'Conditions in Pak puts N-weapons at risk' | world | Hindustan Times
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'Conditions in Pak puts N-weapons at risk'

A leading analyst rejects Islamabad's claim that its arrangements are best in the world, saying the design of Pakistan's nuclear control system creates a risk of inside theft.

world Updated: Dec 31, 2007 09:36 IST

The conditions in Pakistan -- political instability, a demoralized army, a burgeoning Islamic insurgency and an intensely anti-US population -- have put the country's nuclear weapons at risk, a leading analyst has said.

Rejecting Islamabad's claim that its arrangements were best in the world, director of Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Graham Allison said "the design of Pakistan's nuclear control system creates a risk of inside theft."

This system addresses Pakistan's first and foremost fear that if its arch-enemy, India, knew the location of the country's weapons it could launch a pre-emptive attack that eliminated them, Allison wrote in the Newsweek magazine.

Stating the notion, that all nuclear weapons were having sophisticated electronic locks and codes were known only to President Musharraf was not credible, he says in that case an attack that kills Musharraf could eliminate Pakistan's ability to retaliate.

"Instead, Pakistan has dispersed its weapons and distributed oversight to multiple strategic and security authorities. But these arrangements by necessity increase the likelihood that corrupt officials could successfully divert weapons or materials," Allison argues.

Even a quick analysis of the security situation faced by Pakistan's nuclear custodians presents a "clear outlines of their nightmares and ours," he says, adding what made father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb AQ Khan possible to sell nuclear secrets was an extended period of instability in the country.