I salute the Arms Control Association … for its keen vision of the goals ahead and for its many efforts to identify and to promote practical measures that are so vitally needed to achieve them. -

– Amb. Nobuyasu Abe
Former UN Undersecretary General for Disarmament Affairs
January 28, 2004

India and Pakistan Set Missile Talks

Ianitza T. Ianachkova

India and Pakistan are moving forward in their plan to build on recent diplomatic exchanges conducted between the two Southeast Asian rivals since the new Indian government assumed power in May.

Experts from both countries will meet Dec. 14-15 in Islamabad to discuss a draft agreement for early notification of missile tests, among other confidence-building measures.

The December agreements are expected to build on previous commitments between the two nations, such as the establishment of a hotline between the two chains of command as well as a continuation of the 1998 bilateral moratorium on further nuclear tests. (See ACT, July/August 2004.)

In the meantime, the countries have hardly paused in showing off their military prowess. India reportedly tested its nuclear-capable Prithvi missile Oct. 27 on the heels of Pakistan’s Oct. 12 test of its nuclear-capable medium-range Ghauri missile. The test follows a series of missile tests conducted by each country since May. (See ACT, September 2004.)

Both countries said they were notified of the tests.

U.S.-Pakistani F-16 Deal Up in the Air

Wade Boese

U.S. and Pakistani officials are denying claims by a senior Pakistani military commander that Washington is about to fulfill Islamabad’s long-stymied and controversial quest for advanced U.S. combat aircraft.

Pakistani Air Chief Marshal Kaleem Saadat told reporters in September that the United States would soon meet Pakistan’s 15-year-old push for F-16 fighters, providing at least 18 of the planes. In a subsequent interview with Jane’s Defence Weekly, Saadat said the transfers would probably be announced after next month’s U.S. presidential election.

Saadat appears alone in his certainty. Several Americans and Pakistanis, including government representatives of each country, told Arms Control Today that they were not aware of any ongoing negotiations or said no agreement had been reached.

If such an agreement were reached, it would end an impasse that began in 1990 when the U.S. government stopped a shipment of 28 F-16s to Pakistan in accordance with a U.S. law, known as the Pressler amendment after former Sen. Larry Pressler (R-S.D.), proscribing military exports to Islamabad if it was suspected of possessing a “nuclear explosive device.” Pakistan later publicly confirmed its possession of such a capability by responding to May 1998 nuclear tests by India with blasts of its own.

A senior administration official interviewed Oct. 7 said there is “no decision at any level of the U.S. government to provide F-16s to Pakistan.” A spokesman for the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees U.S. government arms sales to other countries, stated Sept. 22, “[A]s far as we know, a decision has not been made.” Congressional staffers also said they have not been informed of any completed or imminent deal.

The most that a top U.S. government official has said publicly is that such a sale is a possibility. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said in a Sept. 29 interview with a Pakistani television station that F-16s are “still on the table.…We’ve had discussions with the Pakistani authorities about these matters, and I’ll just leave it right there.”

A Pakistani diplomat said in an Oct. 5 interview with Arms Control Today that Islamabad has inquired about buying F-16s. Yet, the official said that no formal talks were underway and the only encouraging signs about American intentions were coming from outside the U.S. government.

Lockheed Martin Corp. spokesperson Joe Stout declined to comment Oct. 7 on the rumored deal, saying it was a government-to-government matter. Lockheed Martin makes the F-16 and supplied 40 of the aircraft to Pakistan between 1983 and 1987 when the country was actively working with the United States to help oust Soviet forces from Afghanistan.

The prospect that F-16 sales might resume became more of a reality after restrictions on arms transfers to Pakistan were swept aside days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and its enlistment as a key U.S. ally in the war on terrorism. (See ACT, October 2001.)

Since waiving the sanctions, the Bush administration has approved several arms agreements with Pakistan, including exports of helicopters, cargo aircraft, night vision equipment, radios, and various radar systems. It also paved the way for Pakistan to have greater opportunities to acquire excess U.S. arms by designating Pakistan a major non-NATO ally this past June.

Despite these actions, one congressional staffer who works on foreign policy issues said Oct. 13 that a resumption of F-16 exports to Pakistan would be a “huge line to cross” because it could have repercussions for all of South Asia.

India has protested past U.S. arms sales to its neighbor, and an Indian government official interviewed Oct. 12 said New Delhi has specifically objected to the potential transfer of F-16s. The official explained that India does not see any role for F-16s in the fight against terrorism, but suspects that Pakistan views the fighters as better suited for its rivalry with India. “It has been our experience that whenever new weapons systems arrive in Pakistan, [the Pakistani army and intelligence service] become more aggressive and intransigent,” the official commented. Such a turn of events, according to the official, could spell trouble for a recent upswing in the Indo-Pakistani relationship. (See ACT, September 2004.)

Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), who founded a congressional caucus in support of India, voiced these same concerns in a Sept. 23 letter to President George W. Bush. Pallone denounced a possible F-16 deal as “bad policy” and further charged the administration with “contributing to increased security concerns throughout South Asia, and particularly to India.”

The Bush administration has proposed a $3 billion package evenly split between military and economic assistance to Pakistan over a five-year period. Congress has yet to vote on the president’s aid request, which is included as part of the fiscal year 2005 foreign operations appropriations bill.

Pakistan Advances Export Controls

Gabrielle Kohlmeier and Miles A. Pomper


Pakistan’s Senate Sept. 18 approved export control legislation intended to strengthen current measures to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The bill is expected to be signed into law by Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf shortly.

Movement on the export control bill comes as the United States eased controls on dual-use space- and nuclear-related exports to Pakistan’s nuclear rival, India.

The bill is an effort by Pakistan to assuage concerns after Abdul Qadeer Khan revealed in February that he had passed nuclear technology to Iran and Libya, among others. (See ACT, March 2004.) Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, was pardoned by Musharraf. The legislation as passed will not apply retroactively, even though Pakistani officials had claimed that the bill could affect that pardon. (See ACT, September 2004.)

Under the Pakistani legislation, those convicted of proliferating materials relating to nuclear and biological weapons technology and missile delivery systems will face up to 14 years in prison and up to $85,000 in fines. Federal agencies will be empowered to hold any material delineated by the bill meant for export and will also have the power to inspect shipments and confiscate records of people involved in the export. The bill also stipulates that Islamabad may investigate government officials for any alleged violations and arrest perpetrators.

In passing the bill, Pakistan’s lower house, the National Assembly, rejected amendments put forth by members of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), the main opposition party. Some members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz voiced concerns that the bill could limit Pakistan’s nuclear program, but MMA objections were more concerned about procedural changes undertaken to get the legislation approved.

With Musharraf’s supporters in control of the Senate, the bill also passed that house, but not without further complaints from opponents. Members of opposition parties accused the government of rushing the bill through both houses so that it would be passed into law in time for Musharraf’s meetings with President George W. Bush on the sidelines of the meeting of the UN General Assembly. MMA representative Ghafoor Ahmed claimed that, even with the passage of this legislation, the United States will not be satisfied with Pakistan’s nuclear policies.

Members of the government, however, maintained steadfast support for the bill. Pakistan’s minister for foreign affairs, Khusro Bakhtiar, emphasized that the legislation represents an important move to strengthen regulations and controls on exports, re-exports, transshipments, and transit of items of proliferation concern. “This law provides a framework to deal with sensitive technologies and proliferation,” he said.

With the passage of this bill, Pakistan asserted it is in compliance with its obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1540 and is acting as a responsible nuclear power. Resolution 1540, passed earlier this year, directs all states to implement domestic legislation that stiffens controls over sensitive materials and technologies in an effort to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. (See ACT, May 2004.)

