From the dossier of International Institute of Strategics Studies (IISS)
A.Q. Khan’s proliferation activities were not the only source of international concern about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets. In October, 2007, shortly after the terrorist attacks on the world Trade Center and the Pentagon, the standard of security requirements for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons became a matter of grave concern to the US. Early that month, Washington learned that two retired Pakistani nuclear scientists, Sultan Bashirudin Mahmood and Abdul Majid, had been meeting with al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan as recently as mid-august.
Majid was nuclear fuels expert at the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH), from which her retired in 2000. Mahmood, until he resigned in 1999, was director for nuclear power at the Pakistan Atomic energy commission (PAEC) and the self-professed chief designer and director of Pakistan’s Khushab atomic reactor.
Mahmood had also been a pioneer in setting up Pakistan’s uranium enrichment programme before A.Q. Khan took it over. Upon leaving PAEC (having been demoted for supporting militant Islamic revival’) charity relief agency, which he used as a front Reforms to help the Taliban). UTN included a number of Pakistan’s radicalized elite, including engineers, physicists, chemists, military officers and I,51 members. In several meetings with Osama bin Laden, his Egyptian deputy Allman al-several meetings with Q: ama Bin laden, his Egyptian deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri and other al-Qaeda members, Mahmood and Majid discussed nuclear weapons technology.
According to the head of Libyan intelligence Musa Kousa, UTN also approached Libya to offer help in `building nuclear bomb.’ l Mahmood made clear in public speeches his view that Pakistan’s nuclear capability was the property of the global Muslim community. Shortly after receiving intelligence information from the US, the ISI arrested Mahmood and Majid on 23, October, 2001 on suspicion of a `violation of the code of conduct’ (stipulating that retired scientists should not work for foreign organizations) and called in several other members of the UTN for questioning.
In late January 2002, the scientists were released from detention (although placed under house arrest) on the grounds that a trial would cause embarrassment for the government and risk the disclosure of nuclear secrets. Mahmood and Majid were not weapons experts, and by themselves could not have provided media with the ability to build a nuclear weapon. They world have had knowledge useful for making radioactive bombs, but whether they discussed such so-called `dirty bomb’s’ with al-Qaeda is unknown. Mahmood, who failed several polygraph tests, said he explained to bin Laden the difficulty of setting up a uranium enrichment plant, whereupon bin Laden asked, `what if you already have the enriched uranium?’3 When senior US officials read the debriefing, they became convinced that the US needed to do what it could to help Pakistan keep its nuclear assets from failing into terrorist hands.
Command and Control
In fact, Pakistan had been taking steps to strengthen nuclear controls since May 1998, when the nuclear tests fundamentally altered the nation’s external and internal security environment. Since then, Pakistan’s nuclear control infrastructure has gone through four phases. In the immediate post-test period, broadly from 1998-99, the government began to consider a formal command-and-control system for the first time. In the second phase, General Pervez Musharraf, in his role as chief of army staff, implemented his initial reforms between 1999 and 2001. This phase was facilitated by the absence of any further need to keep the nuclear programme strictly clandestine.
The compartmentalization that had contributed to the lack of oversight also made it easier to reorganize the military bureaucracy. Revelations bout A.Q. Khan’s onward proliferation galvanized Pakistani authorities to erect a series of accountability and oversight measures, some of which were already under way. The officials responsible for KRL security, who had previously enjoyed unquestioned authority and been paid by Khan himself, were now required to report to the military, not just to the head of their own organization. The permissive environment that Khan and his associates had enjoyed also began to change, and for the first time they were asked to account for their financial dealings and foreign travel plans. Although he was alerted by these very same security officials, Khan’s growing recklessness finally led to his dismissal. The attacks of II September fundamentally changed Pakistan’s security relationship, launching a third phase (2001-03) IN. Pakistan’s new security structure. Musharraf, now as president, further consolidated nuclear oversight and control.
In response to US pressure a fourth phase began at the end of 2003 with the exposure and unraveling of Khan’s network prompted by Iran’s acknowledgement that August of the foreign origin of its centrifuge equipment and Libya’s shocking announcement about its nuclear and chemical weapons programme in December. Khans’ house arrest and confession followed, along with the new export control legislation.
