A temporary resolution of the Iran nuclear issue in place. Temporary because US Administrative behavior remains erratic when confronted with Israeli and Congressional dissent. Many years earlier, before the Iran nuclear issue flared up, Iran was about to ratify the Additional Safeguards Protocol when the US hardline reared its ugly head and the hard work done by some European states was destroyed. If Obama can hold his ground for the six months the present agreement is valid for, it will be a welcome miracle for the world but the unease is already palpable within the US Administration and Congress as Israel gears up to wreck the Iran nuclear agreement. If it succeeds, this would be a critical turning point within the nonproliferation of regime as it may well push Iran into making a decision in favour of nuclear weapons production.

 Meanwhile, even as the dialogue was beginning,  the re-targeting of Pakistan’s nuclear assets by the US and its allies again began gaining momentum. Let there be no doubt in the minds of any Pakistani that Iran was a temporary interlude and the real target of the US and its allies has always been Pakistan’s nuclear assets. We were the first and so far the only Muslim state to achieve nuclear capability against all odds and all manner of Western sanctions. That sits uneasily with the Western World. To make matters worse, despite the French reneging on the reprocessing plant deal we managed to master uranium enrichment – which India is still only moving towards. In addition, we are now progressing with plutonium reprocessing also on a purely indigenous basis. The final pinch for Pakistan’s detractors is the fact that our missile development, limited in variety and focused on improvements of accuracy and shift to solid fuel, has been far better than expected and way ahead of India which has got lost in its grandiose ambitions of producing all manner of missiles from short range to intercontinental (ICBMs). Our plugging the gap in our effectively a massive retaliation deterrence – which was questionable with India’s induction of the ColdStart doctrine –  with the development of the short range Nasr missile led to a bizarre hysteria from Western analysts and their Indian counterparts about Pakistan now contemplating use of battlefield nukes on its own territory. Pure hogwash of course since the Nasr is for a tactical response against Indian forward positions on the Indian side of the international border, in case it thinks of operationalising ColdStart. Nasr poured icy water on the jingoistic Indian ColdStart doctrine! But the whimpering amongst Western analysts continued.

Even more unnerving for the West has been our strict guidelines post-1998 of export controls and safety standards which we have explained repeatedly to the world. The NCA structure of Pakistan is the most public in the world – far more than either the US, Russia, Britain, France or China. India has now given out their equivalent of an NCA.

So the US and its allies have tried to undermine our nuclear assets any which way they can. They are still not too sure of where the assets are so taking them out did not work as an option - but the programme of the US has always been to create enough instability in Pakistan to be able to go to the UN and get our assets placed under “international” (read US) control. Terrorism, economic chaos and destabilization are the US agenda for Pakistan especially with the free access Pakistan gave to US operatives post-9/11 and which still hasn’t been curtailed.

The US and its allies also use their media and think tanks and many of our people get lured by the dollars – an epidemic disease in Pakistan. When the focus was on Iran, Pakistan got pilloried over the centrifuges issue and AQ Khan network – forgetting conveniently the US and French proliferation to Israel and India’s massive proliferation record including its nuclear cooperation with Saddam’s Iraq.  The propaganda at the time was that Pakistan was abetting Iran in its nuclear development. UK’s IISS think tank played a key role in targeting Pakistan while forgetting the proliferation record of other states. The IISS has again chosen to target Pakistan but this time from another angle – that of political uncertainty at the leadership level. Funny how they forget that this action could be realised from India if BJP’s Modi comes to power given his reckless role in the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat. 

An equally absurd attack has also commenced from the BBC earlier this month with wild accusations about Saudi Arabia  getting nuclear weapons “on order” from Pakistan. Interesting how BBC invents sources such as “senior NATO decision maker” who had seen intelligence reports that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan for Saudi Arabia were awaiting delivery - as if it’s something one orders from a Tesco of arms production! Ironically it’s the same analytical culprits again from Bruce Reidel to Gary Samore. If the BBC (which ran ads for the Indian Army just before broadcasting news about Kargil) is to be believed  - and it is getting difficult, Gary Samore told them that the Saudis believe they have an understanding with Pakistan that they could acquire nuclear weapons (Mark Urban BBC News:6November).

Pakistan’s detractors have run with this BBC story despite two basic factual flaws: One, like Iran, Saudi Arabia is a party to the NPT and has shown no interest in developing any form of nuclear capability – civil or nuclear. Two, and this is critical, there are US soldiers with state of the art military hardware present on Saudi territory at Prince Sultan Airbase with an even greater US military presence in the other Gulf States neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

But facts have never been relevant to those forwarding the agenda of disabling if not destroying Pakistan’s nuclear assets. If they can’t do that, they can certainly create a mad frenzy of propaganda. That is what the BBC has done and is doing quite shamelessly.