The United States still has not, however, been allowed access to Khan. In an interview with The New York Times on Sept. 20, Musharraf contended that the United States has never asked for access to Khan but that, if they did, they would be rebuffed. “We wouldn’t let them [have access to Khan],” Musharraf asserted. “That would show a lack of trust in our agencies.” In his meeting with Musharraf two days later, Bush made no effort to persuade Musharraf on that issue.

U.S., India Ease Licensing Rules

Meanwhile, the United States and India announced an easing of dual-use exports to India’s nuclear and space facilities, the first concrete step in implementing a new “Next Steps in Strategic Partnership” initiative between New Delhi and Washington launched in January. The change, the Department of Commerce estimated, could cut by as much as one-fourth the number of licenses U.S. firms need to obtain for exporting dual-use goods to India.

A Sept. 20 Commerce Department press release said that the move came as part of a package of measures, including “implementation of measures to address proliferation concerns.” No details of more nonproliferation measures were released.

Under the new rules, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), India’s civilian space program, will be removed from the Commerce Department entity list. That step will allow many items with both civilian and military uses to be exported from the United States to India without a license. The United States will also eliminate the need for many of ISRO’s subsidiaries to obtain licenses for importing “low-level” U.S. dual-use goods.

The announcement also expanded the scope of civilian nuclear cooperation between the United States and India. U.S. officials will now be told to presume that certain Indian facilities should be eligible to import dual-use U.S. nuclear-related equipment not restricted by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The NSG is an informal group of 44 states that seek to control nuclear exports.

The rule would limit these exports to facilities that are subject to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. India has safeguarded nuclear facilities in Rajasthan and Tarapur, each boasting two reactors. IAEA safeguards are intended to prevent civilian nuclear material from being used for military purposes.

Moreover, exports would only be permitted to the part of a nuclear power plant used for power generation, such as turbines, controllers, or power distribution, not to the nuclear reactor itself.

The changes in South Asia come as India and Pakistan have continued a series of nuclear confidence-building talks. Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri met with his Indian counterpart, Natwar Singh, Sept. 5-6 for the highest-level official talks to date. The foreign ministers agreed on 13 proposals, including further meetings between experts of each country to draft an agreement providing for advance notification of missile tests. (See ACT, September 2004.)



Pakistan Introduces Export Control Bill

Gabrielle Kohlmeier

Pakistan’s government took steps to ease concerns about control of its nuclear weapons program by introducing legislation to tighten export control restrictions. The move comes several months after the February disclosure that Abdul Qadeer Khan, the former lead Pakistani nuclear scientist, had passed nuclear secrets to Iran and Libya, among others.

The “Export Control on Goods, Technologies, Material and Equipment Related to Nuclear and Biological Weapons and their Delivery Systems Bill” was introduced in June. The legislation allows the government to oversee export, re-export, transshipment, and transit of goods, technologies, and equipment as well as to maintain control lists of goods and technologies subject to licensing requirements under the bill. Exporters must also maintain records of all transactions and report these to designated authorities.

The bill carries a penalty of up to 14 years in prison, a fine of up to five million rupees—more than $85,000—and also authorizes the seizure of property and assets of those found guilty of conducting illegal exports covered by the bill. Once passed, the law will apply to all Pakistani citizens, people in the service of Pakistan visiting or working abroad, and anyone on Pakistani territory. All ships and aircraft registered in Pakistan also will be subject to the order.

At a nonproliferation conference sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace June 21, Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Ashraf Jehangir Qazi said that an oversight board will monitor the bill’s implementation.

The bill was put forth by Pakistan’s foreign ministry and approved by Pakistan’s cabinet May 5, several days after the UN Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 1540, which mandates that all states work to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to nonstate actors by implementing domestic legislation strengthening controls on sensitive materials and technologies. Pakistan notified the United States of the bill in mid-May.

The bill is expected to receive the required approval of both the National Assembly and Senate. Pakistani officials expressed hope that the bill will fulfill Pakistan’s UN obligations and quell criticism about its nuclear activities.

Pakistan has come under fire for insufficiently guarding nuclear secrets since Khan admitted in February that he had secretly provided nuclear technology and expertise to other countries (Iran and Libya were identified as two customers) in return for a presidential pardon from Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. (See ACT, March 2004.) Pakistani officials claim, however, that Khan’s pardon is conditional and may be affected by the adoption of the bill.

In particular, Qazi said that Khan’s personal property is being confiscated but that property and assets in the name of other family members would likely not be seized. He emphasized that Pakistani officials were more interested in obtaining relevant information from Khan that will allow authorities to roll up the proliferation network, rather than imposing harsh penalties for his misbehavior. To date, Pakistan has not allowed U.S. or International Atomic Energy Agency officials to question Khan.

On July 24, Pakistani officials released three suspects who had remained detained by the Pakistani government, including a top nuclear scientist and two former army officers, all of whom were on Khan’s staff. None of the staff members suspected by Pakistani investigators and detained for long periods for questioning have been charged, and now only one of at least 26 Pakistanis detained remains in custody: Khan’s director-general of procurement, Mohammad Farooq.

Although the Bush administration has commended Islamabad for its efforts, rewarding Pakistan with major non-NATO ally status June 16, critics remain. The report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States informally known as the 9/11 Commission made special mention of Pakistan, criticizing the Bush administration for taking the Pakistani government at its word that it knew nothing of Khan’s activities, despite strong indications to the contrary. At the same time, the report called on the U.S. government to stop this period of ambivalence and mistrust and commit to sustained aid.

Some House members also doubt Islamabad’s claims, contending that Pakistan is not doing enough to stem the spread of nuclear materials. In late July, they introduced a bill to impose sanctions on “foreign entities that engage in certain nuclear proliferation activities.” The proposed Nuclear Black Market Elimination Act, introduced by Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), ranking member on the House International Relations Committee, specifically targets Pakistan, calling for sanctions unless the U.S. president certifies that Islamabad has fully disclosed relevant information regarding the international nuclear network and provided full access to those suspected of involvement, including Khan.

But across Capitol Hill, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) defended Pakistan from allegations that Islamabad is not sufficiently active or cooperative in investigating Khan’s network. During an Aug. 11 speech at the National Press Club, Lugar commended Pakistan’s efforts and noted the progress resulting from the information Pakistan has provided. Lugar asserted that the United States has been able to track suspicious activities in North Korea, Iran, and Libya, asserting that Pakistan’s contribution has “pinned down, intelligence-wise, a great deal we did not know before.”

India, Pakistan Seek Missile Test Pact

Gabrielle Kohlmeier

India and Pakistan have agreed to develop a formal system for early notification of missile tests after a summer of high-level diplomacy between the long-standing South Asian rivals.

The measure was the most concrete achievement of a series of talks since the election of a new Indian government in May. (See ACT, July/August 2004.) Those talks culminated in a 90-minute meeting July 23 between Indian Foreign Minister K. Natwar Singh and Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf at Musharraf’s official Army House residence in Islamabad. Other talks have included an informal meeting of Singh and his Pakistani counterpart, Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, and discussions between the two countries’ top career diplomats.

Despite the diplomatic progress, both countries have continued to jockey for strategic advantage. Musharraf announced June 30 that Islamabad will soon undertake an “extremely important, substantive [missile] test.” No specifics were released. The announcement followed a series of missile tests undertaken by India and Pakistan since the new Indian government took power. Both countries, however, asserted that they do not view these tests as threats and are committed to continuing to build on their improved relations with one another. (See ACT, July/August 2004.)