The exact shape of the Pakistani nuclear policy making organization prior to the 1998 tests I unclear. One Pakistani report states the Z.A Bhutto took direct charge to the nuclear programme after the 197 Indian tests (abolishing the inter-ministerial committee in charge of nuclear issues). During Zia’s time (July 1977 to 18 August 1998), the office of the president and chief of army staff (COAS) was one and the same as far as nuclear matter were concerned. Upon Zia’s death, the civilian G.I. Khan took over as president and assumed the formal decision-making responsibilities, but brought COAS Beg into the nuclear loop to handle weaponisation aspects. G.I. Khans was still the final authority on all financial and nuclear development matters.
In 1993, when the president and prime minister both left simultaneously and three was an interim government, G.I. Khan transferred all responsibilities and relevant documents to COAS Waheed, who lengthened the chain of command, appointing a major-general as Director General of Combat Development to be the nuclear policy contact point. Even the, however, the chief of army staff was not formally considered the authority over all nuclear organizations, especially KRL.
Several authoritative sources have reported that a nuclear decision-making committee has existed since 1975. One source is Mushahid Hussain, a senator close to Musharraf, who stated that from 1975 to 1991 the nuclear programme was supervised by a committee headed by G.I. Khan, who became president in 1988.6 there is some confusion on the nature of this committee: it may be a reference to the three-person body created in 1976 to oversee KRL and possibly PAEC activities: or alternatively to the `troika’ which after 1988 oversaw the nuclear programme.
The latter included the president (G.I. Khan), the chief of army staff (Beg), and the Prime Minister (B. Bhutto) another source is General Beg, who has stated that there was a `national Nuclear Command Authority’ form 1975, headed by the `chief Executive’. This was clearly the predecessor to the national Command authority, which Pakistan says was created only in 2000 (see below). According to Beg, the predecessor body included a `Nuclear command Committee’ which took the main decisions; this committee comprised six individual, including the Prime Minister, the president, and the chief of army staff.8 Others have referred to the nuclear committee as an ad hoc body with varying membership, created by Zia in 1977.
In any case, by as late as 1990, Pakistan’s nuclear club’ was limited to six or even people. 9 The committee was always nominally headed by the president, but was in practice chaired by the chief of army staff (who, in the cases of Zia and later Musharraf, were identical). Hussain has stated that the committee that existed since 1975 later `evolved into a broader body, conceived and planned since 1991 ‘A l 0 the date 1991 indicates that the reorganization of the NNCA may have been decided by G .I. Khan and Beg. In 1993, after G.I. Khan’s resignation, the role of the president became weaker (an evolution later sanctioned by the 1997 constitutional amendment), and G.I. Khan’s successors were probably not directly involved in all key nuclear decisions.
Prime Ministers had only a limited knowledge of nuclear matters and were only involved in some policy decisions through the Defence Committee of the Cabinet. It was in this body that, for instance, the decision to test was taken in 1998. Although nuclear decision-making arrangements until 1999 changed over time, depending [p. 109] the structure of power, they were always under the control of a very small number of individuals. From 1975 until 1988, nuclear decision making was under the tight control of one man (Bhutto, Zia), from 1988 until 1993, it was shared between the president and the chief of army staff; from 19993 the later became the central figure, while prime ministers were involved in a limited way.
The 1999-2001 reforms
Pakistan’s nuclear command-and-control apparatus was completely restructured between 1999 and 2001. As the first army chief to assume power after Pakistan had become an overt nuclear weapons state, Musharraf had both the motivation and the means to carry this out. One of his first acts was to order a reorganization of the military bureaucracy within the army’s General headquarters (GHQ).
Specifically, he ordered the creation of a Strategic Plans Division (SPD), which commenced activity in December 1998, although not formally under that name until the next spring. The Sharif government had previously tasked the army to prepare a new command-and-control arrangement. In April 1999, Musharraf submitted a written plan, under study since the nuclear test the previous year, for a national command authority, with SPD as the secretariat, to take charge of operational, financial and security controls over all strategic organizations.
One of Musharraf’s primary concerns was to establish harmony between Pakistan’s poorly coordinated and competitive nuclear establishments. His plan merged the two existing directorates of the Combat Development directorate (CD Directorate); along with two new ones-the Operations and Plans directorate and the Command and Control and Intelligence Directorate – into the now officially designated Strategic Plans Division within GHQ 2 Sharif approved the plan with minor modifications.
