The Chashma deal

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

PAKISTAN`S nuclear programme is once again under fire. This time the legality of its deal with China for two nuclear reactors ostensibly for civilian purposes is being questioned.

The US has demanded an explanation from Beijing and has asked for details of the accord it concluded with Islamabad three months ago. It wants to be sure that China is not violating the international obligations it undertook when it joined the 46-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The NSG is a regulatory body to oversee trade in nuclear fuel and technology to ensure that material for civilian energy is not used for manufacturing weapons.
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Dr Khan’s new mission

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

DR A.Q. KHAN, who is a hero to many as the father of Pakistan`s atom bomb, was declared a free citizen by the Islamabad High Court last week. The government has said it will appeal against the ruling.
Yet many rejoiced at Dr Khan`s winning his freedom that was said to be limited by mutually agreed conditions imposed on him by the government. The scientist has promised to spend his days spreading education though it is not clear what his message will be.
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No Time for War: A Call for Peace Amid Rising Nuclear Tensions between Pakistan and India

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: The WIP

Peace activists in Pakistan and India are attempting desperately to be heard above the din raised by warmongers – elitist by all counts and claiming to be patriotic as well – in the wake of the Mumbai carnage. Jingoism is in the air – be it from so-called nationalists (posing as analysts on television) advocating a nuclear attack for the defense of their country, or the man on the street. Be they from Pakistan or India, they speak of war with great abandon as if it is child’s play. For the electronic media it is a race for sensationalism.

• Peaceful protests are being held throughout Pakistan in what many are calling the most significant mobilization for peace in the country's recent history. Photograph by Naeem Sadiq. •

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Unlearnt lesson of Hiroshima

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

SIXTY years ago on August 6, 1945, President Harry Truman issued a statement in Washington saying, “Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, Japan and destroyed its usefulness to the enemy. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of TNT. It had more than two thousand times the blast power of the British “Grand Slam”, which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare.”

This event, which was underplayed at the time in terms of the human devastation it caused, changed the world for ever. This is what the crew of Enola Gay, the plane which dropped the atomic bomb nicknamed Little Boy, had been given to understand.

The world did change but in a terrifying way. Hiroshima marked the ushering in of the atomic age. Historians dispute the American contention that the use of the atom bomb, that killed 150,000 instantly or within a few days, led to the quick Japanese surrender and saved thousands of American lives. The Japanese emperor was preparing to end the war even without the use of the atom bomb. Be that as it may, this is not disputed that the use of nuclear weapons for the first time transformed radically the pattern of war and international relations.
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Nonproliferation: failure yet again

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

THE NPT review conference which collapsed with a whimper at the end of May went practically unnoticed in Pakistan. This indifference can be attributed to the fact that Islamabad, along with New Delhi and Tel Aviv, was not present at the conference which brought 188 NPT signatories together in New York for their five-yearly exercise.

Another reason for not taking note of the event is the apathy in this country towards nuclear weapons. The conference ended a day before the seventh anniversary of Pakistan’s own nuclear tests at Chaghai. It might seem rather strange that apart from a few peace activists no one even remembered that catastrophic day when Pakistan opted for the road which can prove to be self-destructive.
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Non-proliferation dilemma

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

THE non-proliferation treaty review conference being held in New York since May 2 is the biggest hoax in the history of nuclear disarmament negotiations. There is a lot of sound and fury that is being generated at the moot. But it seems strange that the thrust of the nuclear club’s attack is against the supposedly aberrant states in the Third World.

At the same time, a blind eye is turned to the inherent inequity envisaged in the treaty that was concluded in 1968 and came into force in 1970. What is more, the haves of the nuclear world appear to be acquiring greater privileges and power while the have-nots are being pushed further against the wall. This inequality in their relationship has been growing with the passage of time causing greater discontent globally.
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Learning from Hiroshima

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

The India-Pakistan dialogue has had many ups and downs since it was launched last year. The fact is that every time there is a “down” there are many who wait with bated breath and keep their fingers crossed.

Is there need for this over-reaction – if one may call it so? Yes, if one remembers that both India and Pakistan now have nuclear capability and could use nuclear weapons if war breaks out between them. They have threatened to do so, at least on one occasion.
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To go nuclear or not is the question

By Zubeida Mustafa

THE suspension of American aid to Pakistan has produced one positive result. It has for the first time brought into the open the nuclear debate in this country.

Given the categorical linkage Washington instituted between the flow of economic assistance to Pakistan and nuclear non-prolif eration, Islamabad never encouraged a public discussion on the atom bomb.

To use Stephen Cohen’s term, a policy of ‘designed ambiguity’ was adopted. In other words, the capacity and the will of the government to go nuclear are deliberately kept ambivalent. Continue reading “To go nuclear or not is the question”