Any discussion on elimination of nuclear weapons from South Asia has always been a non-starter because India has not, and will never, agree to any such proposal. Pakistan had called for declaring South Asia a ‘Nuclear Free Zone’ several times, but knowing very well that India will never agree to such pleas, it is only for gaining some moral advantage over India. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the political father of nuclear Pakistan, had for the first time floated such a proposal at the inauguration of Karachi’s Nuclear Power Plant on November 28, 1972, and soon after India tested its nuclear detonator in 1974. Therefore, any talk of elimination of nuclear weapons from South Asia, when India is aggressively pursuing a massive conventional and nuclear buildup program – it has signed a number of agreements and during the recent Hillary Clinton visit the nuclear cooperation between the US and India have been further cemented – has been claptrap and amounts to capitulation. The world refused to give Pakistan security guarantees in the wake of India’s 1974 test leaving no options for us except to stand on our own feet.However, Pakistan’s dilemma is that ever since we have entered the nuclear domain, we persistently faced one threat or the other from the west and this has always weakened the country’s security. The US lamented that Pakistan accepted material assistance from them after 2001 to help secure and account for its nuclear weapons but refused to disclose where the material was being used or other critical information about the location and status of their weapons. Pakistan’s stance on the question was that Pakistan had no agreement to share information with officials of foreign governments related to the whereabouts of their nuclear weapons. The US, however, believed Pakistan’s nuclear warheads were protected by a secret and compartmentalized security process that was thought to involve several tiered layers, requiring multiple individuals to sign off on their use. But at the same time, the US State Department had indirectly said that it believed Pakistan was expanding its nuclear arsenal. Admiral Mike Mullen, the outgoing chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, agreed with an American lawmaker who claimed that Pakistan was adding to its arsenal of nuclear weapons. However, President Asif Ali Zardari clarified in May that Pakistan was not adding to its nuclear arsenal and did not have to inform the United States about the location of its weapons. Certain blueprints were also reported to have been prepared, and they were alarming in the sense that a small stolen weapon might be used against the American army or a Nato base in Afghanistan or within the Indian territory to make the world believe, amidst an atmosphere that the western media will portray like a global crisis, that Islamic extremists had stolen the weapon in earlier attack(s) on Pakistani sites. The aftermath will lead to a global media scare to neutralise voices within the US government which believe that Pakistan’s nuclear facilities are safe and secure. In such an eventuality, the need for the world to intervene militarily in Pakistan will be advocated. In any case, the minimum global action may be to force Pakistan to accept international monitoring of its nuclear program and provide data of its sensitive installations. Strong evidence exists that Israel and the American CIA have a role in the plot against Pakistan.  Pakistani authorities are hopefully mindful of the conspiracy and are taking no chances. The security must be on the highest possible alert and managers of the Pakistan’s nuclear facilities have already taken enough steps to ward off any such subversive attempt.FAROOQ-UZ-ZAMAN KHAN, Lahore, September 2.