In early July, India released its proposed budget for fiscal year 2005, which includes a 27-percent increase in military spending from the previous year to $16.8 billion. India has been discussing enhancing various defense capabilities, including the development of a unit armed with nuclear-capable missiles. Pakistan expressed concern about India’s proposed military budget hike. The increase could “wittingly or unwittingly accelerate the arms race between the countries, which we could have avoided,” said Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Masood Khan July 12.

Still, Singh characterized his late July meetings as constructive and positive, asserting that he left Pakistan with “renewed determination to work with Pakistan to normalize our relations and resolve our differences.”

A formal meeting between the foreign ministers of each country will be held in New Delhi Sept. 5-6 to review the progress of their bilateral dialogue.

India, Pakistan Hold Nuclear Talks

July/August 2004

By Gabrielle Kohlmeier

Efforts to ease tensions between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan continued in June, despite a change in government in New Delhi. In nuclear confidence-building talks June 19-20, the two South Asian nations agreed to continue a 1998 bilateral moratorium on further nuclear tests and establish a hotline between each country’s foreign ministry.

The communications link is designed to “prevent misunderstandings and reduce risks relevant to nuclear issues,” according to the countries’ joint statement.

A hotline between their senior commands has already been used to ease tensions after violence on the Kashmir border, but the new link will be upgraded, dedicated, and secured, and will connect the foreign ministries, reducing the likelihood of an accidental nuclear war caused by a lack of communication. India and Pakistan also agreed to renew a nuclear test ban, except in “extraordinary circumstances.”

These talks marked the first discussions on mechanisms to prevent the use of nuclear weapons, and the first movement on the Lahore Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of February 1999, designed to reduce the risks of a nuclear exchange due to an accident or misunderstanding. (See ACT, January/February 1999).

In their joint statement June 20, India and Pakistan vowed to “continue bilateral discussions and hold further meetings towards the implementation of the Lahore MoU of 1999.”

The talks came after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) unexpected defeat in May’s Indian national elections. The BJP, led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had shocked the world and Pakistan in 1998 by carrying out nuclear tests soon after coming to power. Pakistan matched India’s move soon thereafter, raising the prospect of a nuclear exchange when both countries came to the verge of full-scale war in 1999 and 2002. (See ACT, March 2004).

Tensions had begun to ease, however, in 2003 after Vajpayee and Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharaff took steps to improve relations. Vajpayee’s defeat raised concerns that this progress might be undone. Concerns grew more pronounced when the talks, initially scheduled for May 25-26, were postponed indefinitely at the request of the new Indian government.

Those concerns were dispelled on May 27 when the Congress party and its coalition partners, which comprise the governing United Progressive Alliance, put forth their policy agenda. The Common Minimum Programme stated that “[t]he UPA government is committed to maintaining a credible nuclear weapons programme while at the same time it will evolve demonstrable and verifiable confidence-building measures with its nuclear neighbours.”

More pointedly, it reiterated new Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s assurances that close ties are a priority, stating that “ [t]he UPA will give the highest priority to building closer … ties with its neighbors in South Asia…Dialogue with Pakistan on all issues will be pursued systematically and on a sustained basis.”

Still, challenges remain in easing nuclear tensions, particularly as the talks have not yet slowed either country’s missile or military modernization programs.

On May 28, Pakistan initiated the first of two missile tests within less than a week, test-firing it’s Ghauri V, which is believed to be based on North Korea’s Nodong missile. It has a range of 1,500 kilometers enabling it to reach most cities in northern India.

On June 4, Pakistan test fired a Hatf missile. Musharraf insisted the tests were not meant as a hostile sign to India, but were undertaken to ensure the reliability of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Pakistani officials did emphasize, however, that the tests ought to clear up any false impressions that Pakistan will roll back its nuclear program.

Some countries reacted with disapproval to the missile tests. Japan’s foreign ministry issued a statement June 4 expressing “deep regret” over the missile tests, calling on Pakistan to “respond sincerely to the efforts of the international community to promote the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.”

Some of India’s governing Congress party also expressed dismay, accusing Pakistan of starting an arms race. But the official response was more measured. Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Shiv Shankar Menon said India had received prior notice from Islamabad, and was unconcerned about the two tests. He also rejected the notion that these tests carried any sort of message.

This tempered response may be related to the recent advances of India’s own nuclear initiatives. In May, New Delhi released a new Maritime Doctrine calling for the construction of a two-dozen-ship ballistic missile submarine fleet by 2030. In the interim, India plans to deploy a submarine by the end of next year, two years ahead of its originally scheduled deployment date.

And on June 13, India test-fired a Brahmos supersonic cruise missile, which, until then, had been in its experimental phase.





Efforts to ease tensions between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan continued in June, despite a change in government in New Delhi.

India, Pakistan Set Confidence-Building Talks

Gabrielle Kohlmeier

Indian and Pakistani officials are scheduled to meet later this month in the Indian capital New Delhi for formal discussions on nuclear confidence-building measures. The talks come in the wake of groundbreaking peace talks between the two bitter South Asian nuclear rivals earlier this year. (See ACT, January/February 2004.)

The May 25-26 meeting will include discussions on a possible agreement on annual exchanges of information regarding the location of nuclear installations and facilities. Another expected topic for discussion will be Pakistani nuclear weapons scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan’s admission that he passed nuclear secrets to Libya, North Korea, and Iran. Pakistani government officials have insisted that Khan acted without their support or acquiescence. While visiting Pakistan’s major nuclear facility in Rawalpindi April 21, Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf contended that no Pakistani government “had ever been involved in any kind of proliferation activities.”

In addition, Indian officials have expressed fears that Pakistani nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of extremists and have said that they will want a briefing on Pakistan’s nuclear security safeguards measures.

The talks will be led by Pakistan’s Acting Foreign Secretary Tariq Osman Hyder and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs Additional Secretary Sheel Kant Sharma. Further talks are scheduled for June 15-16 in Pakistan to discuss prevention of drug trafficking and smuggling. After the expert level meetings in May and June, the countries are planning another meeting in June that will bring together the countries’ foreign secretaries. Ministerial-level meetings will then assemble the foreign ministers at some time in August, according to the schedule outlined by India and Pakistan in February.

The talks mark the latest sign of progress in easing tensions between the two countries, which have come close to war on several occasions in the past five years. The most recent crises in 1999 and 2002 followed the two states’ nuclear-weapon test explosions of 1998 and raised concerns that the countries would resort to using their nuclear weapons. (See ACT, March 2004.)

Relations have been on an upswing since Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Musharraf took the opportunity at a Jan. 6 regional summit in Islamabad to discuss renewing attempts at negotiation. In February the two countries charted a map for discussing the divisive issues plaguing Indo-Pakistani relations. Key issues involved confidence building, terrorism and drugs, trade and economic cooperation, travel restrictions, and disputed territory, including Jammu and Kashmir. (See ACT, March 2004.)

Both sides have maintained their commitment to the talks. “The ethos of the moment is genuine,” former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Tanvir Ahmed Khan told the BBC News Online earlier this year. “There is sufficient political will on both sides to continue talks.”

In Pakistan, Musharraf has reaffirmed his commitment to the talks although no progress has yet been reported on the bitter divisions over the disputed province of Kashmir, a long-standing Pakistani grievance.

Further, Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Shivshankar Menon has said that his country’s national elections are unlikely to impede progress in Indo-Pakistani relations. Menon maintained that all of India’s major parties support dialogue with Pakistan and peaceful resolution of all issues.





