Authors across the globe are using all sorts of negative adjectives to describe the program while ignoring the growth in nuclear weapons of India and Israel. The Current issue of Newsweek list Pakistan’s Nuclear program as the fastest growing with 200+ nukes headed towards third largest arsenal after US and USSR–more than France which currently has 290 nukes. Most poignantly Newsweek validates what we have been writing for years. Pakistan is mining its own Uranium and is not dependent on the Nuclear Supplier’s Group.
Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of the Pakistani Nuclear bomb wrote in a commentary published by Newsweek. He clearly stated that Pakistan established its nuclear weapons program as a defensive measure to avoid falling victim to “Nuclear blackmail.” ”India is engaged in a massive program to cope with the nonexistent threat posed by China and in order to become a superpower,” Qadeer Khan wrote. “India doesn’t need more than five weapons to hurt us badly, and we wouldn’t need more than 10 to return the favor. That is why there has been no war between us for the past 40 years.”
The reason for the accumulation of numbers is the added threat posed by the US which wants to denuclearize Pakistan. The latest plutonium based weapons from the Khushab reactors are smaller, easy to conceal and can be used to manufacture tactical nukes which would destroy Bharati armored division racing toward the border 100 miles before they reach the border.
As Bharat spends $50 billion on an arms spree, Pakistan is taking a defensive posture by acquiring 50 J-11s and J-20 stealth fighters from China and burnishing its Hataf-9 tactical missiles.
Pakistan’s recent testing of NASR or Hatf-9 short range missiles (SRMs), combined with its rapidly growing stockpile of low-intensity nuclear weapons, clearly describe its intentions–that it is actually preparing to cross the nuclear threshold in case of a conflict with India. The Bharat specific Nuclear-tipped NASR is a weapon intended for use against Indian forces advancing into or towards Pakistani territory.
In any major conflict with Bharat–the tactical Nuclear Nasar would be a shot across the bow, without targeting population centers. The Nasar would halt the Bharati advance in its tracks, and prohibit hotile movement towards the Pakistani border.
Islamabd’s Atomic program began with Uranium enrichment. We now know that Pakistan was using its own uranium mined on its own territory. Thus is bypassed the Nuclear Suppliers group and other countries which imposed restrictions on its program. France twice reneged to sell it a Nuclear Processing plant.
Islamabad has a very sophisticated nuclear program that has gone beyond basics. Islamabad’s nuclear weapons program has expanded considerably in recent years. Some cynics that that the program has gone “far beyond what could be considered a minimum credible deterrent against India”. The Pakistanis insist the program is for self-defense and the Pakistani analysts know that Pakistan has to hide its weapons from prying eyes, jealous thoughts, covetous hands, and kleptomaniac intentions. Many analysts point to the rapid expansion in fissile material production, moving from Uranium to Plutonium.
Islamabad seeks warhead miniaturization so that it can halt aggressive Bharati designs. The Delhi pundits are now scared of Pakistani multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) and its Medium Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBM) ie Hataf-9.
Sanctions or no sanctions, Pakistan has never signed the Nuclear proliferation Treaty (NPT) and never will. It will not sign the the Fissile Materials Cut-off treaty (FMCT).
According to Newsweek and most estimates, Pakistan today has 190 nuclear bombs. Rupee News estimates that Pakistan has 250-300 nuclear bombs in its possession. Most are hidden deep and way from prying American eyes. The US is only aware of a part of the Pakistani arsenal. All information given to the US is inaccurate, or only partially accurate.
Abdul Qadeer Khan recently said “No nuclear-capable country has been subjected to aggression or occupied, or had its borders redrawn.”
Khan correctly described the history of occupation. “Had Iraq and Libya been nuclear powers, they wouldn’t have been destroyed in the way we have seen recently. If we had had nuclear capability before 1971, we would not have lost half of our country — present-day Bangladesh.”
