View Full Version : Pakistan and nuclear weapons (catch all)

03-10-2008, 09:06 PM
From MEMRI -

Senior Pakistani Newspaper Editor: We Should Not Hesitate To Use Nuclear Weapons to Take Kashmir from India (http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD186508)

In an interview on the Waqt television channel, that was published by the mainstream right-wing Urdu daily Roznama Nawa-i-Waqt, senior Pakistani newspaper editor Majeed Nizami discussed Kashmir's importance to Pakistan, called it “the jugular vein” of Pakistan, and added that Pakistan should not hesitate to use nuclear weapons to take it from India.

03-10-2008, 09:22 PM
Just as Pakistan tries to return to democracy a newspaper editor says this, simply amazing. This is nothing more than a distraction from the real issue, the governance of Pakistan. Threatening the use of nuclear weapons will cause some Indians to see only evil comes from Pakistan, leaving aside the practicalities of any threat.

Almost akin to "shouting fire in a crowded cinema". Free speech has a price.


03-10-2008, 09:34 PM
This editor must have an attention problem. Given Pakistan's troubles in NWFP and FATA, to worry one whit about Kashmir right now is akin to one worrying over whether he fed his dog today when his child is drowning.

Simply amazing.

03-10-2008, 09:38 PM
What I find worrying is that it *might* act as a unifying focus for inside Pakistan on the old Soviet model of "problems at home? Cause trouble abroad".

Ron Humphrey
03-11-2008, 04:38 PM
What I find worrying is that it *might* act as a unifying focus for inside Pakistan on the old Soviet model of "problems at home? Cause trouble abroad".

An attempt at introducing factors which would complicate our somewhat tenuous relationship which the military by placing us on an opposing side. Their military has people they have to work with to and the PC requirements could get really convoluted real quick on how to address such things.

03-11-2008, 06:54 PM
This editor saying this is not surprising. He manages the major mainstream right-wing media in Pakistan. He's previously said the only solution that will work in Kashmir is force and has justified pretty much any violent act toward that end.

06-24-2009, 12:59 PM
SWP, 23 Jun 09: Pakistan as a Nuclear Power: Nuclear Risks, Regional Conflicts and the Dominant Role of the Military (http://www.swp-berlin.org/en/common/get_document.php?asset_id=6081)

.....our study deals with three questions of overriding importance:
How secure are Pakistan's nuclear weapons and nuclear facilities?
How stable is the domestic political situation in Pakistan?
What are the likely prospects for the Pakistan-India conflict?

06-24-2009, 06:00 PM
Certainly not the first time this has been said. Both Indian and Pakistani presses stoke hardline nationalism for the most part.

This editor must have an attention problem. Given Pakistan's troubles in NWFP and FATA, to worry one whit about Kashmir right now is akin to one worrying over whether he fed his dog today when his child is drowning.

A good reminder that politics does not stop because the U.S. believes something is an emergency. Kashmir has been an obsession of Pakistani nationalism since its founding.

Remember that for most Punjabis, the NWFP and FATA are as far away mentally as Mississippi is from Oregon. Historically they are the most backward and isolated bits of the country, outside of perhaps Balochistan, and treated as more of a colonial possession than a constituent part of the country.

06-24-2009, 10:33 PM
Remember that for most Punjabis, the NWFP and FATA are as far away mentally as Mississippi is from Oregon.

A little culture shock going on there:D

Ken White
06-24-2009, 11:14 PM
there are in Jackson and Hattiesburg combined. Only differences are that out west they don't eat catfish, aren't as polite and they talk funny... :D

06-25-2009, 09:38 PM
Just found this on a BBC website and may be of interest, let alone the opening tale that pakistan's nukes have been dispersed: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/markurban/


11-15-2012, 07:59 PM
Pakistan's possession of nuclear weapons is an important aspect of her relations with friends and neighbours. One that some suspect is a clear and future danger if Pakistan changes course. In fact I heard a retired US diplomat on the BBC a month ago remark "Why do we pay so much attention to Iran, when Pakistan has nukes".