Indian and Pakistani officials are scheduled to meet later this month in the Indian capital New Delhi for formal discussions on nuclear confidence-building measures...

Closing Pandora's Box: Pakistan's Role in Nuclear Proliferation

Sharon Squassoni

On February 4, 2004, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, self-styled father of the Pakistani nuclear bomb, appeared on Pakistani television to apologize to his nation. Revealing few details, Khan stated that a government investigation, which followed “disturbing disclosures and evidence by some countries to international agencies” (read “Iran and Libya to the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA]”), confirmed “alleged proliferation activities by certain Pakistanis and foreigners over the last two decades.” Khan admitted the allegations were true and said “there was never ever any kind of authorization for these activities by any government official.” Pakistani officials a few days earlier claimed that Khan provided technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea.[1]

On February 5, Khan was pardoned by Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, with no mention of confiscating the millions of dollars he had acquired in more than 20 years of nuclear moonlighting. When asked about Khan’s pardon, U.S. Department of State spokesperson Richard Boucher replied, “I don’t think it’s a matter for the United States to sit in judgment on.”

In fact, it is critically important for the United States to judge whether Pakistan has adequately addressed Khan’s proliferation behavior. The administration’s failure to do so may be symptomatic of a deeper problem in its nonproliferation strategy. By focusing on “hostile states and terrorists”[2] as the main proliferation threat, the Bush strategy ignores friendly countries, such as Pakistan, that host terrorists, place insufficient controls on weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and are threatened with political destabilization. Ironically, the threat of terrorist access to weapons of mass destruction is probably greater in Pakistan than in Iraq, Libya, North Korea, or Iran—all targets of Bush counterproliferation policy. Even more, Pakistan has remained locked in a nuclear confrontation with India, which has several times escalated to the point of all-out war.

The Khan case illustrates a practical reality: separating “good guys” and “bad guys” in this fashion will not work over the long term. The reason is the phenomenon of secondary proliferation. Whereas 20 years ago we worried about single states acquiring the bomb, Khan has raised the stakes. Although some may argue that Khan acted independently and that his role is unlikely ever to be replicated, Pakistan’s continuing struggle with Islamic fundamentalism makes the prospect of rogue nuclear-weapon scientists even more problematic than government-directed proliferation. If Khan is not unique, how effective is the Bush administration’s targeted counterproliferation policy? Can tweaking supplier controls, as President George W. Bush recently suggested, stop this kind of proliferation? What practical routes are left for slowing nuclear proliferation?

Is Khan’s Role Unique?

The press has focused on the sexier aspects of Khan’s story: money launderers in Dubai, Swiss and British intermediaries, plants in Kuala Lumpur, and shipments intercepted in Mediterranean ports. Yet, nuclear proliferation is no stranger to intrigue, spies, and foreign travel. What may be most shocking about the unfolding tale of Khan’s nuclear weapons marketing is how utterly familiar it sounds. To be sure, leaks of high technology used to emanate mostly from North America, Europe, and Russia.[3] Sources now have expanded to Asia and Eurasia, despite attempts to strengthen supplier controls and nuclear safeguards in the wake of Iraq’s embarrassing nuclear shopping spree before the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

If the modes of covert nuclear commerce appear to have changed little, what is particularly egregious about the Khan case? One answer may lie in Khan and his associates’ apparent ability to provide “one-stop shopping.”[4] Khan sold blueprints; components; full centrifuge assemblies; uranium hexafluoride feedstock; and, from some accounts, a nuclear-weapon design.[5] If he had desired, Khan also could have provided some missile technology because Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) developed missiles in collaboration with North Korea.[6] Was Khan able to provide this one-stop shopping because of his unique position within the Pakistani nuclear weapons program and heroic popular image or because the Pakistani government helped?

Khan’s assistance to Iran in centrifuge uranium-enrichment apparently began in the late 1980s and continued at least until the mid-1990s.[7] Assistance to Libya began in the early 1990s and may have continued into 2002. Beyond blueprints, components, full assemblies of centrifuges, and low-enriched uranium, Libya also received—startlingly—a nuclear weapons design.[8] In both cases, it is clear that Khan provided technology for an advanced centrifuge design (the P-2).[9] There is no confirmation that the nuclear-weapon design Libya received in 2001 or 2002 is from Pakistan, but some sources have reported that the design contained Chinese text and step-by-step instructions for assembling a vintage 1960s, highly enriched uranium (HEU) implosion device, which could indicate that Khan passed on a design that Pakistan is long rumored to have received from China.[10]

Whether Khan gave North Korea nuclear-weapon-related technology or equipment is still disputed. U.S. officials and sources close to Khan have said he did; the Pakistani and North Korean governments have denied any technology transfers.[11] One popular theory is that Pakistan bartered uranium-enrichment technology for missile technology from North Korea, but Musharraf has stated that “whatever we bought from North Korea is with money.”[12] A Pakistani official involved in Khan’s investigation reportedly said North Korea ordered P-1 centrifuge components from 1997 to 2000.[13] Separately, other evidence points to Pakistani nuclear assistance. As far back as 1991, a German intelligence investigation concluded that Iraq, and possibly Iran and North Korea, obtained uranium-melting information from Pakistan in the late 1980s.[14]

Investigating Khan

The Pakistani government began to investigate allegations of nuclear transfers in 2000.[15] The Inter Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) raided a plane chartered by Khan bound for North Korea but found nothing. Further, although Musharraf admitted that he “forcibly retired” Khan from the KRL in 2001 to prevent him from transferring more nuclear secrets, Khan ultimately was undone not by his government, but by his clients. Forced to prove to the IAEA that it had not enriched uranium to HEU levels, Iran revealed the existence of foreign suppliers in October 2003. Iran had held back information on the procurement network for months. Apparently, Khan had written letters to Iranian clients, urging them to destroy some of their facilities and tell the IAEA that their Pakistani contacts were dead.[16] Libya’s decision to give up its WMD programs voluntarily, however, unleashed a torrent of information about Pakistani assistance, forcing the Pakistani government to conduct a two-month investigation.

The Pakistani government has been slow to admit that there were nuclear transfers and quick to deny any official complicity. Initially, official Pakistani responses ranged from “our nuclear weapons are secure” to “there is no smoking gun.”[17] In December 2003, the Foreign Ministry spokesman claimed that Pakistan never authorized transfers but that individuals may have been involved in transfers to Iran. On January 6, 2004, when asked about transfers to Libya, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said “This is total madness.” An interview in February 2004 with Musharraf noted that Pakistan’s investigation had not uncovered evidence of transfers to countries other than Iran and Libya.”[18]

The structure of the nuclear establishment in Pakistan and the key role of the military, as well as long-standing ties between Pakistan and all three countries, raise doubts that Khan acted completely without government knowledge. Pakistan’s military is widely believed to control the Pakistani nuclear weapons program. Musharraf has taken pains to clarify that Pakistan established civilian control of the nuclear weapons program (embodied in himself) under the National Command Authority, but until Musharraf steps down as army chief of staff, this distinction may be irrelevant. Moreover, a key feature of Pakistan’s export control regulations allows for an explicit exemption for Ministry of Defense agencies, which suggests that weapons programs under military leadership could skirt domestic export control laws.[19]

