Home Pakistan Pakistani Ex-General Says US, India Want To De-Nuclearise His Country

Pakistani Ex-General Says US, India Want To De-Nuclearise His Country

bankrupt state

Six days ago, the US State Department sanctioned three Chinese and one Belarusian entity for supplying components to Pakistan’s ballistic missile programme. The decision came just two days ahead of the visit by Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, to Pakistan.

Some Pakistani commentators believe this was a warning to Islamabad, that given its bankrupt state and its dependence on Western donors including institutions like the IMF for loans and bail-outs, it should not overstep its limits.

Lt Gen Tariq Khan, former head of Pakistan’s Central Command which oversees the Punjabi heartland, believes that the bankrupt state has left the country particularly vulnerable to pressure and blackmail on its nuclear programme.

In an interview now playing on Youtube, he said, “We don’t deserve to have nuclear weapons as the world sees it. We are unstable, we don’t have proper governance, we have terrorism, extremism. There is nothing justifying it for us in terms of our survival in the comity of nations. If this is how the world sees us, they are going to try and get this scourge or threat out of our hands. And the cleanest way to do it would be through economic steps.”

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In his view, apart from the US wanting to see Pakistan stripped of its nuclear weapons, India too would prefer its western neighbour de-nuclearised. It underscored the point, he said, that nuclear weapons had served Pakistan well, it had deterred India, whether after Pulwama and Balakot or even after “skirmishes” like the one in Kargil. None of these spilled over into a larger conflict.

But the economic situation had put Pakistan in the cross-hairs of those with the money to bail Islamabad out. He noted that Pakistan has accumulated a debt of $128 billion and there doesn’t seem to be any plan as to how this debt would be repaid. As he put it, “We have no economic policy, no foreign policy, no defence and security policy. We are only open to dictation. We are told what to do and we do it. We are totally under their influence.”

He also faulted “well wishers” who had generously given Pakistan the money it had wanted to stabilize itself but set no conditions as to how this money should be utilized. Result, the money got diverted elsewhere.