Denuclearization of Pakistan leading to its Disintegration

In a startling outburst that left many online users perplexed, former Pakistani senator Faisal Raza Abidi issued a threat of a nuclear strike against the United States should Washington interfere with the Pakistan-Iran pipeline project. During a YouTube podcast titled “Pakistan_Untold,” Faisal warned, “Pakistan will unleash nuclear fury on the White House if the US fails to comply.”

This incident gains significance amidst Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s three-day visit to Pakistan, aimed at bolstering bilateral ties in trade, connectivity, energy, agriculture, and people-to-people contacts. The primary focus is on constructing a pipeline to transport Iranian natural gas to Pakistan, a project that has faced opposition from the US. Faisal’s extreme reaction reflects the widespread anger in Pakistan towards the American establishment, fearing punitive sanctions if the pipeline construction proceeds.

Faisal’s outburst becomes more critical following Pakistan’s efforts to strengthen relations following confrontations between Iran and Israel, risking a broader regional conflict. Both nations exchanged missile attacks in January 2024. This visit holds significance as it may involve sharing nuclear technology and clandestinely providing critical equipment for nuclear warhead preparation. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, admitted on Pakistan Television (PTV) to running a proliferation ring and transferring technology to Iran, North Korea, and Libya.

The Iran-Pakistan Gas pipeline is another point of contention for the United States. Pakistan lacks the necessary funds and cannot unilaterally use IMF bailout money for this purpose without explicit approval, which is likely to be denied. If, by chance, Iran funds this project, Pakistan faces a challenge in paying for the energy due to its precarious financial situation, impending default, and struggling industries. The country’s external debt has soared to $125 billion, exceeding half of its GDP, with an annual debt servicing of $22 billion, indicating an unsustainable state. Depleted foreign currency reserves compel Pakistan to seek loans from friendly nations, the IMF, and the World Bank, primarily to service older debts. Widespread inflation is worsening livelihoods, pushing millions into deep poverty. Given these circumstances, Pakistan might be pressured into leveraging its nuclear arsenal as its only viable option.

Pakistan takes great pride in its nuclear weapons program, with an estimated annual spending of $2 billion. In 2022, there was a notable increase of nearly six percent in military spending, juxtaposed with an 11 percent reduction in development expenditure. President Biden’s statement in October 2022, labeling Pakistan as one of the most dangerous nations globally, reflected concerns within the American establishment. The internal situation in Pakistan, marked by continuous attacks from Tehrik Taliban Pakistan and the presence of underground cells of the Islamic State group, has further heightened these fears. Moreover, ethnic conflicts in Balochistan, bordering Iran and Afghanistan, add to the region’s instability.

Pakistan’s precarious financial state and deteriorating internal conditions pose a dangerous scenario, raising concerns about the potential for radical extremist Jehadi elements to gain access to nuclear weapons, potentially aided by certain sections of the Army. With assistance from China, Pakistan has established six nuclear plants, contributing to an estimated arsenal of around 170 nuclear weapons as reported by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The nation is on the brink of political, economic, and social collapse, with a pervasive Jehadi mindset radicalizing a significant portion of the population. Pakistan’s current form appears unsustainable, leading to doubts about its viability by the end of the decade.

Prior to internal turmoil leading to chaos and anarchy in Pakistan, international forces must collaborate to dismantle Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. A comprehensive coalition involving India, China, Russia, the USA, and Israel should coordinate a strike force to pressure Rawalpindi’s military establishment into surrendering nuclear weapons, enriched uranium, and rendering civilian nuclear facilities inoperable. This action aims to prevent Pakistan, deemed a rogue Islamic nation, from holding humanity hostage with weapons of mass destruction. The immediate threat posed by these weapons extends to India, China, Russia, Iran, and Central Asian Republics, with potential risks of proliferation into the international arms market. Pakistan’s descent into anarchy and chaos underscores the urgency of denuclearizing the nation before any potential disintegration.

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