General Pervez Musharraf

"Pak Army planned ’use of N-arms’ during the Kargil War" is a sample title of the news item carried by many national dailes on October 29, 2007. The item has been excerpted from the book, Deception: Pakistan, the United States and the Global Nuclear Weapons Conspiracy by investigative journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark [1]. They cite a conversation between President Bill Clinton and the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif eight years ago when they met at Blair House in July 1999. There had been earlier instances as well where Pakistani generals came rather close to pulling the nuclear trigger according to reports that emanated from knowledgeable sources. On occasions Pakistani generals themselves have taken positions at international forums that indicated the nuclear brinkmanship on the part of the generals in power.

In the extreme volatility that obtains post-9/11 in and around Pakistan, considered by many to be the epicentre of Islamist radicalism, what should the world make of these disclosures. More importantly, what should the people of Pakistan make of the revelations that do not leave much doubt, especially based on past record, that under the sway of the military their nation is seldom far from further break up, or national suicide. For, whatever might have been the other shortcomings of the now discredited civilian prime ministers following the Zia-ul Haq era they certainly did not indulge in the type of brinkmanship that brought disaster to Pakistan on more than one occasion. Making light of the destiny of Pakistan has remained the forte of Pakistani generals.

What is more, the nuclear brinkmanship, that only Pakistani generals are capable of, could have resulted in the total destruction of Pakistan. India, committed to No-First-Use of nuclear weapons has not left Pakistani military planners in any doubt that having come under self-induced vulnerability due to N-F-U, it would have no choice but to go in for massive retaliation should Pakistan choose to exercise the nuclear option. In MAD terms it means that whereas India would suffer unimaginable horrors that, inter alia, might push India back economically by several decades, the nation of Pakistan, as presently constituted, could well disappear from the map of the world on account of its geographical size and population concentrations, especially in the Punjab. In fact, India would not even be required to target the other provinces of Pakistan, seeking deliverance from the Punjabi yoke. In as far as it concerns the radical Islamists, whose WMD targetting, by whatever means, would be directed against the West rather than India, they are fully alive to the fact that a WMD exchange with India would sizeably reduce the Muslim population of the world. In addition to the casualties within Pakistan brought on by Indian retaliatory action a few tens of million Muslims in India could also become casualties due to the Pakistani actions, i.e., the Muslim ummat gets hit both ways through no fault of theirs, merely because Pakistan remains a state run by the military-jehadi combine, whatever the innocent disclaimers from time to time at the apex of the Pakistan military hierarchy.

China, the all-weather friend of Pakistan, is no friend of the ordinary people of Pakistan, if looked at objectively. The atheist communist dispensation that runs China is more comfortable with the non-democratic military dispensation in Pakistan. Casualties numbering in the millions have never disturbed the sleep of autocratic regimes anywhere in the world. The Chinese have nearly settled their problems in the outlying western provinces occupied by them after the Maoist take-over through genocide in Xiniang and Tibet. They have assisted Pakistan to become a nuclear power not out of deep friendship for the Muslims of that country. Pakistan has been set up as a formidable adversary against India to serve China’s geostrategic interests in the subcontinent and the adjoining regions. The latter would not be overly upset by a full-scale exchange between Pakistan and India so that India is reduced to a third-rate economic power rather than a future competitor to China’s economic might. That is why they have helped Pakistan with missile technologies that augment the range to target Bangalore and the Indian IT hubs. In the bargain, should Pakistan simply go under, just too bad.

In the light of the above the people of Pakistan have to wake up from their military-induced somnolence to retrieve the destiny of their country - and their place in the sun - from the military and the mullahs before it becomes too late. The question of another war between the nations of the subcontinent should simply not arise.

[1Deception: Pakistan, the United States and the Global Nuclear Weapons Consipracy, by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark, Atlantic Books, September 2007.