After Musharraf seized chief executive power in October 1999, he created a national Security Council (NSC), a reform that Nawaz Sharif had previously refused COAS General Jehangir Karamat. The NSC for machinery, serving as `a forum for consultation on strategic matters pertaining to the sovereignty, the integrity and security of the State’. It is convened and chaired by the president, and comprises all the main civilian and military leaders – a total of 13 member.13 But the NSC as such is not involved in nuclear decision-making; given that its member include the leader of the opposition in the national assembly and the elected chief ministers of all four provinces, it is not a forum in which particularly sensitive strategic matters can be discussed.
In February 2000, the NSC announced a consolidation of nuclear command-and-control structures, which for the first time brought KRL under de jute military control (in order, inter alia, to prevent potential freelance nuclear-related activities) and established full accountability for all nuclear laboratories. The command-and control structure, sometimes referred to as the Strategic command Organization, is comprised of three tires: a National command Authority (NCA); the Strategic Plans Division, and the strategic force commands of the three military services. In November 2000, all organizations participating in the nuclear and missile programmes were put under the control of the NCA. Two months later a new body, the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM), was created on top of the National Development complex (NDC) and other strategic programmes organization, under the leadership of a key PAEC official, Samar Mubarakmand, as NESCOM chairman. The nuclear and conventional programmes of institutions such as the NDC were separated a new division of labour was instituted; PAEC became solely responsible for mining and reprocessing, KRL for enrichment, and NDC for all weaponisation issues. The new organization became fully operational in 2001.
National command Authority
The NCA is composed of the top civilian and military officials, and is meant to make all major decisions regarding nuclear policy, procurement, planning and use. It is chaired by the president, with the prime minister as vice chairman (when first established these positions were not filled and it was chaired by Musharraf in his role as chief executive until he assumed the title of president in June 2001). The NCA is the highest decision making authority in the country and was reportedly designed to ensure the in time of crisis all of Pakistan’s leaders would have a complete picture of the military situation, encompassing both conventional operations [p. 111] and nuclear planning. On paper, civilians have a major share of responsibility in the NCA, an authority Prime Minister Jamali exercised at a 31 January 2004 NCA meeting in which he argued against a trial for A.Q. Khan on political grounds. In practice, the military would probably prevail on nuclear decision-making during wartime or a military crisis. According to a respected Pakistani strategist, `the final authority to launch a nuclear strike is dependent upon consensus within the NCA, with the chairman casting the final vote’.
The NCA consists of the Employment Control Committee (ECC) and the Development Control Committee (DCC), both chaired by the president. The foreign minister is deputy chairman of the ECC, the body which defines nuclear strategy, including the deployment and employment and employment of strategic threat perceptions, monitors the progress of weapons development, and decides on responses to emerging threats. It also establishes guidelines for effective Command-and-control practice to safeguard against the accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons. The chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff committee is deputy chairman of the DCC, the body responsible for weapons development and oversight which included the nations’ military and scientific, but not its political, leadership. The DCC exercises technical, financial and administrative control over all strategic organizations, including national laboratories and research and development organizations associated with the development and modernization of nuclear weapons and their delivery-systems. Functioning through the SPD, the DCC oversees the systematic progress of weapon systems to fulfill the force goals set by the committee.
Strategic Plans Division
The SPD, which has evolved into a true’ nuclear enclave’, is the key to Pakistan’s nuclear management. It was the evolution of SPD that led to the establishment of systematic control over the varying strategic organizations and gave strategic direction to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and reports to the president and the prime minister directly. Headed by an army three-star general (a reflection of the army’s dominant position in the hierarchy), it acts on behalf of the NCA and assists the president and prime minister in exercising control over the strategic organizations. Pakistan lacked an entity dedicated to the oversight of these organizations while its nuclear programme remained covert Previously, they were directly controlled only by the office of the president or prime minister; this was a key factor contributing to the loss of control over A.Q. Khan. SPD organization.
In addition to functioning as the secretariat to the national command Authority, the 50-officer-strong SPD also performs the role of developing nuclear policy, an arms-control agency and a nuclear-security watchdog. Observers generally agree that the SPD, headed by Lt-Gen. Khalid Kidwai, has taken firm control of Pakistani nuclear organization and policy. With the SPD, the military for the first time had an organization that could develop organizational competency and authority over the sizeable programme.
