A study on: Exploring U.S. Missile Defense Requirements in 2010: What Are the Policy and Technology Challenges?

Pakistan: A Gateway to Westward Proliferation?

The term "Pakistan" is an acronym coined in 1933 in anticipation of the creation of a Muslim-dominated state separate from the political system that would govern Hindu-dominated India. The acronym represents P for Punjab, A for the Afghanistan border states, K for Kashmir, S for Sind, and TAN for Baluchistan. With independence in 1947, these diverse ethnic groups were infused with Muslim immigrants from India (called Mahajir). Unfortunately, the resulting state is one that is still very fragile, a state that is highly fragmented by ethnic differences.


Even religion has not proven to be a totally unifying factor for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Sectarian violence is common between Pakistan's Muslim Sunni majority and its 15 percent Shia minority.

This conflict has created a Sunni-Shia situation that is reflective of Protestant-Catholic relations in Northern Ireland. Shootings, killings, and beatings are the hallmarks of this relationship.1 Yet, in spite of the strongly religious currents that influence Pakistani society, Pakistan's voters have made it clear that they want a secular government. For example, only 8 percent of the vote in the October 1993 election was won by religious-political parties.2 Yet, Islamic fundamentalists still exert a major influence on Pakistan's political process as they have the capability of making themselves felt on individual issues, turning large crowds into the streets to demonstrate for their positions.

Economic factors have also added to the divisiveness that marks the country. Prior to independence, the areas that make up the current state of Pakistan were primarily based on agrarian economies, with most of the wealth held by about 300 families that owned large tracts of land that operated under a feudalistic system. Since independence these elites have continued to hold the reins of political power and have enjoy disproportional benefits from this state of affairs. This feudal hierarchy is now beginning to crumble.

Large numbers of people are migrating to the cities with, for example, the port city of Karachi now accounting for at least 10.2 million people and 30 percent of the nation's revenue.3 Within the next 15 years, it is estimated that at least half of Pakistan's population may dwell in urban areas,4 resulting in an emerging middle class which is agitating for a more equitable distribution of political power, power which is currently monopolized by Pakistan's landed elites.5

Even so, Pakistan's central government exercises only limited political control; it is held in general contempt by the public; its political process is characterized by crude political ploys to hamper opposition parties; and it has been ineffective in dealing with the rampant ethnic and sectarian violence that has claimed thousands of lives during the last few years.6 In addition, even though Pakistan's military gave up direct rule of the country after General Zia was killed in a plane crash in August 1988, the military establishment and the related ISI (interservices intelligence) Directorate are only minimally responsive to the directions of the civilian controlled governments. Since 1988, the civilian governments in Pakistan have all been "guided" by the military with the prime minister's powers limited with regard to military matters.7 As a result, security decisions, foreign policy-related actions, and decisions regarding the disposition of WMD systems have sometimes been taken or acted upon without the knowledge or consent of Pakistan's elected officials.8

In formulating its foreign policy, Pakistan's primary concerns are a reflection of its history and domestic situation. Of utmost concern is the Indian threat and the status of Kashmir (the K in Pakistan's name). Secondly, Pakistan is looking for commercial development opportunities, but its major prospect for commercial growth lies in opening a trade route to Central Asia which can only be accessed via Afghanistan. In seeking to become Central Asia's conduit to the world, Pakistan is entering into direct competition with Iran, which is also seeking this role. At the same time, Pakistan has long hoped to develop closer relations with other Islamic states, to include Iran. As will be briefly described, much of Pakistan's security policies flow from these factors.

India. As was discussed earlier, Pakistan and India have fought three wars and conducted confrontational diplomacy for most of their 50-year history as separate nations in South Asia.9 However, in this match, Pakistan has only one-fourth of the land area and less than one-sixth of the population of India, putting Pakistan in the position of David facing the Indian Goliath. Based on its experience in the 1971 war over Bangladesh, Pakistani strategists believe that India could further dismember their country (perhaps by splitting the country through the restive province of Sind, separating the capital at Islamabad from the economic center at Karachi) and defeat Pakistan's conventional forces in about two weeks. Following the explosion of India's nuclear device in 1974, Pakistan became even more alarmed about India's military capabilities. At that time, Pakistan's then-Prime Minister, Zulifikar A. Bhutto, made his famous declaration that Pakistanis would "eat grass" rather than surrender their nuclear option. This idea that Pakistan's security rests on a nuclear capability has gained strength over the years.10

Iran. In the early 1990s, key Pakistani elements entertained hopes of establishing a strategic alliance with Iran and other regional Islamic states to offset an expected tilt of the United States toward India.11 As a further incentive, Pakistan is concerned about the growing level of Hindu nationalism in India. While in pursuit of a strategic alignment with other Islamic states, the Pakistani Chief of the Army Staff, General Beg, became a great admirer of Iran's implementation of Islamic rule and subsequently got well out in front of the political process in promoting a strategic-military alliance with Iran.12 As will be discussed later, this relationship probably included the transfer of sensitive information (and perhaps equipment) related to nuclear weapon development.

As the 90s unfolded, however, relations between Pakistan and Iran began to become somewhat strained:

Pakistani officials began to suspect that Iran (the only Islamic state with a Shiite majority) was involved in agitating Pakistan's Shia community, thus feeding the growing unrest among its Shiite population;13

Relations between Iran and India warmed, including formal cooperative arrangements between those two states to open trade routes through Iran to the Central Asian republics. This agreement put those states into direct competition with Pakistan for the role of providing the Central Asian outlet to the sea;

Iran has long been uncomfortable with Pakistan's pro-American orientation. The strain between Iran and Pakistan appears to be exacerbating Iran's unhappiness with Pakistani-American ties as Iranian commentators increasingly claim that Pakistan acts as a conduit into the region for American foreign policy; and the development of events in Afghanistan placed Pakistan and Iran on opposite sides of the political fence. The Afghanistan situation included Indian, Iranian, and Russian cooperation with the Rabbani government of Afghanistan, raising the prospect that Pakistan was being surrounded by unfriendly states.

