And it is singing off its old song-sheets
Gen Musharraf may not have played it up on his recent trip to Washington, but Pakistan is continuing to pursue the line that it should be offered similar nuclear co-operation deals as India. If not, and as is usual with Pakistan the ‘if not’ is the more important part, not only will it be ‘constrained to look for other sources to meet its energy needs’ but also warned that there will be ‘no stability’ in the region if India is favoured and Pakistan ignored. Mercifully, unlike in the case of the P3-C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft, the war on terror has not been used to justify this demand.
In other words, it’s back to blackmail. While it may be justified for Pakistan to explore alternative suppliers of nuclear technology and fuel, its attempt to link regional stability to being treated in the same manner of India is entirely bogus. That it has the audacity to demand it speaks volumes for the manner in which the United States and India allowed Musharraf to cover up Pakistan’s dubious role in putting weapons of mass destruction in the hands of some of the world’s worst regimes.
With the passage of time, Pakistan’s demands will increase in their vociferousness, even as it calculates that it need not come clean on its shady nuclear dealings. That is one reason why the matter of A Q Khan must not be allowed to die a quiet death. Also, it is necessary for India and the United States to emphatically reject the bogey of regional instability, which is a neat term that Pakistan uses to describe its own potential to either rock the boat (as in this case) or to implode. More reasons then, to get to the bottom of the matter of the Centrifugist and his military bosses.