What now?

Here are two deals which have been struck so far

With this both Musharraf’s role in the shady deals and US role in turning a Nelson’s eye to three decades of illicit nuclear activity by the Pakistanis are conveniently brushed aside as bygones. That’s very well and good for Musharraf, but extremely dangerous for the rest of us. For example, in the same speech where he pardoned A Q Khan, Musharraf announced a test firing of a 2000km range ballistic missile (Shaheen II). Pakistan is sure to reject forced nuclear disarmament or international control over its arsenal.

Here’s some of the things the Bush White House needs to do forthwith:

  • Firstly, link any further doling out of aid to Musharraf demonstrating that he is keeping his promises.
  • Secondly, ensure Pakistan makes anti-proliferation committments by signing the NPT. Pakistan’s long standing argument that it will sign only if India does so first is no longer acceptable. The NPT is just a piece of paper, but allows the UN to impose sanctions if Pakistan violates its terms. That will make it more difficult for US presidents to close one eye to Pakistan and make a mockery of America’s own anti-proliferation legislation like the Pressler amendment. As Seymour Hersh pointed out, Pakistan was able to pursue its Islamic bomb programme with US funds and White House apathetic connivance.
  • Thirdly, allow the Pakistani nation to come to terms with the truth. Condoning Musharraf and the military’s involvement in the illegal nuclear business conveys a wrong message to the Pakistani people. A stable, democratic Pakistan with well established institutions will best hope for global security. Overlooking the Army’s trespasses will not help in Pakistan’s path towards national reconciliation.

Nuclear weapons have not been able to ensure its security, have damaged the economy, diverted attention and resources away from human development, and pushed its population to hateful extremism. The Acorn believes that Pakistan has the right to decide whether it wants to own nuclear weapons or not – but it is in everyone’s interest to ensure that the management of these weapons is not carried out in a cavalier and reckless manner, as it is to keep these weapons, technology and materials from falling into any more hands.

Related Links: Editorials: Financial Times, Christian Science Monitor & Washington Post echo the Acorn’s call, while the Pakistan’s Daily Times suggests that its time to close this case. Zack’s blog, Procrastination gives a Pakistani take on this matter. The Agonist argues that Bush has struck a deal with Musharraf – Osama for forgiveness

I’m in the risk/reward business and so I have to ask a question that everyone in the national security community should be asking themselves: Is Osama a fair trade for letting Pakistan get a free ride from proliferating REAL weapons of mass destruction? Is Osama worth letting ISI off the hook? You know, they are the guys that created and bankrolled that group called the Taliban? Some people are even hinting they are at it again.

I haven’t got an answer myself, yet. But I do have a gut feeling–and it ain’t good.

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