An immediate problem faced by SPD investigators in 1999 was the professional risk associated with confronting a man of A.Q. Khan’s stature. SPD therefore turned its attention to formulating standard operating procedures for the regulation of, and a code of conduct for, strategic organizations. Firstly, SPD created operational procedures for scientific organizations concerning contract with the media and for obtaining clearance for any publication activity. Secondly, clearances now became necessary for all travel abroad by members of the relevant scientific organizations. Finally, reporting on all financial expenditures became a requirement. These three requirements placed pressure on A.Q. Khan, who clashed with SPD over travel, media appearances and the unauthorized sale of conventional military equipment to foreign governments.
Strategic force commands
At the third tier, separate strategic force commands force commands were created in each of the services; the Army Strategic Force Command; the Air Force Strategic Command; and the Naval Strategic force command. The three services retain training, technical and administrative control over their respective forces, but operational control is under the jurisdiction of the NCA, which provides military direction through the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, which is housed in the National Command Centre.
A.Q. Khan’s revelations accelerated the changes to the SPD’s command-and-control infrastructure that had been ongoing since 1999. One of the greatest flaws in the system was the lack of any formal autonomous Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority to ensue the safety of civilian nuclear facilities and prevent accidental radiation exposure, Including from sources in medical, agricultural and industrial use. A predecessor body the Nuclear Regulatory board, had functioned under the Pakistan Atomic Energy commission, but PAEC is now independent. Pakistani officials express pride that, of the 827 confirmed incidents world wide of illicit trafficking in nuclear (radioactive) materials complied by the IAEA from 1993 to 2005. None are attributed to Pakistan. However, the IAEA illicit Trafficking Database only includes incidents reported or confirmed by governments, so it is not a wholly accurate picture, given that governments unwilling to draw attention to smuggling incidents will not be inclined to report everything. (Pakistan signed an illicit Trafficking Database Agreement with the IAEA in 2005 to share data on seizures.) A wider search of all open-source data about nuclear material trafficking reveals just one case – but a very significant one – in which Pakistan was involved in the UF6 transfer to Libya in 2000-01.
The data reveal only two actual seizures of nuclear material in Pakistan. In Peshawar in 1998, police confiscated 8-10 kg of uranium of unconfirmed grade from two Afghan nationals, reportedly brought from Kazakhstan, while in 1997 an international narcotics and arms trafficker was arrested in Rawalpindi with 2 kg of heroin and samples of uranium.30 Other reports have claimed that enriched uranium from the former Soviet Republics was offered for sale in Peshawar, although no HEU was confiscated. There were also a few incidents reported in Afghanistan, India and Bangladesh in which nuclear material confiscated from smugglers was purportedly bound for Pakistan.
A robust command-and-control system is now in place to protect Pakistan’s nuclear assets from diversion, theft and accidental misuse. For the most part, these measures have been transparent and appear to have worked well. Indeed, Pakistan’s openness in explaining its command-and-control structure goes beyond the practice adopted by most other nuclear-capable states. A.Q. Khan and his known cohorts are out of business and KRL is now confined exclusively to enrichment work. Responsibility for nuclear weapons is now clearly in the hands of the National Command Authority and its constituent bodies.
General Kiwi and the Strategic Plans Division he commands have gained national and international respect for their professionalism and competency. These steps go a long way toward overcoming the international opprobrium and label of irresponsibility that Pakistan earned thanks to the Khan saga. There are still too many unanswered questions about the role Pakistani technology played in aiding nuclear programmers in Iran and North Korea, [p. 117] however, for other countries to conclude that Pakistan has done all it can to account for Khan’s transgressions. International conclusions about whether the Khan case is truly closed will depend on the world seeing a sustained record of responsible nuclear stewardship that transcends the current leadership. Musharraf and Kiwi are lauded for their efforts to protect Pakistan’s nuclear technology, and probably rightly so, although each has given assurances in the past that have later been gainsaid.
