n Khalid A. Khokhar The two important developments that took place in May have left an impact on the geostrategic landscape of the region: a) The Abbottabad raid of May 2 in which Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by the US Navy SEALs; and b) The attack on PNS Mehran on May 22 in which two P-3C Orion aircrafts were destroyed. Both these incidents provided an ideal opportunity to anti-Pakistan forces to grind their own axes: For the Western leaders, they served as a nightmare about the militants acquiring nuclear materials or worse, an entire weapon. However, in Pakistan, they were viewed as the military and ISIs failure to detect bin Ladens hideout and the US helicopter, which flew unnoticed about 150kms inside the territory. More importantly, once again it has opened a plethora of scaremongering over the security of countrys nuclear weapons. In USA today, questions are being asked about Pakistans ability to maintain control of its nuclear weapons or radioactive material, and to prevent their unintended use. Since 1970s identical suspicions and fears about our nukes were expressed by various writers and media in the West. Prior to 9/11, too, anti-Pakistan lobbies alleged that the Islamic state would transfer the nuclear technology to other Muslim nations. It was in this backdrop that Western leaders 'falsely claimed that militant organisations, such as Al-Qaeda and Taliban, might get hold of Pakistans nuclear assets. Consequently, there is a growing concern among US officials that the militants involved in the Mehran-like attacks may receive help from some friends in the Pakistani military or ISI, suggesting that they (insurgents) might try to snatch a nuclear weapon in transit, or insert sympathisers into laboratories, or fuel production facilities in the future. But Professor Shaun Gregory, Director of the Pakistan Security Research Unit at Bradford University, said: This is a blueprint for an attack on a nuclear facility. Unfortunately, it seems that this propaganda is solely aimed to legitimise foreign interference, especially by the US, in addition to prove that the Pakistani government and its army have failed to contain the terrorists. Several Pakistani analysts see mixed signals emanating from the US/West in the aftermath of the Abbottabad and Mehran attacks, as an effort to increase pressure on Islamabad to do more. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reposed confidence on the safety of its nuclear assets. President Barack Obama said: He was confident about the security of Pakistans nuclear arsenal, although he was 'gravely concerned about the overall situation in the country. US Senator John Kerry affirmed: We have no interest in Pakistans nuclear assets, however, it is our desire to see these well protected and secure under proper command and control system. Earlier, however, The New Yorker had published a report by Seymour Hersh titled Pakistan Nuclear Security Plan with regard to the alleged vulnerability of its nuclear assets and facilities. In the same vein, Mariot Leslie, a senior British Foreign Office official, told US diplomats at the London Arms Control meeting in September 2009: The UK has deep concerns about the safety and security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons. Thus, there is all sorts of scaremongering being aired since years just to establish that Pakistan pose a serious threat of proliferating nuclear weapons to the insurgents. Pakistan, however, has very robust, multi-layered command and control system, and USAs concern over the safety of its nuclear weapons is surely misplaced and unfounded. Perhaps, the misplaced anxiety and false propaganda in the international media is due to lack of appropriate information available about the Pakistans ability to maintain control over its nuclear arsenal. Hence, our nuclear weapons falling into the terrorists hands is indeed out of question. n The writer is a freelance columnist.