Fig. 4-8
Fig. 4-8

Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a key element in the relationships among Iran, Pakistan and, to some extent, India. The main elements of concern are trade with Central Asia and influence in those states. Pakistan is staking its commercial future in Central Asia on a Tashkent-Karachi transportation link and the enterprise of its businessmen.14 Although Pakistan undoubtedly would enjoy having access to Central Asia via Afghanistan's main road that runs north from Kabul, in 1994 it explored and proved the feasibility of using the alternative western Afghanistan route to the north through Herat to Turkmenistan.15 Pakistan hopes to repair and open this 550-mile road network. See Figure 4-8.

However, under Rabbani's administration of Afghanistan, Pakistan's aspiration of developing a trade route to Central Asia was being dashed. The key events that contributed to this situation included:

Pakistan, under General Zia, had supported Rabbani's rival, Hekmatyar. When Rabbani took power in Afghanistan, Pakistan declared the Rabbani government illegitimate;16

Pakistan's embassy in Kabul was subsequently sacked and closed by Rabbani supporters;17

Iran, India, and Russia established close relations with the Rabbani administration18 (Indian involvement with the Rabbani government was of particular concern);19 and

Pakistan found itself closed out of much of Afghanistan.

In 1994, Pakistan helped create the radically fundamentalist Taliban (literally means "Islamic students") faction, which was largely recruited from Afghan students attending Koranic schools in Pakistan.20 As the situation between Afghanistan and Pakistan deteriorated, Pakistan seems to have increased its assistance to this group. According to some reports, this assistance was either covertly or tacitly approved by the United States and supported by Saudi Arabia.21 Some believe that the $3 billion contract for Unocal and Delta Oil to build a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan, across Afghanistan to Pakistan helped influence U.S. support for a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.22 At the same time, other press accounts claim that U.S.-Pakistani relations soured over Pakistan's support of the Taliban.23

In 1995, the Taliban was successful in securing the five southern and western provinces of Pakistan, to include the city of Herat. In 1996, in a series of attacks that incorporated the use of armor, aircraft, and perhaps Pakistani advisors, the estimated 40,000-50,000 strong Taliban was successful in expanding its control to encompass 70 percent of Afghanistan, to include securing Kabul on September 27, 1996.24

See Figure 4-9.

Fig. 4-9
Figure 4-9

As of the end of 1996, the three main anti-Taliban groups (generally representing the Tajik-, Uzbek-, and Shiite-oriented factions) are holding northern Afghanistan under Rabbani,25 who still enjoys recognition by Iran, India, and Russia as head of the legitimate government of Afghanistan.26 It is questionable if the Pushtun-dominated Taliban will be able to subdue this northern sector (an ethnic/religious issue). The successful results achieved by the Taliban hold some downstream risks. These include: Iran is unhappy with the extreme Islamic radicalism of the Sunni Taliban;27 also, it is not in Iran's interest to have Afghanistan dominated by forces allied with Pakistan. Moreover, the Shiites, who are the predominant sect in the Persian-speaking area around Herat, are also upset with the Taliban's strict governance of that region and look to Iran for assistance.28 For its part, Iran has been training and equipping a force reportedly consisting of an 8,000-member Shia-dominated Afghan group in eastern Iran (a group that was driven out of Afghanistan in September 1995 when Herat fell to the Taliban). Iran apparently is assisting that group in its preparation to try to retake the Herat area.29 The accompanying tensions have caused some very discreet "saber-rattling" between Iran and Pakistan, while the two countries have maintained a public image of apparent friendly relations.30

Roughly 90 percent of all Muslims are of the Sunni sect. The only major Islamic country which is controlled by the Shia branch of Islam is Iran. As such, Iran and its Shia beliefs have only limited appeal to other Islamic countries, all of which are dominated by Sunnites. Unfortunately, the Sunni Taliban, according to one report, contains a powerful faction that would like to become the leader of a worldwide Jihad (holy struggle) movement.31 For Iran, this has to be a disturbing development. It sees the Taliban as hostile towards Iran and perhaps the Shia sect.32 If the Taliban should eventually lead a successful Jihad movement, it could have the potential of being more potent than Iran's efforts because it might better appeal to the dominant Sunni majority. A Sunni-led Jihad could also earn the Taliban and Pakistan the enmity of both Russia and China if the Islamic populations of Central Asia and western China should come under the influence of such a movement.

Reportedly, the Islamic movement in Kashmir has been encouraged by the success of the Taliban in Afghanistan.33 Perhaps more importantly, there is some worry that a Taliban victory may well inspire other Islamic movements that are fighting to oust secular pro-Western governments throughout the Middle East.34

Pakistan and the "Bomb"

Pakistan has been successful in collecting much of the foreign technology and equipment that it needed to support its nuclear program. Its nuclear support operations have included a combination of theft, smuggling, and deliberate foreign assistance.

The head of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program is Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the German-educated metallurgist who is the director of Pakistan's nuclear-weapon laboratories at Kahuta.35 Previously, Dr. Khan was employed at the uranium enrichment facility, Urenco, in Almelo, Netherlands. It is suspected that he stole a copy of uranium centrifuge blueprints from this facility in 1975,36 one year after India exploded its "peaceful" nuclear device. Armed with these blueprints and a list of Urenco's key suppliers of components,37 he returned to Pakistan and shortly thereafter was appointed to his current position.