Khan has alleged that military officials, including former Chiefs of Army Staff (COAS), knew of the transfers. One account claims that equipment to Iran was transferred at the request of the late General Imtiaz Ali between 1988 and 1990.[20] Another states that Musharraf was aware of aid to North Korea, that General Mirzla Aslam Beg knew about aid to Iran, and that two other COAS (Generals Jehangir Karamat and Abdul Waheed) knew of aid to North Korea.[21] General Beg long has had a reputation for being an Islamist and an admirer of the Iranian revolution. Beg officially denied knowledge of aid to Iran, although former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto said she was approached several times from 1988 to 1990 (the period when Beg was COAS) by military officials and scientists who wanted to export nuclear technology. According to Bhutto, “it certainly was their (scientists’) belief that they could earn tons of money if they did this.” But Bhutto had established a policy in December 1988 not to export nuclear technology.[22] Bhutto also said that “no Pakistani thought Mr. Khan was acting alone.”[23]

Reports of extensive official cooperation between Pakistan and the three countries lend credence to claims that Pakistan’s government might have known of transfers. Pakistan reportedly signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Iran in 1986, although the terms of that agreement are unknown, and Iranian scientists received training in Pakistan in 1988. Libyan funding of the Pakistani nuclear weapons program in the early years long has been alleged.[24] Pakistan’s well-documented missile cooperation with North Korea beginning in the early 1990s may have provided either a convenient excuse for rogue nuclear scientists to ply their trade or sparked the plan for a barter arrangement as Pakistani foreign currency reserves fell dangerously low in 1996.[25]

Khan reportedly made more than $100 million from selling nuclear technology to Libya alone.[26] Musharraf has stressed the role of greed, but Khan reportedly told investigators he hoped to deflect attention from Pakistan’s nuclear program and support other Muslim countries (i.e., Iran and Libya) by providing nuclear assistance.[27] In the late 1980s, when cooperation with Iran allegedly began, the argument for deflecting attention from Pakistan could have been plausible, particularly as pressure from the United States grew with each new revelation of Pakistan’s nuclear progress.

U.S. Policy Toward Pakistan

For 30 years, the U.S. government has tried to restrain Pakistan from acquiring nuclear weapons using such tools as diplomacy, aid, and interdiction. When those failed, sanctions were developed specifically against Pakistan to slow its nuclear program (see sidebar). U.S. policy implementation, however, has been inconsistent, particularly when other U.S. national security interests at times have taken precedence. Less than six months after cutting off aid in 1979 to Pakistan for its uranium-enrichment activities, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and negotiations to resume aid to Islamabad began. In 1990, after the Soviets pulled out, President George H.W. Bush determined he could not certify that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear device, and so aid was cut off again, this time for several years. In 1998, aid was cut off following Pakistan’s nuclear tests, but this lasted less than a year. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress passed legislation allowing Pakistan to circumvent the remaining restrictions on aid (related then to its foreign debt arrears and 1999 military coup).

Over time, the U.S. threshold of proliferation tolerance has risen from Pakistan’s acquisition of technology to its possession of a nuclear device and then to nuclear testing (in 1998). Has the threshold now risen to the point where the United States is seeking to sidestep laws aimed at penalizing states that supply nuclear technologies, rather than those that receive such aid? This could explain why the United States has not strenuously pursued the question of potential Pakistani government cooperation in Khan’s activities. The State Department concluded in a letter to key members of Congress on March 12, 2003, that “the administration carefully reviewed the facts relating to the possible transfer of nuclear technology from Pakistan to North Korea, and decided that they do not warrant the imposition of sanctions under applicable U.S. laws.” Given administration statements alleging such nuclear transfers, the United States appears to have accepted Islamabad’s explanation that it had no role.

Pinning the blame on individuals is a time-tested and obvious circumvention (à la the 1996 provision of Chinese ring magnets to Pakistan, which was not deemed a sanctionable offense). Although individuals engaging in proliferation are barred under U.S. law from receiving U.S. government contracts, there are few other ways for the United States to punish them. Nonetheless, a determination that Libya and Iran received such equipment, even from an individual, might not relieve Bush of an obligation to make a determination and then perhaps waive sanctions. In particular, receiving a nuclear weapons design is a trigger for cutting off aid under Section 102 of the Arms Export Control Act. In the case of both Libya and Iran, new sanctions would add little to the broader burden already imposed on them by virtue of their status as a state sponsors of terrorism. With respect to Pakistan, draft Senate authorizing legislation on the foreign affairs budget (S. 2144) currently contains a waiver of sanctions (including those for proliferation) previously in force.

The line in the sand appears to be drawn now at the transfer of nuclear weapons technology to terrorists. Unfortunately, such activities are incredibly difficult to deter, detect, identify, and stop. The 2002 U.S. National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction identifies this problem as “one of the most difficult challenges we face.” Whether the threat of terrorists acquiring and using nuclear weapons is greater now than before is unclear, but the ability to influence terrorists in this regard, in contrast to states, remains extremely limited.

U.S. officials have intimated they knew about Khan’s network for several years, and the U.S. government seems to have been quietly working with the Pakistani government to limit the damage from Khan’s nuclear network.[28] Shortly after Khan’s dismissal in 2001, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage reportedly stated that “people who were employed by the nuclear agency and have retired” could be spreading nuclear technology to other states, including North Korea.[29] Nonetheless, after U.S. intelligence officials leaked the news in 2002 that Pakistani enrichment technology was transferred to North Korea, Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed that “President Musharraf gave me his assurance, as he has previously, that Pakistan is not doing anything of that nature.…The past is the past.”[30] But Powell put Musharraf on notice: “I have made clear to him that any, any sort of contact between Pakistan and North Korea we believe would be improper, inappropriate, and would have consequences.”[31]

Clearly, another key factor here is the priority of counterterrorism over counterproliferation policy in the Bush administration. In 2002, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer was asked whether countries that provided assistance to North Korea on the enrichment program would risk being cut off from U.S. assistance and he responded that “September 11th changed the world.” Two months later, the United States decided to impose sanctions on North Korea for sending Scud missiles to Yemen, yet waived sanctions against Yemen for receiving them. The reason: According to State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, “because of the commitments that they [Yemen] had made and in consideration of their support for the war on terrorism.”

Missiles to Yemen may be one thing, but tacitly condoning past nuclear weapons cooperation with three state sponsors of terrorism is counterproductive. Secretary of State Powell’s announcement on March 18th that Pakistan would be designated a “major non-NATO ally,” a step that facilitates military cooperation and assistance, reinforces the impression that for the Bush administration, counterterrorism trumps counterproliferation cooperation.

Next Steps

There is no telling how much information Khan’s 12-page confession contains, whether it is accurate or complete, or how much will be revealed either to the IAEA or other states. So far, Musharraf has denied the need for an international investigation or any international inspections of Pakistani nuclear facilities.[32] He has said he will share some information with the IAEA, and U.S. officials apparently are content with that approach.[33]

The main U.S. response so far has been to focus on closing down Khan’s covert nuclear network. On February 11, 2004, Bush unveiled new efforts aimed partly to accomplish this.[34] Briefly, Bush proposes to expand interdiction efforts (under the Proliferation Security Initiative) to “shut down labs, to seize their materials, to freeze their assets;” criminalize proliferation through a new U.S.-sponsored UN Security Council resolution; expand cooperative threat reduction measures to states such as Libya; ban enrichment and reprocessing capabilities beyond those states that already have them; make the Additional Protocol (to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty [NPT]) a prerequisite for nuclear-related imports; and create a special committee at the IAEA to investigate compliance.

Strengthening export controls is laudable and necessary, but these measures, even taken together, are unlikely to prevent another Khan affair. Above all, supplier controls rely on the fundamental premise that slowing the leakage of technology (which itself is inevitable) buys time for the world community to persuade states not to acquire nuclear weapons. This premise is undone by the emergence of a supplier who can supply it all. In one sense, Khan’s success is the natural result of a well-known NPT loophole: states outside the treaty that have acquired nuclear weapons. Pakistan, India, Israel, and possibly North Korea are likely to remain outside the NPT and therefore are not bound by the treaty’s prohibitions on sharing nuclear weapons technology.