So here is an article by a UK-based analyst 'Pakistan, NATO, and tactical nuclear weapons: two of a kind?', which was spotted today:http://shashankjoshi.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/pakistan-nato-and-tactical-nuclear-weapons-two-of-a-kind/

In the opening:
The rationale for Pakistan’s use of such weapons is familiar to most, and often invokes NATO’s nuclear doctrine. It is worth understanding how exactly NATO’s nuclear thinking applies to Pakistan, and what this implies for how its arsenal might develop and how India might respond to this.

Near the end:
Whereas NATO was a multinational alliance with a variety of perspectives on where the nuclear threshold ought to lie, Pakistani decision-making – whatever its pathologies – is certainly simpler and more responsive. India cannot rely on Pakistani hesitation, even though it, India, would surely calibrate the level of force so as to make any Pakistani decision a difficult one.

If Pakistan does place increasing stress on limited nuclear options, and tactical nuclear weapons in particular, then understanding the differences from the NATO precedent – the ones discussed here, and plenty of others – will be as important as seeing the similarities.

07-26-2013, 06:55 PM
A counter-factual question raised by RUSI's Shashank Joshi, so hat tip to him. What if Pakistani nuclear weapons had been present in Afghanistan in September 2001? Ridiculous idea, but he has found this unsupported WaPo report from November 2001:
Pakistani fears of an Indian attack on its nuclear sites were so great in the summer of 1999, after Pakistani-supported guerrillas invaded Indian territory, that military officers here secretly contacted Taliban officials about the possibility of moving some nuclear assets westward to neighboring Afghanistan for safekeeping, according to a recently retired Pakistani general officer familiar with the talks.

”The option was actively discussed with the Taliban after some indications emerged that India may open hostilities at the eastern border,” the retired official said. ‘‘The Taliban accepted the requests with open arms.”

The former official said the talks were ”exploratory” and said that no nuclear-related assets were placed in Afghanistan. At the time, Pakistan’s military and intelligence services had close relations with the Taliban, providing training, weapons and other support.

Link to WaPo:http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20011111/A_NEWS/311119943 and Shashank's blog:http://shashankjoshi.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/the-afghan-missile-crisis-that-wasnt/

Speculate away! I've added this comment to the blog:
What if the nuclear weapons had been present in Afghanistan in September 2001?

A lot depends on how many knew they were in country, whether in Kabul, Delhi, Islamabad, Tehran and Washington. More particularly how many knew exactly their location(s).

For a moment let us assume others only knew after 9/11. In the heated atmosphere, in the USA and beyond it is easy to speculate that the USA would have struck first if the targets had been identified. Even today a vague sign that AQ plus have a WMD intention sends the USA into hyper-drive, let alone has a capability.

Pakistan I expect would have swiftly withdrawn any such weapons and signalled that clearly to “interested parties”. Adding it had been a low-level decision and was a big mistake.

Hopefully those “far more in the know” can answer.

07-26-2013, 09:07 PM
Possibly one outcome, in the face of what could be perceived as gross negligence with WMD, would have been an international move to shut down the Pakistani nuclear programme - using all elements of national power. This could have changed the whole dynamic of Pakistani support to insurgents in Afghanistan as well...

12-30-2013, 10:01 PM
From War on The Rocks a glimpse into the future, which is rather bleak IMHO as the Shia-Sunni civil war escalates and the title says it all:
Confronting Reality: The Saudi-Pakistani Nuclear Nexus

It ends with:
If American efforts and promises fail, then Washington must accept that Islamabad will transfer some form of nuclear weapons capability to Saudi Arabia. Washington’s best policy option is be realistic rather than idealistic and maintain sufficient diplomatic and military relevance in Islamabad and Riyadh to limit the impact of this transfer on Israel’s threat calculus. America should prefer that any physical transfer of capability be limited to aircraft delivery systems and be in small numbers. These features would be the least threatening to Israel in both the short and long term, reinforcing a long-standing Pakistani nuclear weapons posture imperative.