Pakistan established an extensive international network of suppliers in order to acquire the technology and specialized equipment needed in its nuclear program. Much of this material came from the West, to include Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, and the United States.38 In this effort, Pakistan successfully established a number of dummy companies, trans-shipped dual-use materials through multiple countries, or outright stole or smuggled needed components.39 Of interest, during the 1980s Pakistan is believed to have obtained some stocks of tritium gas.40 More importantly, in 1987, it successfully imported the technology needed for collecting and purifying indigenously the tritium needed for its nuclear program.41 (Tritium is a hydrogen atom with two added neutrons in the nucleus. It is used in a mix to boost the yield and lower the weight of fission devices by adding additional neutrons to the chain-reaction process of a nuclear detonation, thereby greatly increasing the number of U-235 or Pu-239 atoms that are split prior to the disintegration of the weapon's integrity.)

Similarly, Pakistan has harvested a significant amount of international nuclear knowledge. As alluded to in the preceding paragraph, Pakistan gained a significant amount of nuclear-related equipment from Germany. It is instructive to examine a case study of the outcome that occurred when a government cracked down on the exports of a company providing dual-use technology to a proliferator. In this case, a Germany company, Leybold, had been engaged in questionable sales to Pakistan. When this company showed up on the U.N.'s December 1991 list of 13 companies that had provided supplies to Iraq's nuclear program, the German government increased its scrutiny of Leybold's operations. Subsequently, Leybold's overseas nuclear-related sales dropped as much as 30 percent and the company was forced to layoff up to 1000 employees, including nuclear engineers. Many of the nuclear specialists gravitated to private consulting companies. U.S. intelligence sources are said to regard these consultants as a threat because many of them are still working with their former clients.42 Although the client countries are not named, it would be surprising if Pakistan were not included.

Likewise, nuclear and missile specialists in Russia are working with Pakistan via computer modem to solve problems associated with nuclear and missile development.43 When this picture is linked to the help Pakistan is receiving from Chinese technicians, some of whom have been present at Kahuta since the mid-1980s,44 it becomes clear that the international flow of nuclear and missile knowledge, in concert with the overall global flow of technology and equipment, is also contributing to Pakistan's development of an indigenous nuclear and missile capability.

In addition (as noted in the Indian section), in 1982 or 83, Pakistan's nuclear program received a big boost from China when it apparently provided Pakistan with the blueprints for a 1966 design of a U-235 nuclear-implosion device.45 Reportedly, U.S. intelligence was able to obtain a copy of this design when it clandestinely searched the briefcase of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan.46 According to one report, the design was for the warhead that China exploded during its fourth nuclear test on October 27, 1966,47 when a DF-2A missile was live-fired a distance of 894 kilometers to detonate its nuclear warhead at the Lop Nur test site.48 This particular missile warhead weighed 1290 kgs and produced a yield of about 12 kt (about the same yield as India's 1974 nuclear explosion).49 (The warhead's potential yield apparently was rated at 20-30 kt.)50 Using the technology and information gained, according to one U.S. official's reported comment, Pakistan has had the ability to make a nuclear bomb with a "few turns of a screwdriver" since 1990;51 Pakistani sources claim that status as of October 1991. Based on other evidence and comments made by former Chief of the Pakistani Army, General Beg, there is an unsubstantiated claim that Pakistan may have been capable of producing a nuclear weapon as early as 1987.52

To counter this proliferation problem, the United States expended a lot of effort trying to get Pakistan to cap and roll back its nuclear program. During the first half of the 1990s, Pakistani elites claimed that Pakistan had voluntarily capped its nuclear program. Although generally echoed by U.S. officials, this claim is now suspect. According to General Beg, while Pakistan cut back on its nuclear production in 1989, the program was never stopped.53 Beg's point seems substantiated by Dr. A.Q. Khan's claim that "no government has ever yielded to international pressure to close down the project or freeze the nuclear program."54

This program, as discussed earlier, has provided Pakistan with an air-deliverable nuclear weapon (a bomb). What has been more problematic is whether or not Pakistan has been able to configure the weapon for delivery by missile. As stated previously, when China tested the nuclear design believed to have been passed to Pakistan, it was missile-delivered, with the packaged warhead weighing 1290 kgs. However, Pakistan's missile ranges are all based on a throwweight of 500-800 kgs. Warheads above those weights would significantly shorten the missiles' effective ranges. On the other hand, based on Pakistan's efforts to obtain tritium during the 1980s (more yield for less weight) and considering that it has had 15 years in which to improve its nuclear design argues that Pakistan has had sufficient time in which to reduce the weight of its nuclear device and to package it for missile delivery. Based on the length of time Pakistan has been trying to develop a nuclear warhead capable of being delivered by ballistic missile, the U.S. intelligence community reportedly is now assessing that Pakistan has a nuclear missile delivery capability.55

Fig. 4-10
Fig. 4-10

As the next step in further developing its nuclear capability, Pakistan is working to increase its production capacity of fissile materials. (Follow link to Figure 4-10, a map of Pakistan's nuclear infrastructure.) One major step in this direction was taken in March 1996 when Pakistan, reportedly with Chinese assistance,56 completed the construction of a 40- to 50-MW heavy-water nuclear reactor near Khushab.57 Once in operation, this unsafeguarded reactor will provide Pakistan with its first source of plutonium. (All of Pakistan's current nuclear systems are based on uranium.) Apparently, U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Pakistan is having trouble increasing the range of its missiles. Plutonium would allow Pakistan to modernize its nuclear arsenal and produce smaller and lighter warheads, which would result in longer effective ranges for Pakistan's nuclear-armed missiles.58