Despite this, the United States and other supplier countries have their own means to impose penalties for actions that undermine the NPT (see sidebar), as well as ample carrots to offer Pakistan. The Bush administration has proposed a $3 billion aid package to Pakistan over the next five years. At a minimum, the United States should condition this aid on requiring Pakistan to give the United States full access to Khan, as well as to improve transparency, export controls, and personnel reliability in its nuclear program.


By treating Libya, the “axis of evil” countries, and Pakistan as separate and distinct problems, the United States is missing an opportunity to develop a common and consistent nuclear nonproliferation policy.

Events in Iraq, Iran, Libya, Pakistan, and North Korea all point to the lesson that nothing can substitute for on-site inspection of suspicious activities. Inspections in Iraq failed to come up with evidence of a reconstituted nuclear program, whether conducted by the IAEA and the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) or the Iraq Survey Group. Inspections in Iran have slowly revealed capabilities Iran had been loathe to admit and which were not revealed by overhead imagery alone. Inspections in Libya surprised some with revelations of centrifuge and weapons design procurement but basically confirmed long-held views that Libya’s nuclear weapons program did not amount to much. Finally, the lack of inspections in North Korea has left the United States guessing about North Korean enrichment capabilities.

Although Pakistan has rejected the NPT and any kind of international inspections into Khan’s activities, there may be ways of introducing more transparency into its nuclear program. Serious discussions with Pakistan on export control only began in 2003 and the Bush administration has asked for just $1 million in the FY05 State Department budget for export control assistance, a tiny fraction of the $700 million in assistance to Pakistan for next year. U.S. export control assistance should be expanded, with a particular focus on eliminating exemptions for Pakistani defense agencies and assisting Pakistan to adhere to Nuclear Suppliers’ Group guidelines. The United States could also offer specific assistance in physical protection of nuclear material and personnel security under the auspices of a cooperative threat reduction program. Nonetheless, even if Pakistan accepted this offer, this may not produce adequate transparency. [35]

Ultimately, it would be far better to get international inspections at Pakistani facilities and to draw Pakistan into a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT). U.S. policy has supported such a treaty since 1993, but little diplomatic capital has been expended on it. Pakistan has said it will support an FMCT. At a minimum, a cutoff agreement would place all enrichment and reprocessing worldwide (given universal adherence) under inspection. In this way, it would require inspections at facilities that have operated covertly for many years, opening them up to international scrutiny and making it more difficult for covert supplier networks to flourish. A treaty also could go further and close down unneeded production capacity or incorporate international management or control of fissile material.

Finally, although Pakistan’s current importance to the war on terrorism makes U.S. sanctions unlikely, the United States needs to make clear that there will be severe consequences for further transgressions, regardless of the counterterrorism issue. U.S. policymakers also need to reevaluate their tepid support for multilateral nonproliferation approaches. If anything, the globalization of the black nuclear market should provide a warning that one country cannot halt this problem alone.

Retracing Khan's Path

Abdul Qadeer Khan’s unlikely route to nuclear stardom began in 1972. As a trained metallurgist subcontracted to the fledgling URENCO consortium, he was asked to translate classified documents on centrifuge technology from their original German into Dutch. Khan’s access, as well as overt Pakistani procurement attempts, began to attract notice from Dutch authorities in late 1975. Transferred to a less sensitive position, Khan fled Holland for his native Pakistan in December 1975. His intimate knowledge of suppliers and a weak international export control regime allowed him to build a centrifuge enrichment plant at Sihala in just a few years.[1] The construction and operation of the Kahuta enrichment facility, known then as the Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL), followed. Khan’s hard work was rewarded in 1981 when President Muhammed Zia ul-Haq renamed the ERL as the Khan Research Laboratory (KRL).[2] According to some reports, a competition was encouraged between the KRL and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) to develop two routes to the bomb—HEU and plutonium. Khan himself has described his activities as supporting the PAEC’s reactor development program, enriching uranium to use as fuel in the Chasma nuclear reactor.

By many accounts, the KRL and Khan were given remarkable autonomy. This independence only grew after the uranium-enrichment program, once thought of as a fallback in case the French reprocessing plant at Chasma fell through (which it did in 1978 under strong U.S. pressure), became the cornerstone of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.[3] One aide close to President Gen. Pervez Musharraf stated, “Khan had a complete blank check. He could do anything. He could go anywhere. He could buy anything at any price.”[4] Musharraf himself has noted that “there was a covert program for maybe 30 years, and there was a lot of autonomy given to the organization and individuals running the program. There was a lot of chance for leakages.”[5]

A critical question is why the Pakistani government permitted this autonomy. Politics likely played a key role. After taking power in 1999, Musharraf began to receive reports of corruption (skimming government contracts and nepotism) at Kahuta.[6] Khan’s lavish lifestyle, despite his modest salary, was “the worst-kept secret in town,” said one Pakistani official.[7] Still, Musharraf did not remove him as KRL head until 2001, allegedly under considerable pressure from the United States. Even then, he was appointed special adviser to Musharraf. After Khan’s confession, Musharraf called him a personal hero and a hero to the nation.[8] Musharraf declared that, “since [Khan] had acquired a larger-than-life figure for himself, one had to pardon him to satisfy the public.”[9]

Khan further cemented his importance to the entire nuclear weapons program through KRL development of missiles in the 1980s. Reportedly, a competition was encouraged between the plutonium team (PAEC), working toward Chinese-derived nuclear-capable missiles, and the HEU team (KRL), collaborating with North Korea on a Scud derivative.[10] Khan’s frequent trips abroad for “legitimate” missile cooperation with North Korea might have provided cover for his nuclear deals.

The nuclear program prior to 1998, according to Pakistani officials, was handled by just a few people at the top.[11] Despite Pakistan’s claims to have tightened controls by creating the National Command Authority (NCA) in February 2000, high-level officials still seem to be exempt. Reportedly, key people in the Pakistani nuclear weapons program are screened every two years (since 2000) by the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI), Military Intelligence, the Intelligence Bureau, and the Strategic Plan Division of the NCA. However, “top-level people (including scientists) are controlled by their organizations and not psychologically screened.”[12] Musharraf has suggested in interviews that it is virtually impossible to stop security breaches by institution leaders. Referring to himself, he stated, “If there was a security problem here and if I myself am involved in the breach, do you think anyone is going to check me?”[13] This analogy might reflect the unique status of Khan, a fundamental flaw in Pakistani nuclear security procedures, or both. Moreover, it is yet to be established that some or all of these exchanges were not matters of national policy.


1. For an excellent account, see Steve Weissman and Herbert Krosney, The Islamic Bomb (New York: Times Books, 1981).

2. Simon Henderson, “We Can Do It Ourselves,” Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (September 1993), p. 27.

3. The KRL began to produce enriched uranium in 1984 and, by some estimates, HEU by 1986, whereas plutonium for weapons did not become available until after the 1998 nuclear tests. See Leonard Spector, The Undeclared Bomb (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment, 1988), p. 143.

4. “A Tale of Nuclear Proliferation: How Pakistani Built His Network,” The New York Times, February 12, 2004.

5. “Q&A: Pervez Musharraf; Confronting the Nuclear Underworld,” The Washington Post, January 25, 2004.

6. “Delicate Dance for Musharraf in Nuclear Case,” The New York Times, February 8, 2004.