09-09-2014, 06:30 PM
A 'What If' question. Instability in Pakistan has long been a "given" and every so often it appears to slide towards the precipice, then pulls away.

I do recall, now some years ago, speculation about the (in)security of the Pakistani nuclear weapons stockpile and what should happen if nation-state, notably the military, lost both the capability and will to keep them secure. That is one issue.

Pakistan is not just a nuclear-armed state. It has a complex relationship with its neighbours, notably with India and with China and the USA. Not to overlook Saudi Arabia, especially as former and present leaders like to have long stays there or in the Gulf states - as guests.

Personally I think if the nuclear weapons, foreign embassies and resident or visiting foreign nationals are safeguarded in an emergency no-one would want to be actively involved.

09-09-2014, 08:57 PM
If the nukes and all those other people could be safeguard then the state wouldn't be collapsing.

If there is ever any serious doubt that those nukes can't be controlled, I can see no way at all that India won't act to grab them. India cannot take any chances those things could go walkabout because their most likely target would be India.

Unless a miracle happens and the Pak Army/ISI can be discredited to the extent they lose their privileged place in Pakistani society, there seems to be no way at all that all this will end well. It is very a much a pity that our best chance to influence things in that direction would to have not been complete fools in Afghanistan. But we blew it.

09-10-2014, 07:49 AM
What of the possibility of Pakistani Army/ISI ambition to retain political/economic/military power and relevancy by leasing an IRBM Regiment's worth of nuclear warheads to Saudi Arabia once Iran goes nuclear?

With the US leaving Afghanistan and Pakistan losing leverage to extort logistical occupation tax/royalties from the US, and thus the ability for the US to seek closer alignment with India, I would think Pakistan's behavior in the future could mimic GCC behavior.

Which means less "by, with, thru" and more "around, without, and in spite of".

As I understand it, Pakistan has earned mercenary income from the Saudi state via many Pakistani military working on behalf of the Saudi state and that maybe Saudi played a role in funding Pakistan's nuclear program(directly or indirectly).

I would think a closer Saudi/Pakistani partnership, with a possible nuclear angle, quietly backed by China is more than just a possibility?

Pakistan's Army/ISI stay geopolitically relevant and solvent.

Saudi regime continuity is better insured.

Or do I need to take some crazy pills?

09-10-2014, 06:57 PM
I wrote this in more optimistic times, but it may still have some relevance(when i get some time, I hope to do a follow up):


Last paras:

So much for the optimistic version. Since this is a post about Pakistan, it cannot end without some pessimism. The most dangerous element in Pakistan today is not the Islamist fanatics. It is the rise of China. Not because the rise of China threatens Pakistan or because Chinese hyper-capitalism or cheap Chinese products threaten our industry or our social peace or any such thing, but because it may inflate the egos of the military high command to the point that they lose contact with reality and try a high jump for which we are not yet ready (and may never be ready). It’s not that the high jump will get anywhere, but that the attempt may lead us into more trouble than we can handle.

I say this because GHQ, for all its pragmatic pretensions, has been known to overestimate their skill and underestimate their opponents. If China was not truly a rising power, and if Pakistan did not have some real assets and advantages, we might have been safer in the long run. But since there is an element of truth in the paknationalists notions about China and the changing global balance of power, they may lose their balance. All I am saying is GHQ is prone to flying off on a self-generated hot air pocket even when the situation does not encourage such optimism. When the situation actually has some positive aspects, there may be no restraining them. But, I remain an optimist. I think our own weaknesses may protect us from the fate of a much stronger and more capable country (Germany in 1940).
- See more at: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2011/03/pakistan-failed-state-or-weimar-republic-omar-ali.html#sthash.rnWXbnRj.dpuf

05-30-2018, 08:28 PM
An interesting, short explanation how Pakistan became a nuclear weapon state.

I have merged in a small thread 'Pakistan collapses: how will others respond?' as it sits well here.