jehadi general succeeding
Musharraf and letting the Al Qaeda and Osma Bin Laaden on the nuclear
Hence where do we in the west stand today:
General Musharraf is
a marked man. Sooner or later an assassin will get to him.
American policy in
Pakistan will fall flat on its face as soon as Musharraf is not there.
Nuclear weapons in
Pakistan could pass into the unsafe hands of a Jehadi general.
Al Qaeda is sure to
get hold of enough Uranium and technology to build a crude bomb, sooner
War with India is a
certainty, as the new regime will shore up support for itself by
starting a war.
Taliban may return
to Afghanistan and start terror network all over again.
Iranians will make
the full disclosure about their nuclear assets and put their nuclear
ambitions on hold.
Libya has already
turned around after 25 years of its quest for peace with honor with the
West (It may have recently achieved it with full disclosure of its
Libya is about to
disclose that they transferred $1billion to Pakistan in 1978 and stole
enough Uranium ore from Chad for Pakistan to build a bomb.
It is just a matter of time that the North Koreans will make a similar
disclosure that they got their nuclear technology from Pakistan. The irony
is that the Iranians got it in 1984-85, the North Koreans got it in
1998-99. To the latter will be hard for Musharraf to deny or blame a few
individual scientists. In this case army was eager to get missile
technology from the North Koreans, hence traded a nuclear centrifuge for
In conclusion, one can say only one thing with great certainty that
Americans have been sweet talked into believing Pakistani Army and its
ideals. In fact it is a rogue army, lead by rogue generals and helped by
rogue scientists and nuclear engineers.
(The author is a retired Vice President from C-I-L Inc.
and has lived in Canada for the past 34 years. A graduate of Punjab
University and University of Missouri; Rolla, the author is a former
investment strategies analyst and international relations manager)
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