As for its capability to produce U-235, Pakistan is in the process of increasing its production capacity for weapons-grade uranium. The famous 5000 ring-magnets that China transferred to Pakistan in 1995 apparently were intended to replace the magnets on Pakistan's current gas centrifuges with more powerful magnets, which would increase the productivity of the current enrichment program at the A.Q. Khan research labs in Kahuta.59 In addition, in 1987 U.S. intelligence sources reportedly claimed that satellite photography indicated that a uranium enrichment plant was being constructed at Golra. It is not clear from open source material if this facility was ever completed.60

As a parallel operation, it seem clear that Pakistan is trying to increase the level of sophistication of its nuclear and missile production. For example, in September 1996, Pakistan imported some diagnostic equipment and a specialized furnace (believed to be a vacuum furnace or "skull") from China. It is thought that the furnace is the type used to melt plutonium and uranium for nuclear weapon cores, titanium for missile nose cones, and other related critical parts.61 Similarly, in late 1995, a shipment of specialized laser equipment was intercepted in London's Heathrow airport as it was being transshipped between Sweden and Pakistan.62 The pursuit of these types of lasers, coupled with the purchase of diagnostic equipment and the specialized furnace, indicate that Pakistan is probably in the process of upgrading the precision and sophistication of its nuclear- and missile-manufacturing programs.

Clearly, unless some unforeseen event slows or stops the Pakistani nuclear program, Pakistan will increase its nuclear capacity considerably by 2010. Although the status of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is a very well-kept secret, presumably the sophistication of its nuclear devices should also improve during the intervening time frame as Pakistan acquires more advanced manufacturing technologies for its strategic-weapons programs.

Looking at the Missile Issue

Pakistan is at a clear disadvantage to India in terms of strategic depth. Much of Pakistan's major economic and population centers lie in a band between 50 and 250 kms from the Indian border. Conversely, India has much greater strategic depth, with its key western cities of New Delhi and Bombay located over 350 kms and 600 kms respectively from Pakistan's nearest border. Although Pakistan can air-deliver its strategic weapon systems, it has a strategic need to be able to hold India in a position of vulnerability similar to itself, especially since India is now producing the Prithvi (i.e., issues of power and assured deterrence). In short, Pakistan requires longer-ranged missiles than India needs to hold India's key assets as vulnerable as Pakistan's.

There are indicators that Pakistan's indigenously developed Hatf I and Hatf II missiles, which were based on U.S. Honest John technology, are less capable than desired by Pakistan's military leadership. The Hatf I is fairly crudely machined, has a range of perhaps 80 kms carrying a payload of 500 kgs, and is very inaccurate. As a result of its limitations, the Hatf I may have been fitted to deliver a chemical warhead.63 Similarly, the Hatf II, reportedly tested in 1989, was apparently unable to achieve the 300 km range that Pakistan's military leadership expected. It is doubtful that Pakistan's indigenous Hatf II missile has been put into mass production. In fact, a number of reputable analysts believe that Pakistan's original model of the Hatf II may never be fielded.64 It is also likely that it was Pakistan's inability to field an effective Hatf II that led to the transfer of China's M-11 ballistic missile system to Islamabad.

The single-stage M-11 (CSS-7) was first test-fired by China in 1990; it entered service with the Chinese military in 1992.65 The missile was originally designed as a replacement for the Scud B and was aimed primarily at the export market. Since its advent, there has been an ongoing public dispute between China and the United States regarding the exportability of the M-11 under the guidelines of the MTCR. China claims it has a range of just under 300 kms when carrying a 500 kg warhead, which makes it MTCR compliant. Early reports of the M-11's capabilities listed it as having a throwweight of 800 kgs at 300 kms range, which would put it above the MTCR limits. Some U.S. analysts believe China artificially listed its throwweight at 500 kgs to avoid the MTCR issue.

Regardless of the disagreement over the M-11's ability to comply with MTCR guidelines, the M-11 has been exported to Pakistan; its packing boxes were first reported to have been seen there in 1991.66 Since then, several subsequent reports of M-11 shipments into the country have been reported. Most reports now claim that more than 30 M-11s are located at Sargodha Air Force Base,67 just west of Lahore;68 while Indian sources put the figure higher with at least one report claiming that a total of 84 M-11s have been delivered to Pakistan.69 Although the M-11s provide Pakistan with a limited capability against India, the single-stage system does not have the range needed to threaten India's high-value targets.

Consequently, as a national priority, Pakistan is pursuing the development of a medium-range missile system. Using blueprints and equipment supplied by China, Pakistan is building a medium-range missile factory in a Fatehgarh (just to the south of Islamabad).70 This complex, called the National Defense Complex, reportedly is being staffed by specialists from all of the related missile and nuclear developmental organizations in Pakistan, supplemented by at least 10 full-time Chinese technicians who work at the facility, six on missile guidance and control and four on solid-fuel production.71 It is believed that other Chinese specialists visit the plant as needed to provide technical assistance.72

There is a great deal of confusion regarding Pakistan's missile production plans. A number of the open source reports claim that Pakistan is planning on building a 600-1000 km range Hatf III missile that is based on M-11 technology.73 Other sources assess that the Hatf II is essentially an M-11 and that the Hatf III will be based on the Chinese M-9 (DF-15) missile.74 If the latter claim should prove correct, then the Pakistani missile factory might produce a couple of different models of M-family missiles. Based on what is known, and considering the fact that Pakistan is sensitive to perceived technological failures, it is likely that Pakistan will field a missile that it calls the Hatf II as well as a different system known as the Hatf III. While the situation is still confused, it seems likely that at least one of these missiles may have a range of 600 kms or greater.