Challenging the large amounts attributed to the Pakistani defense program, he said that Pakistan initially set aside $10 million in nuclear weapons funding annually, and it later increased the yearly budget to $20 million when the program reached “full capacity,” he wrote, adding the funds covered “all salaries, transport, medical care, housing, utilities, and purchases of technical equipment and materials.”
“This is but half the cost of a modern fighter aircraft. The propaganda about spending exorbitant sums on the nuclear program circulated by ignorant, often foreign-paid, Pakistanis has no substance,” Abdul Khan said.
The ROI on that amount is freedom for the Pakistani people.
“Most Pakistanis believe the jihadist scenario is something that the West has created as a bogey,” says “an excuse, so they can screw us, de fang, and denuclearize us.” Pervez Hoodbhoy, “Our program is an issue of extreme sensitivity for every man, woman, and child in Pakistan,” nukes are “well dispersed and protected in secure locations.” Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf.
Since the days of US sanctions, when Pakistan got gypped out of $450 million of Fi-16s. Pakistan never got the planes, nor did it ever get back the money ti paid for the planes. Soya bean shipments don’t count. Pakistan has developed an advanced delivery system and has deployed the Medium Range Shaheen II (2,500-3,500 km) with a payload of 1000 kg. The Shaheen already has an advanced MIRV system.
In a moment of political drunkenness in front of Times of India interview, President Zardari announced a “No First Use” policy on nuclear weapons. However he gave up his powers over the nuclear arsenal and today has not control on the doctrine of the bombs themselves.
After perfecting the cheaper centrifuge process Islamabad’s obvious move was toward Plutonium. Today its Plutonium Fissile material production capability has been greatly expanded by the heavy water reactors at Khushab, and other places that the satellites do not know about. Pakistan has secret nuclear plants that are hidden deep under the earth–plants that the satellites cannot monitor. It took the Pakistanis eight years to build the first plant at Khushab. The second one was built in four years. It has been duplicated in other spots which are underground.
These plants enable Pakistan to produce enough Plutonium for 50 or more warheads per year. The Gas Centrifuge plant at Kahuta has 10,000- 15,000 centrifuges. It and the secret plants are already producing highly enriched Uranium. Pakistan is moving to plutonium weapons for obvious strategic reasons. The Plutonium weapons are smaller and these miniaturized weapons can be used to manufacture tactical nuclear bombs—weapons which will vaporize an advancing column of T-90 tanks, and place giant creators where mechanized artillery divisions used to be. The smaller weapons require 2-4 kg of plutonium and when boosted with tritium can enhance the yields by three to four times. The Hataf-9 is one such “Cold Start” buster which has been tested and mobilized.
“Our nuclear weapons program has given us an impregnable defense, and we are forced to maintain this deterrence until our differences with India are resolved. That would lead to a new era of peace for both countries. I hope I live to see Pakistan and India living harmoniously in the same way as the once bitter enemies Germany and France live today” (Abdul Qadeer Khan, father of Pakistan’s Nuclear Program. Newsweek, May 16)
Some analysts speculate–possibly to malign the program– that Pakistan’s nuclear and missile program is being built to respond to perceived threats outside Delhi. Pakistan is providing a nuclear umbrella to Saudi Arabia since 2003 and has helped Iran in the initial stages of its atomic development. Tehran handed over the P-1 centrifuges to the IAEA. Sauid Arabia has the intermediate Iange Ballistic Missiles CSS-2 IRBMs which it acquired from China.
More than two divisions of Pakistan are stationed in Saudi Arabia and a division is in Bahrain. They protect the holy land. Some of Pakistan’s Ghauri II Missiles with a range of 2300 km are stationed across the Saudi desert too. Pakistan is a not a signatory to the NPT so has no compunctions in stationing its nuclear arsenal within Saudi territory. Once the US leaves Afghanistan, many of these missiles will be stationed in the Afghan mountains most appropriately named Hindu Kush.