Pakistani transfer of nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia unfeasible
The November 6 BBC report by Mark Urban, the diplomatic and defense editor, for its ‘Newsnight’ program outlining a possible Pak-Saudi agreement to transfer nuclear weapons in some capacity and/or to supply ballistic missiles to Saudi Arabia, in the event of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon capability is a rehash of a very old story that holds no merit. The timing of these claims appears to be governed by events elsewhere in the Middle East, namely Saudi-US tensions, and they are made with malicious intent, though probably not on the part of Urban.
As the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs countered, “Pakistan’s nuclear program is purely for its own legitimate self defence.” It also drew attention to confidence expressed by US President Barack Obama in October in “Pakistan’s commitment and dedication to nuclear security” and also that “Pakistan is fully engaged with the international community on nuclear safety and security issues.”
As a state Pakistan has a faultless proliferation record and would not want to change this, (only private proliferation by the A Q Khan network has tarnished its reputation). As Saudi Arabia is a Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory state it would also be forbidden for Pakistan to provide any such assistance.
Some Saudi officials may believe past aid rendered to Pakistan (Saudis did provide oil payment relief by agreeing to Pakistani requests for deferred payments on oil supplies.), would allow it to ask for the transfer of nuclear weapons in some capacity, at short notice.
However, Pakistan knows it would be hit with very harsh sanctions from the US, other western nations, the UN, and that this would even damage its close relationship with China, which is also no doubt opposed to Pakistan proliferating such technology. The report also mentioned the possible transfer of Pakistani Shaheen solid fueled ballistic missiles to Saudi Arabia. However, though it stated these were without nuclear warheads, even this would be a step too far for the international community, including China.
Even if any transfers could not be prevented therefore, the aftermath would be severe for Pakistan and it is unlikely it could withstand the pressure of such sanctions. Pakistan would also not want to take sides in the Iranian-Saudi/Sunni-Shiite stand-off, due to its shared border and large Shiite minority.
Other reasons to discount these claims are more obvious. Saudi Arabia is a NPT signatory state, therefore it is illegal for it to obtain or develop nuclear weapons. It also lacks the ability to build its own weapons because it lacks the technology, infrastructure, and skilled personnel. Though it will continue to fear Iranian intentions, Saudi Arabia is limited by the NPT. Any effort to develop nuclear weapons would be laborious, and members of the Nuclear Supplier Group would only supply a reactor and associated fuel, not fuel cycle technology that would allow it to enrich weapon grade uranium or manufacture plutonium. It is also debatable that even the Saudis would be able to withstand international pressure from overtly obtaining a nuclear weapon capability for which it would have to opt out of the NPT, inviting fierce international reaction. Therefore, its only real option is to seek protection under a US nuclear umbrella, not help from Pakistan.
ISPR Condemns JI Chief’s Statements
A spokesman of ISPR strongly condemned the irresponsible and misleading remarks by Syed Munawar Hassan in a TV programme, declaring the dead terrorists as shaheeds while insulting the shahadat of thousands of innocent Pakistanis and soldiers of Pakistan’s armed forces. Syed Munawar Hassan has tried to invent a logic based on his political convenience. Strong condemnation of his views from an overwhelming majority leaves no doubt in any one’s mind that all of us are very clear on what the state of Pakistan is and who are its enemies.
Sacrifices of our shuhada and their families need no endorsement from Syed Munawar Hassan and such misguided and self-serving statements deserve no comments. However, coming from Ameer of the Jamat-e-Islami, a party founded by Maulana Maududi, who is respected and revered for his services to Islam is both painful and unfortunate.
The people of Pakistan, whose loved ones laid down their life while fighting the terrorist, and families of shuhada of armed forces demand an unconditional apology from Syed Munawar Hassan for hurting their feelings. It is also expected that Jamat-e-Islami should clearly state its party position on the subject.
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(MENAFN – Arab News)
Pakistan’s navy ship, “PNS ASLAT,” which is on a goodwill-cum-training visit to Saudi Arabia, held a dinner reception on board the ship in Jeddah.
The ship’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Ahmad Farooq, highlighted the strategic importance of relations between Pakistan and the Royal Saudi Navy.
He said that both countries enjoyed cordial ties and that the navies of the two countries hold a number of joint training and exercises, including the “Naseem-ul-Bahr” joint naval exercise. Capt. Farooq emphasized that such visits are a source of strength between the armed forces of both countries.
Capt. Farooq shed light on PNS ASLAT, which derives its name from an Arabic word, denoting a type of sword used by the Arabs during the early days of Islam.
He said that PNS ASLAT was commissioned until April 17, 2023, and was on its first international goodwill mission that covered a number of countries, including Russia, Turkey and Sudan. The ship is equipped with state-of-the-art combat management systems, torpedoes and missiles.
Saudi Western Region Fleet Commander Rear Adm. Abdullah Hamid Al-Ghamdi, Consul General Aftab Ahmed Khokhar, Pakistan’s Naval and Air Attach Capt. Ibrahim Asad joined Capt. Ahmed Farooq in cutting the Pak-Saudi friendship cake.
The function was attended by a number of foreign diplomats based in Jeddah, high-ranking Saudi Navy officials, officials from the consulate general of Pakistan, and members of the Pakistani expatriate community.
Pakistan on Tuesday conducted a successful test fire of Short Range Surface to Surface Missile Hatf IX (NASR).
According to Inter Services Public Relation (ISPR) the test fire was conducted with successive launches of 4 x missiles (Salvo) from a state of the art multi tube launcher.
NASR, with a range of 60 Kilometer and in-flight maneuver capability is a quick response system, with shoot and scoot attributes. It contributes to the full spectrum deterrence against threats in view of evolving scenarios.
The test was witnessed by the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Director General Strategic Plans Division, Lieutenant General (Retd) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, Chairman NESCOM, Mr Muhammad Irfan Burney, Commander Army Strategic Forces Command, Lieutenant General Tariq Nadeem Gilani, senior officers from the strategic forces and scientists and engineers of strategic organizations.
The Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, congratulated the scientists and engineers on this outstanding achievement which consolidates Pakistan’s deterrence capability.