It is also clear that Pakistan has aspirations of developing even longer-ranged systems in the future. It established, with U.S. assistance, a civilian space research organization (SUPARCO) in 1961.75 This organization "has developed two rockets: Shahpar, a seven-meter solid fuel two-stage rocket that can carry 55 kgs to an altitude of 450 kms, and the Rakhnum, which can lift 38 kgs to a distance of 100 kms. SUPARCO has also tried to develop a small satellite launcher, but the project has been stalled for want of technology."76 Clearly, Pakistan's civil program is far behind that of India's. However, there is an ongoing investigation in India that indicates that Pakistan may have been successful in penetrating the ISRO in 1994, obtaining documents and plans related to India's polar space launch vehicle (PSLV).77 If so, Pakistan could have the information needed to move its long-range missile program ahead fairly rapidly if it could obtain the technology base needed to apply the information gained.

Pakistan as a Proliferator

Pakistan is suspected of providing assistance to both the Iraqi and Iranian nuclear programs. In addition, it has long been rumored that Saudi Arabia and Libya have helped finance the Pakistani program. It so, the question becomes: what have these two countries received in return? Of similar concern, Pakistan has become a major terminal for illegally smuggled goods from the former Soviet Union. This trade reportedly includes arms and nuclear materials.

Iraq. In the case of Iraq, U.N. inspectors working to dismantle the Iraqi nuclear program after Desert Storm reportedly discovered diagrams of the Iraqi nuclear weapon that were very similar to the drawings Pakistan received from China.78 The link between Iraq and Pakistan appears to have been Dr. Khan, the director of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. According to a German report, citing Western intelligence services as its source, Dr. A.Q. Khan is credited as being the mastermind behind the Iraqi bomb.79 Thus, the flow of sensitive technology from Pakistan west seems probable in the case of Iraq.80

Iran. A driving force behind the establishment of a Pakistani nuclear assistance program to Iran seems to have been General Beg (discussed earlier). Based on the special report that President Clinton provided to President Yeltsin in May 1995, Pakistan is believed to have provided Iran with the list of foreign companies which it used to obtain the infrastructure and weapon components necessary for a nuclear weapons program (Iran has approached the same suppliers as Pakistan used).81 This cooperation may have been further spurred by a reported December 1992 Iranian offer to pay Pakistan $3.5 billion if it would share its nuclear know-how. This offer was repeated to Prime Minister Bhutto in December 1995.82 Based on all of the indications of Pakistani nuclear assistance to Iran, Iran's December 1992 offer may have been accepted.

The U.S. briefing to Yeltsin in May 1995 made the claim that Pakistan was believed to have halted all nuclear cooperation with Iran once Bhutto became Prime Minister (December 1993).83 Curious, however, is the report that Prince Turki ibn Faycal, head of Saudi Arabia's secret services, visited Prime Minister Bhutto in March 1995 to try to persuade her to halt Pakistani contacts with Iran on nuclear activities.84 At this time, it is unclear if Pakistan and Iran are continuing to cooperate on nuclear development. However, in May 1995, General Beg claimed that Pakistan had canceled 11 production agreements with Iran under U.S. pressure.85 If true, this may help to explain the claim that Iran again offered Pakistan $3.5 billion in December 1995 to share nuclear know-how (cited above). Considering the fragmented nature of Pakistan's society and the level of corruption that governs behavior in that country, it would not be surprising to learn that some cooperative efforts are still continuing regardless of the official position on the issue. However, with the growing competition between these two countries over Afghanistan and Central Asia, it seems likely that any cooperation now taking place is probably doing so at a reduced level from that of the early 1990s. This is not to say that the level of cooperation might not increase in the future as the underlying political situation changes.

FSU/Afghanistan Smuggling. The northern territories along Afghanistan's border are essentially ungoverned. Pakistani checkpoints have been established at points that separate the northern tribal territories from Pakistan proper.86 Consequently, the areas bordering Afghanistan have become a smuggler's paradise with the border town of Peshawar acting as the hub of the activity. Materials originating in the FSU and Afghanistan are transported to these territories. Included in this traffic are Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, opium, nuclear weapon components, missile parts, antiquities, strategic steel alloy, and radioactive materials purported to be weapons-grade fissile material. These constitute but a few examples of the types of items being offered for sale in this uncontrolled region.87 Much of the nuclear materials being offered is believed to be rubbish, but occasionally included in the rubbish are some high-quality materials and components that are of great value.

Shoppers are out in force. Iranian majors and colonels are said to be walking around Peshawar with Samsonite suitcases full of $100 bills buying selected nuclear-related materials.88 They are joined by Indians and Pakistanis who are also shopping for similar deals.89 Complicating this scene are dealers who have also moved into the region that may be acquiring items on consignment or for resale. In short, Peshawar and its neighboring towns are becoming major clearinghouses for the world's nuclear arms bazaar.90

In essence, Pakistan has been a significant source of proliferation. It likely provided assistance to both Iran's and Iraq's nuclear programs, and it may also be providing help to other would-be proliferators. In addition, with the smuggled items coming out of the FSU now being concentrated in northern Pakistan, a second source of proliferation potential is being established.

With regard to its missile capabilities, Pakistan is, with foreign assistance, gradually developing a missile technology base. Of equal concern, however, is the potential that Pakistan could use the extensive technology collection organization that it has established globally to garner advanced missile design secrets. The pending case in India with reference to the alleged spying scandal that may have led to the transfer of PSLV design information is a case in point. Based on Pakistan's apparent past record of transferring nuclear information, clearly there is a possibility that it could also pass on missile design information to other states that are currently in a better position to capitalize on that type of data. Iran, Iraq, China, and other similar states are all possible candidates.