When they leave office, will their successors be as capable? In Pakistan’s personality-dominated political system, patronage systems have always overridden weak institutions and the rule of law. The organizational changes since 1999 are designed to institutionalize a system of oversight, and Pakistani authorities are confident about it surviving a leadership change. The military personnel involved with the nuclear forces. The PRP maintains separate reliability programmes for civilians and defence personnel. The data relating to defence personnel are essentially the responsibility of the parent service, whose security clearance and service records are given to the PRP Directorate, which then scrutinizes each individual before assigning strategic roles.
This is a new experience for Pakistan, although concerned Pakistani officials had been interested in establishing such a programme since early 2001. In the United States, `personnel reliability’ includes those measures that ensure that all people responsible for handling or guarding nuclear materials or weapons are reliable, trustworthy, psychologically stable and sober.
Over the past five years, the SPD has reportedly screened at relevant personnel, granted level of security clearances and determined the requisite degree of access for those handling sensitive nuclear materials. As described in report by Italian experts, `key people are screened and controlled by four agencies (the ISI, Military Intelligence, intelligence bureau, and the SPD). Every aspect of each person’s life is reportedly controlled (slc), including families and relatives. Such screening s are repeated every two years.
According to the SPD, the counter-Intelligence Directorate in the Security Division has established counter Intelligence Teams that conduct security checks and reports on a daily, weekly and quarterly basis. The security directorte4s within each strategic organization and strategic force command also produce weekly, monthly and quarterly reports for the division, reporting all security-and intelligence-related events. The operations of the Security Division remain classified, so it is not clear whether the PRP Directorate carries out psychological testing on civilians and scientists. All military officers undergo these tests at the beginning of their service. It is also not known whether the PRP Directorate has any polygraph systems, nor whether those carrying out reliability clearance are themselves trained as security personnel. The exact criteria for security clearance are not publicly disclosed. However, it is known that anyone with religious extremist proclivities or any other extremist tendencies is kept away from policymaking and operational involvement in sensitive area.
Pakistan has faced two establishing its personnel reliability requirements. Firstly, religious extremism is increasing in Pakistani society as a whole. Therefore, the reliability programme must distinguish between those who are merely pious and those with tendencies towards religious extremism. Secondly, because Pakistan’s nuclear management system does not have sophisticated technology, it must rely more upon the rationality and loyalty of individuals who are thoroughly screened before assuming sensitive nuclear responsibilities. Generally, a middle course balancing a reliance on personnel and on technology is practiced to exercise assertive control over strategic assets.21 There is some uncertainty about the exact nature of the authorization procedures to prevent unauthorized or inadvertent launch. Several sources refer to- a system of two separate codes; one of them would be civilian and the other military, amounting to a `dual-key’ system.2h
However, other authoritative accounts mention three-man rule.23 In particular, the cod to arm a weapon is reportedly divided among three persons. It is possible that a two-man rule is adopted for movement of warheads and a three-man rule is adopted for employment authorization. According to Pakistani planners, the number [p. 114] of persons involved varies ‘for technical reasons’; three at some points of the chain of command; tow at other points.
Pakistan is not explicit about its arrangements for weapons security, but it has developed physical safety mechanisms and firewalls both in the weapon systems themselves and in the chain of command. No single individual can operate a weapon system, nor can one individual issue the command for nuclear weapons use. The evolution of the NCA command-and-control system ensures that unauthorized use never takes place, yet the weapon can be operationally ready on short notice. Pakistan does not keep its nuclear weapons on hair trigger alert. The nuclear weapons are small in number and probably kept in a disassembled form; their components are reportedly stored separately. Fissile materials are likely to be stored near installations such as Kahuta or Khushab, close to Rawalpindi.
Naturally enough, there is considerable uncertainty about the location of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and about procedures for their actual use. After 11 September 2001, Pakistan ordered the country’s nuclear arsenal redeployed to at least six secret new locations, according to one account.24 Dummy locations are also reportedly employed to minimize the risks of destruction or capture. SPD head Lt-Gen. Khalid Kidwai told visiting researchers in late 2001 that `no delegation of authority concerning nuclear weapons is pianned’.
