DAWN :How Pakistan’s nuclear weapons could be jeopardised!!!

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by JAISWAL, Jun 2, 2011.


    JAISWAL Senior Member Senior Member

    Mar 13, 2010
    Likes Received:
    How Pakistan’s nuclear weapons could be jeopardised | | DAWN.COM
    ISLAMABAD: It’s a nightmare scenario: al
    Qaeda militants gain control of a Pakistani
    nuclear weapon, either through a base
    assault, theft or a rogue commander’s
    cooperation, possibly in the event of
    hostilities with nuclear-armed neighbour

    While most experts believe Pakistan’s strategic
    nuclear arsenal is safe, items such as low-yield,
    mobile nuclear delivery systems— called “shoot
    and scoot” tactical nuclear weapons — could be
    highly vulnerable.
    The Nasr (Hatf-9) system being developed is a
    short-range, surface-to-surface multi-tube ballistic
    missile system. With a range of 60 km (37.5
    miles), it’s designed for battlefield use.
    Deploying small, portable nuclear weapons onto
    a battlefield increases the risk of things going
    wrong, either through miscalculation, an accident
    or possible infiltration by militant groups, nuclear
    experts say.
    Here are some scenarios of how Pakistan might
    lose control over some of its nuclear arsenal.
    Fog of (Nuclear) War
    In the event of hostilities between India and
    Pakistan, militants could seize control of a Hatf-9
    system— essentially a rocket launcher on a
    truck. But could they use it?
    It’s necessary to understand the circumstances.
    In case of war between Islamabad and New
    Delhi, India is developing a“Cold Start” doctrine,
    which envisions armored battle groups quickly
    pushing into Pakistani territory, holding key
    pockets and then forcing Islamabad to the
    negotiating table.
    The plan is to avoid antagonizing Pakistan to the
    point that it would retaliate with ballistic missiles
    against Indian cities, but Pakistani doctrine— and
    the Hatf-9 system — appears to envision using
    tactical nuclear weapons, possibly on its own soil,
    against the invaders.
    But deploying tactical weapons to the battlefield
    means command and control has to be
    dispersed to individual military units.
    And while Pakistan normally separates warheads
    and delivery systems, in times of crisis, weapons
    would be armed and deployed, although still
    “locked” by authentication codes, says Professor
    Shaun Gregory, director of the Pakistan Security
    Research Unit at the University of Bradford.
    “However in a fluid battlefield context such codes
    will likely be released to prevent the weapons
    being overrun before they can be used,” he told
    Reuters in an email. “In such a ‘release delegated’
    state … it’s possible that terrorists could seize a
    functioning weapon.”
    Pakistan says its weapons have indigenously
    developed safety systems to prevent misuse, but
    it has never allowed outsiders to inspect these
    systems, Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, senior fellow for
    South Asia at the International Institute for
    Strategic Studies in London, told Reuters.
    Rogue Commanders
    Another scenario is the “rogue commander”.
    Militant groups have had varying degrees of
    success in infiltrating the Pakistani military, but it’s
    unclear how deeply they go.
    In addition to mechanical safety systems,
    Pakistan says its nuclear weapons are secure
    because of rigorous background checks and
    continuous monitoring of personnel for extremist
    That monitoring appears insufficient.
    As far back as 2006, the United States was
    reporting in diplomatic cables, recently published
    by Wikileaks, that Pakistani pilots and flight crew
    were engaging in“petty sabotage” of American
    F-16s to prevent them being used against Taliban
    militants in the northwest.
    The bodyguards for Punjab governor Salman
    Taseer were also heavily screened, but he was
    killed by an extremist who managed to get
    assigned to his security detail.
    Speculation is also rife that the Taliban assaults on
    the PNS Mehran naval base in Karachi this month
    and on the Army General Headquarters in
    Rawalpindi in 2009 were aided by sympathisers
    from within the military.
    While a commander going rogue is unlikely, “this
    is an ongoing struggle,” Roy-Chaudhury said.
    “The expected increase in radicalisation, especially
    within the Pakistani army after the U.S. raid and
    killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad… raises
    additional concerns.”
    Rogue commanders could, in a conflict with
    India, hand over codes and weapons to militants
    or cooperate with them. The more mercenary
    types might simply sell them.
    Seizing A Tactical Weapon From A Base
    Another possibility doesn’t require a fight with
    India. The PNS Mehran attack shows militants
    have developed the ability to attack and hold
    ground inside sensitive military bases. And while
    no nuclear facilities have been penetrated yet the
    possibility has caused great concern.
    “I think the attack on PNS Mehran (and on the
    GHQ in 2009) show that terrorists are developing
    tactics which enable them to penetrate highly-
    secure bases and hold space within them for
    hours,” Gregory said. “This suggests nuclear
    weapons security is increasingly vulnerable.”
    Because of their smaller size, tactical weapons are
    more portable. And while the warheads wouldn’t
    be armed, the fissile materials of the cores could
    conceivably be extracted and used with
    conventional explosives to create a“dirty bomb”.
    Militants could attack a base, seize a warhead or
    its core materials and then escape. A Pakistani
    tactical nuclear weapon might contain as little as
    15-20kg (33-44 lbs) of enriched uranium.
    “Responsible Pakistani stewards of their nuclear
    assets have no choice but to re-evaluate their
    security requirements and procedures,” said
    Michael Krepon, director of the South Asia and
    Space Security programs for Stimson, a
    Washington-based think tank for international
  3. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

    Jul 29, 2010
    Likes Received:
    I don't care what are the developments in Pakistan but I'm concerned what India will do should Pakistan mess with WMD.

    Will India cede under international pressure?
    Will we retaliate or wipe off Porkis once for all?
    Will we go and beg for permission from Uncle Sam?

    Or the scariest option is that will the incompetent political leaders be more concerned about getting the fvck out of here?

Share This Page