In short, Pakistan is well on its way to becoming a nuclear power of some limited importance. How far it will be able to develop its missile capabilities by 2010 is highly dependent on the foreign assistance and technology flow it receives from abroad. It appears likely that Pakistan will have a significant regional missile capability by 2010, but it also seems doubtful that it would be able to field an ICBM by that date. What may be more worrisome is the possibility that Pakistan could provide ICBM-related information to other states that are more able to put that information into use by 2010 or shortly thereafter.


1 Iftikhar H. Malik, "The State and Civil Society in Pakistan," Asian Survey, Vol. XXXVI, No. 7, July 1996, pp. 684-85.

2 Malik, "The State and Civil Society in Pakistan," op. cit., p. 677.

3 Saeed Shafqat, "Pakistan Under Benazir Bhutto," Asian Survey, Vol. XXXVI, No. 7, July 1996, p. 670.

4 Malik, "The State and Civil Society in Pakistan," op. cit., p. 679.

5 Pakistan has not conducted a census since 1981. The landed elites that hold political power do not want to determine a new official distribution of the population as they believe it would lead to a reapportionment that would erode their political power base. See Marcus W. Brauchli, "A Rising Middle Class Clamors for Changes in Troubled Pakistan," The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 1995, pp. A1, A6.

6 Ibid., pp. 670-72.

7 For example, see Malik, "The State and Civil Society in Pakistan," op. cit., pp. 676-78.

8 For more complete insights into Pakistan's internal situation, see the series of articles published in Asian Survey, Vol. XXXVI, No. 7, July 1996, pp. 639-90; and Hersh, op. cit., pp. 60-65.

9 It should be noted that India and Pakistan signed an agreement in 1988 not to attack each other's nuclear facilities. To this end, on the first of January of each year, they exchange lists of nuclear installations and facilities. See "New Delhi, Islamabad Nuclear Lists Exchanged," Delhi All India Radio Network, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-001, January 1, 1996. There are also reports that India and Pakistan have become much more cautious in their actions toward each other since their confrontation in 1990, which was discussed in the section dealing with India.

10 For example, see the comments of Pakistan's former Foreign Minister in "Pakistan: Editorial Urges Continuation of Nuclear Program," Nawa-I-Waqt, translated in FBIS-NES-96-234, December 4, 1996.

11 Malik, op. cit. p. 79.

12 Robert B. Oakley, "Opportunities and Prospects for Cooperation on Asian Security Issues — Central and West Asia," The United States and India in the Post-Soviet World: Proceedings of the Third Indo-U.S. Strategic Symposium, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, 1993, p. 153; and Hersh, op. cit., p. 62.

13 Private conversation with a South Asian expert, U.S. Department of State, under conditions of nonattribution, November 1996.

14 Oakley, op. cit., p. 149.

15 Alex Spillius, "Neighbours Seek Gains in Divided Afghanistan," The Daily Telegraph, October 16, 1996, p. 17.

16 "Editorial Views Tehran's Mediation of Islamabad-Kabul Talks," The Nation, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-016, January 23, 1996.

17 Ibid.

18 Mariana Baabar, "Pakistan: Indian Delegations Hold Secret Meetings With Rabbani," The News, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-078, April 21, 1996; and "India: Pakistan Seen as Conduit for U.S. Influence in Afghanistan, Indian Express, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-207, October 21, 1996.

19 There are a number of unspecified reports of possible Indian assistance to the Rabbani government as, for example, "Afghanistan's Neighbours Carry On Playing the Great Game," Jane's Defence Weekly, December 9, 1995, p. 14; and Mariana Baabar, "Pakistan: Indian Delegations Hold Secret Meeting With Rabbani," Islamabad The News, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-078, April 21, 1996. One interesting Pakistani press report, "Pakistan: Indian Efforts to Gain Influence in Afghanistan Reported," The Muslim, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-059, March 23, 1996, cites specific details. It claims India provided selected military equipment assistance to the Rabbani government, positioned an assistance team of 60 Indians in Kabul, trained 28 Afghan pilots in India, assisted Afghanistan in making their Scud B missile systems operational, and detailed 9 Indian pilots to Kabul — pilots who reportedly took part in an air raid on December 9, 1995, in which 27 Talibans were killed.

20 See "Afghanistan: Taliban Official Claims India, Iran Supplying Alliance," Hong Kong AFP, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-214, November 4, 1996; and K.K. Katyal, "India: Invitation to Tehran Conference on Afghanistan Viewed," The Hindu, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-211, October 29, 1996.

21 For examples, see "U.S. Makes Bad Call On Afghanistan," Intelligence Digest, October 4, 1996; "India: Pakistan Seen As Conduit for U.S. Influence in Afghanistan, Indian Express, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-207, October 21, 1996.

22 "Afghanistan: La Route du Gaz," Le Figaro, September 30, 1996. According to this French article, President Clinton wrote the President of Turkmenistan to request his support for this contract. The construction contract was signed on October 21, 1995, six weeks after the Taliban secured Herat on September 5, 1995. Other sources claim the U.S. supported the Taliban as part of its Iranian containment strategy.

23 "U.S. Accuses Pakistan of Supporting Afghan Taliban," Asian Defence Journal, March 1996, p. 88.

24 For examples, see Ibid.; Spillius, "Neighbours Seek Gains in Divided Afghanistan," op. cit.; "Afghanistan's Neighbours Carry On Playing the Great Game," op. cit.; and "Commentary Accuses Pakistan of Interfering in Afghanistan," Delhi All India Radio Network, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-034, February 17, 1996. There is one unconfirmed report that Russian military sources claim that Taliban has 40,000 men, 200 tanks, and 20 combat aircraft. See "Big Dangers Ahead in Afghanistan," Intelligence Digest, October 11, 1996.