According to another source, Pakistani officials say that the SPD has drawn up contingency delegation procedures-in the event, for instance, of the president’s death in wartime – but these will not be publicized.27 it is possible that the prime minister, as the vice chairman of the NCA, would then become its chairman; however, this presumably would not alter the presumed pre-Operational control plans remain a national security secret, as was the case with the United States during the Cold War. In every nuclear weapons state there is a natural tension between protecting the nuclear arsenal against a first strike and ensuring against unauthorized use. Many outside observers believe that in Pakistan this difficulty is exacerbated by the politicization of the army and that the deep sense of grievance among the officer corps over Kashmir increases the probability that weapons will be used if fuing authority is delegated beyond the top leadership.
Security and Safety of Nuclear Assets
Pakistan is cautious about any international cooperation that cold compromise its weapon designs, secret locations and command-and-control structures; this includes cooperation with the United States. As the US Pakistan security relationship assumed new dimensions after 11 September 2001, US Secretary of State Colin Powell told Musharraf that the United States was prepared to assist Pakistan in improving its nuclear safety and security, given America’s previous experience in this field. Musharraf assured Powell that Pakistan’s strategic assets were completely secure. Nevertheless, Pakistan sent a team to the United States to assess the offer. The Pakistani team found that the US offer was rudimentary and the hardware being discussed was available within Pakistan or on the open market.
However, Pakistan agreed to receive US transfers on three conditions. Firstly, it would not allow any intrusions it perceived as unwarranted. Secondly, Pakistan would select technologies it viewed as compatible with its national interests. Finally, the SPD would be the signatory authority for the end-user certifications required by Washington. In other words, Pakistan did not want the exact location or details of the technology’s final destination to be revealed. Since then, there have been several training courses for officers, technicians and engineers at various US labs where they have been instructed on nuclear safety and security issues. The exposure of A.Q Khan’s onward proliferation made clear the need to overhaul the elementary nature of the existing material control and accounting procedures in Pakistan’s nuclear laboratories. The SPD selected and sent personnel to the United States and elsewhere for training, and learned sophisticated and scientifically fool proof methods of accounting.
It is unclear how much assistance the United States provided, because both sides keep such procedures classified. Currently, Pakistan is judged to have in placed a strict system of tallying sensitive material production, accounting and nuclear waste management. The SPD also organizes both regular and surprise inspections. Furthermore, and although not publicly disclosed, Pakistan apparently has an emergency response team for enhanced safety and security analogous to the US nuclear emergency Search Team. This team includes a Special Service group whose job would be to instantly respond to a theft or forceful sabotage of a nuclear weapon or its material.
Pakistan keeps its nuclear weapons as disassembled components, which implies that safety is inherent in the system. Even though the various arsenals could be susceptible to natural or artificial disasters, Pakistan is most probably considering developing `enhanced nuclear detonation safety’ on order to make its arsenal safer and more secure. It also appears to be interested in developing indigenous technologies using permissive action links (PALs) and environmental sensing devices (ESDs). (PALs block arming systems unless the proper code is entered. ESDs block arming systems unless a prescribed environmental profile is achieved.
For instance, a warhead mounted on a ballistic missile would have to experience the sever acceleration of launch before it could detonate.) In these two technologies, Pakistan is unlikely to seek assistance from outside powers. Keeping the weapons in a disassembled form, along it the use of authorization codes, reduces the risk of capture or unauthorized use. Although Pakistan’s equivalent is not as sophisticated as US PALs, it is deemed reliable enough to preclude unauthorized arming or launching of its nuclear weapons.
International concerns have also been raised about the possibility of theft and sabotage during the transportation of sensitive nuclear materials. Effective measures to guard against such loses became an international obligation under UN Security Council Resolution 1540, passed in April 2004. Under the new SPD arrangements, specialist vehicles and tamper-proof containers are provided to all laboratories for the transits of materials, while military personnel escort each of the containers.
Pakistan steps to strengthen control over its nuclear infrastructure included legislative measures. Before 2004, Pakistan purportedly enforced prohibitions through Statutory Regulatory Orders and various government ordinances. These administrative steps were designed in principle to prevent the export of sensitive materials, and they indicated the authority whose approval was required for any dual-use item or material to be exported. This, however, was no substitute for proper export control legislation that allowed for legal penalties. In any case, there is no private sector involvement in the nuclear field and the state controls over 99% of all sensitive materials normally on the international nuclear rigger lists.