7. “Musharraf Named in Nuclear Probe,” The Washington Post, February 3, 2004.

8. “General Defiant in Face of Scandal Over Scientist’s Nuclear Secrets,” Financial Times, February 18, 2004.

9. “Pakistani Leader Suspected Moves by Atomic Expert,” The New York Times, February 10, 2004.

10. Simon Henderson, “Pakistan’s Nuclear Proliferation and U.S. Policy,” PolicyWatch, no. 826, January 12, 2004.

11. See report from a visit to Pakistan by Paolo Cotta-Ramusino and Maurizio Martellini in 2001, “Nuclear safety, nuclear stability and nuclear strategy in Pakistan: A concise report of a visit by Landau Network-Centro Volta.”

12. Ibid.

13. General Defiant in Face of Scandal Over Scientist’s Nuclear Secrets,” Financial Times, February 18, 2004.

Retracing Khan's Path

During the past three decades, the United States has imposed and lifted sanctions on Pakistan many times. The changes have reflected modifications in U.S. foreign policy priorities as much as shifts in Pakistan’s nonproliferation behavior.

1976 Congress amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA) to bar aid to countries that transfer uranium-enrichment or reprocessing equipment, materials, or technology in violation of specified conditions (Symington amendment, Sec. 669, FAA).

1977 Congress amends FAA to bar aid for countries that detonate a nuclear explosive (Glenn amendment, Sec. 670, FAA, which also covers reprocessing transfers). Aid suspended in September

1977 because Pakistan is found to be seeking reprocessing technology from French companies.

1978 Aid resumed in October 1978 after France cancels reprocessing deal.

1979 Aid cut off in April 1979 because of Pakistan’s enrichment activities (Symington invoked).

1980 Negotiations to resume aid begin after Soviets invade Afghanistan.

1981 Aid resumed (Symington waived by Congress (Sec. 620E, FAA) of Sec. 669) for Pakistan but restrictions added for transfers of nuclear weapons and design information.

1985 Solarz amendment (amends Sec. 670, FAA) bars aid for illegal export from the United States of any material, equipment, or technology that would contribute significantly to the ability of a country to build a nuclear explosive device. Pressler amendment (Sec. 620E(e), FAA) prohibits the transfer of military equipment or technology to Pakistan specifically unless the president certifies to the Congress that Pakistan does not possess a nuclear explosive device and that the proposed U.S. aid program would reduce significantly the risk that Pakistan will possess such a device.

1987 Symington waiver expires; renewed for 30 months.

1990 Aid suspended under Pressler amendment. Symington waiver expires.

1995 Brown amendment relaxes cut-off so that only military aid and transfers barred.

1998 May: aid suspended after nuclear tests. July: Congress provides waiver for wheat purchases. Aid resumes for one year, except military assistance, dual-use exports, and military sales (India-Pakistan Relief Act of 1998 (Brownback I).

1999 Aid resumes permanently (Brownback II gives president permanent waiver authority for proliferation sanctions). However, foreign debt arrears and military coup bar aid to Pakistan.

2001 Presidential executive order lifts remaining restrictions.


1. David Rohde and David E. Sanger, “Key Pakistani Is Said to Admit Atom Transfers,” The New York Times, February 2, 2004.

2. National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction (December 2002), p. 1.

3. A 1982 Senate Foreign Relations Committee report, Analysis of Six Issues About Nuclear Capabilities of India, Iraq, Libya, and Pakistan, concluded that from 1978 to 1981 India acquired technology from France, the United States, and the United Kingdom; Iraq from Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Niger, Norway, Portugal and Russia; Libya from Argentina, Finland, India, Niger, the United States, and Russia; and Pakistan from Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Niger, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Russia. By the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland were also found to have supplied Iraq with nuclear technologies. See “Who Armed Iraq?” The New York Times, July 18, 1993.

4. Pakistan’s investigation also included Mohammed Farooq, who supervised the KRL’s contacts with foreign suppliers; Yasin Chohan, a KRL metallurgist; Major Islam ul-Haq, a personal staff officer; Nazeer Ahmed, a KRL director; and Saeed Ahmed, head of centrifuge design. Between 11 and 25 KRL employees were questioned, as well as the generals in charge of KRL security, Generals Beg and Karamat. Simon Henderson, “Link Leaks,” National Review Online, January 19, 2004.

5. See Karen Yourish and Delano D’Souza, “Father of Pakistani Bomb Sold Nuclear Secrets,” Arms Control Today, March 2004, p. 22.

6. In fact, U.S. sanctions were imposed in early 2003 on the KRL for receiving MTCR Category I missiles from North Korea.

7. Iran told the IAEA its centrifuge enrichment program began in 1987; Lieutenant General Khalid Kidwai, who briefed journalists on February 1, 2004, on Khan’s confession, reportedly stated that cooperation began in 1989 and Khan transferred technology from 1989 to 1991. “Key Pakistani Is Said to Admit Atom Transfers,” The New York Times, February 2, 2004. An IAEA report states that Iran received P-2 drawings from “foreign sources” in 1994. IAEA, “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” GOV/2004/11, February 24, 2004, p. 8 (hereinafter GOV/2004/11 report).

8. An IAEA report states that in 1997 foreign manufacturers provided 20 pre-assembled L-1 (equivalent to P-1) centrifuges and components for an additional 200 L-1 centrifuges, including process gas feeding and withdrawal systems, UF6 cylinders, and frequency converters. IAEA, “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,” GOV/2004/12, February 20, 2004 (hereinafter GOV/2004/12 report).

9. Libya received two of the P-2-type centrifuges in 2000 and placed an order for 10,000 more. Iran has claimed that it received P-2 plans, but no centrifuge components, and tried to develop a carbon-composite rotor on its own, with no success. GOV/2004/11 report and GOV/2004/12 report.

10. William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, “Warhead Blueprints Link Libya Project to Pakistan Figure,” The New York Times, February 4, 2004; Joby Warrick and Peter Slevin, “Libyan Arms Designs Traced Back to China,” The Washington Post, February 15, 2004.

11. Asked by Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) what the United States knows about Pakistan’s involvement in helping North Korea, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage replied that “[w]e know it’s both ways and we know a good bit about a North Korean-Pakistan relationship.” Richard Armitage, testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, February 4, 2003.

12. Farhan Bokhari, Steven Fidler, and Edward Luce, “Pakistan Rejects Nuclear Inspection,” Financial Times, February 18, 2004. For additional evidence related to a barter arrangement, see Sharon Squassoni, “Weapons of Mass Destruction: Trade Between North Korea and Pakistan,” CRS Report for Congress, RL 31900, March 11, 2004.

13. Mubashir Zaidi, “Scientist Claimed Nuclear Equipment Was Old, Official Says,” The Los Angeles Times, February 10, 2004.

14. Mark Hibbs, “Agencies Trace Some Iraqi URENCO Know-How to Pakistan Re-Export,” Nucleonics Week, November 28, 1991, pp. 1, 7-8. See also Mark Hibbs, “CIA Assessment on DPRK Presumes Massive Outside Help on Centrifuges,” Nuclear Fuel, November 25, 2002.

15. “Pakistan Informed U.S. of ‘Personal’ Nuclear Technology Transfer: Report,” Agence France-Presse, December 25, 2003. According to this report, the United States asked the Pakistani government to look into alleged nuclear transfers to North Korea, and Pakistani officials concluded from the deposit of large sums of money in Kahuta scientists’ bank accounts that nuclear technology had indeed been transferred on an individual basis.