25 "Afghan Factions: Shifting Alliances in Continuing Civil War," The Washington Post, October 23, 1996, p. A29; and Anthony Davis, "Rabbani Drops National Army for Guerrilla War, Jane's Defence Weekly, November 27, 1996, p. 14.

26 "Afghanistan: Taliban Officials Accuses Russia, Iran, and India of Aggression," Hong Kong AFP, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-207, October 24, 1996.

27 Ibid.

28 For example, see Spillius, op. cit.

29 "Afghanistan: Taliban Official Claims India, Iran Supplying Alliance," op. cit.; and "Big Dangers Ahead in Afghanistan," Intelligence Digest, October 11, 1996.

30 For example, see "Pakistani Envoy to Tehran Discusses Afghan Problems," Tehran Times, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-013, January 10, 1996.

31 "The Taleban and the Arab Afghans," The Intelligence Digest, October 25, 1996.

32 For example, the Iranian-backed Afghan Shiite leader died while in Taliban custody. "South Asia: Nuclear Report Adds to South Asian Jitters," op. cit.

33 "U.S. Makes Bad Call On Afghanistan," op. cit.

34 Ibid.

35 Hersh, op. cit., p. 59.

36 "Early Warnings on Pakistan," Middle East Defense News, October 12, 1992.

37 Kathleen C. Bailey, Doomsday Weapons in the Hands of Many (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1991) p. 24.

38 For examples, see Ibid.; "Early Warnings on Pakistan," op. cit.; Hersh, op. cit., p. 57; and Marcus Warren, "Pakistan's Nuclear Program at a Screwdriver Level," The Washington Times, February 20, 1996, p. A1.

39 For examples, see Bailey, op. cit., p. 25; Rai Singh, "Indian Commentary Views Alleged Nuclear Smuggling by Pakistan," All India Radio General Overseas Service, transcribed in FBIS-TAC-96-003, February 6, 1996; and E.A. Wayne, "Bhutto Denies Pakistan Has Nuclear Weapons," The Christian Science Monitor, June 9, 1989, p. 7.

40 Wayne, "Bhutto Denies Pakistan Has Nuclear Weapons," op. cit., p. 7; and "Can the U.S. Rely On China's Export Promises," Risk, May 1996, p. 8. The first report claims the tritium came from Germany, the second states that China provided the tritium according to German officials.

41 Bailey, op. cit., p. 25; and Andrew Koch, "Nuclear Testing in South Asia and the CTBT," The Nonproliferation Review, Spring/Summer 1996, p. 102 (end note 5).

42 "Early Warnings on Pakistan," op. cit.

43 Alan Cooperman and Kyrill Belianinov, "Moonlighting by Modem in Russia," U.S. News and World Report, April 17, 1995, p. 45.

44 Presentation by a noted nonproliferation expert, February 29, 1996. The information was provided on a nonattribution basis.

45 Ali Abbas Rizvi, op, cit., p. 22; "Can the U.S. Rely On China's Export Promises," Risk, op. cit., p. 8; and private conversation with Leonard Spector, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, February 29, 1996. The date that China transferred the nuclear design plans to Pakistan is usually cited as occurring during the early 1980s. Leonard Spector's research indicates the date was around 1982. The article in Risk claims that U.S. intelligence discovered in 1983 that China had transferred the design to Pakistan. The Risk article also states that "American agents even learned the catalog numbers of some of the weapon's parts and produced a model of the bomb to show Pakistani diplomats."

46 Ian Brodie, "Spies Proved China Helped Pakistan Get Nuclear Bomb," The Times, April 2, 1996, p. 14. According to this report, U.S. nuclear specialists constructed a model of the Pakistani bomb based on Khan's blueprints; the model was shown to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

47 Pravin Sawhney, "Standing Alone: India's Nuclear Imperative," Jane's International Defense Review," November 1996, p. 27.

48 Nuclear Data Book, Vol. V, op. cit., p. 420.

49 Ibid.

50 Ibid., p. 333.

51 Hoagland, "Briefing Yeltsin on Iran," op. cit., p. A23. It has become common for U.S. diplomats to refer to clandestine nuclear weapon capabilities has being but "a few turns of a screwdriver" away from a nuclear weapon. In reality, that claim means nothing. For safety reasons, early generation nuclear weapons routinely are stored in two or three separate canisters that contain various components of the weapon. Nuclear assembly teams put the components together just before the weapon is to be mated with its delivery system. If having the weapon assembled is a criterion for being a nuclear-armed power, the United States spent a number of years after World War II being just "a few turns of a screwdriver" away from having a nuclear weapon.

52 Hersh, op. cit., p. 59; and Rehul Bedi, "U.S. Hesitancy Over Bomb Regarded as Confirmation," South China Morning Post, March 8, 1996, p. 15.

53 Bedi, op. cit.

54 "Pakistan: Renowned Nuclear Scientist Comments on Nuclear Program," Nawa-I-Waqt, translated in FBIS-NES-96-151, August 1, 1996

55 R. Jeffrey Smith, " Pakistan Has A-Weapons For Missiles, U.S. Fears," The Washington Post, June 14, 1996, pp. A1, A12. Both India's and Pakistan's nuclear programs have the reputation for being very secretive. It seems doubtful that the details of these programs are completely known by U.S. intelligence agencies.

56 Bill Gertz, "China Aids Pakistani Plutonium Plant," The Washington Times, April 3, 1996, p. A4.

57 Ashraf Mumtaz, "Pakistan: First Indigenously Developed Nuclear Reactor Completed," Dawn, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-048, March 7, 1996. It should be noted that many other sources claim the size of this reactor as being 40 MWs. A couple of sources cite higher figures — up to 100 MWs. For example, see Sawhney, "Standing Alone, India's Nuclear Imperative," op. cit. p. 27.

