A roundtable conference on Saturday ended with the reassurance that no country or terrorist organisation can have access to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. The discussion was organised by Strategic Technology Resources (STR), an independent research institute. The need for the discussion was felt in the wake of the uncertainty and fear prevailing in the country after the Abbottabad operation on May 2. Questions were being raised in the media about the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, the organisers said. The Arms Control & Disarmament Centre of STR said that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems are safe and secure. Dr Shireen Mazari, a defence analyst and Chief Executive Officer of STR, chaired the discussion, in which a number of foreign journalists, scholars and intellectuals participated. She said Pakistan’s civilian nuclear facilities are operating under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) guidelines and have been declared safe. The IAEA Deputy Director General, Denis Flory, who visited Pakistan earlier on April 23 also pointed out that Pakistan is the 10th largest contributor to the Nuclear Security Fund, having chipped in $1.16 million. She explained that non-state actors are not interested in nukes because nuclear weapons are difficult to manage as they require large infrastructural support. One has to remember that terrorists are generally on the run and have a mobile strategic doctrine, she said. “We need to get over the Kahuta syndrome, the fear that Kahuta would be targeted was perhaps valid pre-1998 but now Pakistan has moved beyond that fear,” she said, adding, “The nuclear program has matured, is robust self sustaining and widely dispersed.” She said the major reason behind US’s inability to learn about our nuclear weapons and delivery systems is that we do not have fixed silos. Instead, our weapons are mobile and therefore more difficult to detect, she said. Quoting the Indian Army Chief she said, “In Oct 2010 Indian Army Chief, General V K Singh, declared that Pakistan had made unusual arrangements for the security of these weapons after global concerns.” She added that the “so-called rogue” elements in Pakistan security did not exist. If they did they would have been exposed by the layers of security within the nuclear establishment.
By: The Express Tribune