Embarrassed by the revelations about A.Q. Khan, and wanting to be in compliance with the UNSCR 1540 requirement for all countries to enact export controls conforming to international standards, the Foreign Ministry and SPD accelerated work to prepare and push through parliament a relatively through export control law. The new law, entitled `Export control on Goods, Technologies, Material and Equipment Related to Nuclear and Biological Weapons and their Delivery Systems Act, 2004′, entered into force on 23 September 2004. The law controls any material, equipment and services that could contribute to the design, development production, stockpiling, maintenance or use of nuclear and biological weapons and their delivery systems. The new law does not include chemical, weapons apparently on the grounds that they already were controlled as a result of Pakistan’s ratification of the Chemical
The national control list was initially adopted from the lists kept by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Australia Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime, as well as European Union guidelines. Pakistan hopes to be consulted when those lists are updated so that it can keep its national list in conformity. The law also includes a catch-all clause requiring exporters to notify authorities of any suspicions that a proposed export is intended for use in a nuclear weapon, biological weapon, or missile. The Export Control Act covers re export trans shipment and transit of all sensitive goods and technologies. The latter is defined to include any documents, including blueprints and plans, as well as on-the-job training, expert advice and services – all of which fall into the category of intangible technology. However, the law doest not necessarily provide the government with the legal means to control the transfer of such knowledge through all intangible means, which might include e-mail and internet sites.
The jurisdiction of the act extends to all Pakistani citizens at home or abroad, persons in the service of Pakistan and foreign nationals in Pakistan. It does [p. 116] not appear to apply to the state entities in charge of Pakistan’s sensitive technologies, but Pakistani government spokesmen insist it would apply to any person acting on behalf of the state.
The act has a punitive provision of unto 14 years’ imprisonment but is not retroactive and therefore not applicable to A.Q. Khan and his criminal associates. The law has not yet been applied in practice. In sum, the legal edifice is ample, but implementation, as always, will be the limiting factor in the effectiveness of this law. Such implementation has yet to be seen. An inter-agency process for reviewing export licence applications is only at an early stage. Pakistan has taken pain to explain the new law in international forums, but as of the end of 2006 has not allowed any independent assessment of its export control system.
Although Pakistan, like India, remains outside the NPT; it has contributed in other ways to international efforts to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.
It is a party to the Biological Weapons Convention (signed in 1974), the chemical weapons convention (1977) and the Outer Space Treaty (1998). Pakistan promptly responded to the reporting requirement of UNSCR 1540 by providing an 11-page report in October 2004 about national measures to implement the resolution and a 125-page follow-up matrix of national compliance in September 2005. Pakistan joined the US sponsored Container Security Initiative (CSI) in March 2006, signing the CSI declaration of principles, and was selected as a model state by the US Customs band Border Protection Agency for the Pilot Programme of the CSI Pakistan says it supports the spirit of the Proliferation Security initiative (PSI) and since 2005, it has attended three PSI exercises as an observer, although it is wary about signing up to the notion of interdicting the cargo of other states.
Nuclear Regulatory Authority
Among the nuclear oversight steps the country has taken. Pakistan official also count the establishment in 2001, of the autonomous Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority to ensue the safety of civilian nuclear facilities and prevent accidental radiation exposure, including from sources in medical, agricultural and industrial use. A predecessor body, the Nuclear Regulatory Board, had functioned under the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, but PAEC is now independent. Pakistani officials express pride that, of the 827 confirmed incidents world wide of illicit trafficking in nuclear (radioactive) materials compiled by the IAEA form 1993 to 2005, none are attributed to Pakistan. However, the IAEA illicit Trafficking Database only includes incidents reported or confirmed by governments, so it is not a wholly accurate picture, given that governments unwilling to draw attention to smuggling incidents will not be inclined to report everything. (Pakistan signed an illicit Trafficking Database Agreement with the IAEA in 2005 to share data on seizures.)
A wider search of all open-source data about nuclear material trafficking reveals just one case -but a very significant one – in which Pakistan was involved in the UF6 transfer to Libya in 2000-01. The data reveal only two actual seizures of nuclear material in Pakistan.