58 Gertz, "China Aids Pakistani Plutonium Plant," op. cit.

59 Sawhney, "Standing Alone, India's Nuclear Imperative," op. cit. p. 27; and Bill Gertz, "Beijing Flouts Nuke-Sales Ban," The Washington Times, October 9, 1996, pp. A1, A9. There is some uncertainty on the intended use of the magnets. Some articles asset that the magnets were intended to upgrade the current system, one alleges the new magnets were to replace worn-out magnets, another claims that the magnets could be used to increase the number of centrifuges in the cascade. Most assessments seem to lean in favor of an upgrade to the productivity of the system by using more powerful magnets.

60 Koch, "Nuclear Testing in South Asia and the CTBT," op. cit., p. 102 (end note 5).

61 Gertz, "Beijing Flouts Nuke-Sales Ban," p. A9.

62 Warren, "Pakistan's Nuclear Program at a Screwdriver Level," op. cit.

63 For an example, see Aabha Dixit, "India: Article Views Pakistan's Missile Program as Serious Threat," Calcutta The Telegraph, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-173, September 2, 1996.

64 Pravin Sawhney, "India: Chinese Missile Technology Transfer Alleged," The Asian Age, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-168, August 27, 1996.

65 Danny Lee, "Ideal Weapon for Surprise Attack," Singapore, The Straits Times, June 14, 1996, p. 19. 66 Presentation by a noted nonproliferation expert, February 29, 1996. The information was provided on a nonattribution basis.

67 "Missile Story Old Hat," Intelligence Newsletter, July 13, 1995; and Smith, Pakistan Has A-Weapons For Missiles, U.S. Fears," op. cit., p. 12.

68 R. Jeffrey Smith, "Pakistan Is Building Missile Plant, U.S. Says," The Washington Post, August 26, 1996, p. 23.

69 Ranjit Kumar, "India: Article Views Need for Russian Antimissile System," Navbharat Times, translated in FBIS-TAC-96-004, February 18, 1996. Many Indian articles make exaggerated claims regarding Pakistan's missile capabilities. On the other hand, the recurring reports of new shipments of M-11s into Pakistan would indicate that the number of systems now in country is probably above the 30 commonly mentioned in press reports. Based on a survey of estimates, it is likely that Pakistan now has 38-58 M-11s.

70 Smith, "Pakistan Is Building Missile Plant, U.S. Says," op. cit.

71 "China and Pakistan's Missiles," Foreign Report, Jane's Information Group, May 2, 1996, p. 2.

72 Ibid., p. 3.

73 For example, see Ibid.; and Smith, "Pakistan Is Building Missile Plant, U.S. Says," op. cit.

74 For example, see "Indian Claims on Pak Hi-Tech Missile Factory," Intelligence Digest, June 1996; Atul Aneja, "India: Sources Report China, Pakistan Working on New Missile, The Hindu, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-180, September 13, 1996; Pravin Sawhney, "India: Chinese Missile Technology Transfer Alleged," Delhi, The Asian Age, transcribed in FBIS-NES-96-168, August 27, 1996; and Dixit, "India: Article Views Pakistan's Missile Program as Serious Threat," op. cit. The Nonproliferation Review has long shown the Half III to have almost the same weight and characteristics as the Chinese M-9. If Pakistan is building an M-9 missile, it will result in a diplomatic firestorm when it is unveiled. If U.S. intelligence agencies should suspect that a Pakistani version of an M-9 is in the works, they probably would not reveal that suspicion until they could prove the allegation. At the same time, it should be remembered that the M-11 was originally designed as a two stage missile with a 1000 km range. Logistically, it would make sense to build the Hatf II (M-11) as a single-stage system that can be stacked with a second-stage to form the Hatf III.

75 Dixit, "India: Article Views Pakistan's Missile Program as Serious Threat," op. cit.

76 Ibid.

77 "India With Pakistan, 6/19/96," The Nonproliferation Review, Fall 1996, p. 159.

78 Risk, op. cit., May 1996, p. 8.

79 Thomas Scheuer, "Pakistani Called Mastermind of Iraqi Nuclear Program," Focus, translated in FBIS-TAC-96-003, January 29, 1996.

80 According to Rizvi, "The Nuclear Bomb and Security of South Asia," op. cit., p. 22, the purported nuclear weapon blueprints discovered by U.N. inspectors in Iraq revealed a bomb design so unstable that the resulting weapon could have detonated on the workbench. First generation nuclear weapons are not noted for their safety devices.

81 Jim Hoagland, "Briefing Yeltsin on Iran," The Washington Post, May 17, 1995, p. A23.

82 "Iran with Pakistan, 12/21/95," The Nonproliferation Review, Fall 1996, p. 113.

83 Hoagland, "Briefing Yeltsin on Iran," op. cit.

84 "Pakistan with Iran and Saudi Arabia, 3/95," The Nonproliferation Review, Fall 1995, p. 116.

85 "Pakistan with Iran, 5/3/95," The Nonproliferation Review, Fall 1995, p. 168. It was not clear how many of the agreements included WMD or missile technologies.

86 Tim McGirk, "A Year of Looting Dangerously," London, The Independent on Sunday, March 24, 1996, pp. 4-8.

87 Ibid.

88 Ibid. Considering the fact that the United States adopted the new Franklin hundred dollar bill, partially due to Iranian high quality counterfeiting of standard $100 bills, it may be that Iran is buying nuclear material for the price of paper and printing ink.

89 Ibid.

90 "China, with Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakstan, Pakistan, Russia, and Turkmenistan, 1/96" The Nonproliferation Review, Fall 1996, p. 117.