16. Ibid.

17. Glenn Kessler, “Pakistan’s N. Korea Deals Stir Scrutiny; Aid to Nuclear Arms Bid May Be Recent,” The Washington Post, November 13, 2002. Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, reportedly stated that “[n]o material, no technology ever has been exported to North Korea ”and “[n]obody can tell us if there is evidence, no one is challenging our word. There is no smoking gun.”

18. Bokhari, Fidler, and Luce, “Pakistan Rejects Nuclear Inspection,” Financial Times, February 18, 2004.

19. Anupam Srivastava and Seema Gahlaut, “Curbing Proliferation from Emerging Suppliers: Export Controls in India and Pakistan,” Arms Control Today, September 2003, pp. 12-16.

20. “Nuke Leak May Cost Pak $3b,” The Times of India Online, February 5, 2004.

21. John Lancaster and Kamran Khan, “Musharraf Named in Nuclear Probe,” The Washington Post, February 3, 2004.

22. See David Rohde, “General Denies Letting Secrets of A-Bomb Out of Pakistan,” The New York Times, January 27, 2004; Steven Fidler, “Bhutto ‘Rejected Request to Sell N-Technology,’” Financial Times, February 24, 2004.

23. On the other hand, Bhutto stated she did not think it probable that centrifuge parts were exported from Pakistan to Iran from 1994 to 1995 (while she was prime minister), despite revelations of exactly that in a Malaysian police report connected to the Iran investigation.

24. Steve Weissman and Herbert Krosney, The Islamic Bomb (New York: Times Books, 1981).

25. Daniel A. Pinkston, “When Did WMD Deals between Pyongyang and Islamabad Begin?” http://cns.mis.edu.

26. David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, “Pakistani’s Nuclear Earnings: $100 Million,” The New York Times, March 16, 2004.

27. John Lancaster and Kamran Khan, “Musharraf Named in Nuclear Probe,” The Washington Post, February 3, 2004.

28. CIA director George Tenet stated that U.S. intelligence had penetrated Khan’s network, including its subsidiaries, scientists, front companies, agents, finances, and manufacturing plants, in a February 5, 2004, speech he gave at Georgetown University, available at www.cia.gov/cia/public_affairs/speeches/index.html.

29. Steven Fidler and Edward Luce “U.S. Fears North Korea Could Gain Nuclear Capability through Pakistan,” Financial Times, June 1, 2001.

30. Carla Anne Robbins, “North Korea Got a Little Help from Neighbors—Secret Nuclear Program Tapped Russian Suppliers and Pakistani Know-How,” Wall Street Journal Europe, October 21, 2002; ABC’s This Week, October 20, 2002 (transcript).

31. Ahmed Rashid, “US Grows Unhappier with Pakistan—Despite Official Friendship, Three Areas of Contention Are Straining the Alliance,” The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2002.

32. Bokhari, Fidler, and Luce, “Pakistan Rejects Nuclear Inspection,” Financial Times, February 18, 2004.

33. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher stated in the daily press briefing on February 17, 2004, that “we look forward to hearing from the Pakistani government about the facts as they have developed them during the course of their investigation.”

34. Available at www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/02/20040211-4.html. See also Wade Boese, “Bush Outlines Proposals to Stem Proliferation,” Arms Control Today, March 2004, pp. 24-25.

35. For specific impediments to providing cooperative threat reduction assistance to Pakistan and India, see Sharon Squassoni, “Nuclear Threat Reduction Measures for India and Pakistan,” CRS Report for Congress, RL 31589.

Sharon Squassoni is a specialist in national defense issues with the Congressional Research Service. The views presented here are the author’s own and do not reflect those of the Congressional Research Service or the Library of Congress.





Despite Khan, Military Ties With Pakistan to Grow

Karen Yourish Roston and Delano D'Souza

President George W. Bush has lifted all sanctions against Pakistan and will designate the country a “major non-NATO ally”—an elite status that entitles recipients to preferential treatment in military-military operations. The two policy shifts come on the heels of February disclosures that A.Q. Khan, the father of the Pakistani nuclear bomb, had for years been providing nuclear weapons technology to Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea.

Secretary of State Colin Powell announced Bush’s intent to designate Pakistan a major non-NATO ally on March 18, following a meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Kursheed Mehmood Kasuri in Islamabad. He said the move will facilitate cooperation between the United States and Pakistan in the war against terrorism.

The trip offered little insight into whether top Pakistani government and military officials were aware of or even involved in Khan’s network. Powell told reporters after a meeting with Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf that he received some new information about the network during the discussion but that he wanted to “reflect on what he said to me and discuss it with some of my other colleagues back in Washington” before commenting on specifics.

During a March 30 hearing of the House International Relations Committee, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton addressed the issue. “Based on the information we have now, we believe that the proliferation activities that Mr. Khan confessed to recently...were activities that he was carrying on without the approval of the top levels of the government of Pakistan.”
Bolton did say, however, that he is certain that some government officials did participate in and benefit from Khan’s network.

The administration says the decision to bestow “non-NATO ally” status on Pakistan underscores the importance of the country’s role in the war against international terrorism, particularly in the continuing fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban. With the designation, Pakistan will join an exclusive club of nations, including Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines. Major non-NATO allies are given greater access to U.S. defense equipment and supplies and are allowed to participate in cooperative research and development programs with the United States.

Further cementing U.S.-Pakistani relations, Bush said March 24 that he is lifting all remaining sanctions imposed in 1999 after Musharraf seized power in a coup, although most of these had already been waived or eliminated during the past five years. Bush said the action would “facilitate the transition to democratic rule in Pakistan and is important to United States efforts to respond to, deter, or prevent acts of international terrorism.”

Not surprisingly, the news of Pakistan’s new status is not sitting well with the Indian government. Although relations between the two countries have been improving—a series of peace talks are scheduled over the next few months—India has long accused Pakistan of fomenting cross-border terrorism, and the two countries are locked in a strategic battle over Kashmir. The tit for tat continued, with Pakistan testing its Shaheen II intermediate-range ballistic missile on March 9 and India testing its Trident short-range surface-to-air missile at month’s end.

Following Powell’s announcement, Navtej Sarna, a spokesperson for Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, noted that “it is disappointing that [Powell] did not share with us this decision” when he was in India two days before he made the statement in Islamabad. “We are studying the details of this decision, which has significant implications for India-U.S. relations,” Sarna stated.

India goes to the polls from April 20 to May 10 in an election that is expected to keep the Vajpayee coalition government in power. Still, Indian officials worry that the U.S. decision to grant Pakistan special military status could affect Vajpayee’s position in the upcoming election. Anand Sharma, spokesperson for India’s main opposition Congress Party, has called the U.S. decision a “public repudiation” for New Delhi.

The United States is trying to dispel Indian government concerns over its decision to grant Pakistan major non-NATO ally status. During questioning from reporters March 22, White House spokesperson Scott McClellan said the United States has “made it clear that we’re willing to explore the same possibility of similar cooperation with India.”









President George W. Bush has lifted all sanctions against Pakistan and will designate the country a “major non-NATO ally”—an elite status that entitles recipients to preferential treatment in military-military operations...

Tensions Between India and Pakistan Ease

Relations on the subcontinent appeared to thaw some in December, with Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf suggesting early in the month that he would order Pakistani troops away from the line of control separating the disputed province of Kashmir if India were to do the same. Hopes were high at month’s end that Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee might meet on the sidelines of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit in Islamabad during the first week of 2004. The offers came as two assassination attempts were made on Musharraf within 11 days. Pakistani authorities detained three men in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir in connection with the second attempt, which occurred on Christmas Day.


Subscribe to RSS - Pakistan