In Peshawar in 1998, police confiscated 8-10 kg of uranium of unconfirmed grade from two Afghan nationals, reportedly brought from Kazakhstan, 29 while in 1997 an international narcotics and arms trafficker was arrested in Rawalpindi with 2 kg of heroin and samples of uranium.30 Other reports have claimed that enriched uranium from the former Soviet Republics was offered for sale in Peshawar, although n HEU was confiscated. There were also a few incidents reported in Afghanistan, India and Bangladesh in which nuclear material confiscated from smugglers was purportedly bound for Pakistan.
A robust command-and control system is now in place to protect Pakistan’s nuclear assets from diversion, theft and accidental misuse. For the most part, these measures have been transparent and appear to have worked well. Indeed, Pakistan’s openness in explaining its command-and-control structure goes beyond the practice adopted by most other nuclear-capable states. A.Q. Khan and his know cohorts are out of business and KRL is now confined exclusively to enrichment work. Responsibility for nuclear weapons is now clearly in the hands of the national Command Authority and its constituent bodies. General Kidwai and the Strategic Plans Division he commands have gained national and international respect for their professionalism and competency.
These steps go a long way toward overcoming the international opprobrium and label of irresponsibility that Pakistan earned thanks to the Khan saga. There are still to many unanswered questions about the role Pakistani technology played in aiding nuclear programmes in Iran and North Korea, however, for other countries to conclude that Pakistan has done all it can to account for Khan’s transgressions. International conclusions about whether there Khan Case is truly closed will depend on the world seeing a sustained record of responsible nuclear stewardship that transcends the current leadership.
Musharraf and Kidwani are lauded for their efforts to protect Pakistan’s nuclear technology, and probably rightly so, although each has given assurances in the past that have later been gainsaid.31 When they leave office, will their successors be as capable? In Pakistan’s personality-dominated political system, patronage systems have always overridden weak institutions and the rule of law. The organizational changes since 1999 are designed to institutionalize a system of oversight, and Pakistani authorities are confident about it surviving a leadership change. The outside world may be more inclined to wait and see, and to press for further transparency and the imposition of real penalties for any transgression of the new regulations.
The outside world’s conclusions will also depend on Pakistan’s ongoing struggle against the monumental challenges posed to the nations’ stability by ethnic tension, poverty, high birth rates, lack of adequate deduction, and the rising influence of Islamic Fundamentalism. Pakistan won praise for the steps it took to purge militant Islamist groups in Pakistan continue to give cause for concern, including the northwest Pakistan. The light punishment meted out to nuclear scientists who met with Osama- Bin-Laden reflect a disturbing pattern reminiscent of the secrecy in which the Pakistani authorities dealt with Khan. In all these cases, secrecy was justified on the grounds that greater transparency would cause embarrassment and risk the disclosure or nuclear secrets. The understandable need to protect national security secrets works against the government’s desire to dispel hints of lingering corruption in the nuclear programme, notwithstanding the multi-layered internal security system that Pakistan has implemented.
The most disquieting note, however, comes from unconfirmed reports of Pakistani citizens remaining connected with sales of nuclear-or missile-related goods to countries of proliferation concern. Western intelligence agencies will not disclose details, but say the lid on Pakistan’s strategic technology is not yet airtight. One reason for this slippage is Pakistan’s need to rely on black market procurement for its own nuclear weapons programme. Given that it already has nuclear weapons, stopping Pakistan’s continued procurement is not a top priority for Western governments. However, this procurement is problematic in that it helps sustain black market operations that the Western countries are trying to stamp out.
If Pakistan were to conclude that it already has a sufficient credible nuclear deterrent and if India capped its own fissile material production – perhaps as part of an international treaty or an independent decision flowing from the US-India nuclear cooperation agreement – then Pakistan would have no further reason to continue enriching uranium and producing weaponsusable plutonium. An end to Pakistan’s own enrichment related foreign procurement and the evasion of foreign export controls that this entails would remove one obstacle blocking Pakistan’s receipt of the same exemption to nuclear supplier rule that the US offered India. In Pakistan’s eyes the causality and sequencing of this suggestion is actually the reverse.
Pakistani officials say they cannot be a partner and a target at the same time. By that they mean that if they were taken into nuclear partnership with the United States and other nuclear suppliers, they would be better disposed toward greater transparency and would have less need to be left to their own devise regarding their nuclear programme. Yet, despite Pakistan’s reforms, the damage caused by A.Q. Khan makes any nuclear cooperation with Pakistan in the near future politically impossible for any Western country.