Thursday, August 27, 2015

In Cleveland, Hillary Clinton blasts GOP views on women's issues

The weekly firestorm in the 2016 presidential campaign was lit Thursday in Ohio by Hillary Clinton when she likened GOP candidates’ views on women to those of terrorists.
Ohio Right to Life’s Michael Gonidakis tweeted: “If HRC can’t tell difference b/t pro-life supporters & murderous rapists in ISIS it’s no wonder she messed up Benghazi so badly!”
Republican National Committee press secretary Allison Moore called for an immediate apology “for her inflammatory rhetoric.” Moore said, “For Hillary Clinton to equate her political opponents to terrorists is a new low for her flailing campaign.”
While saying “this election can’t be a race to the bottom” in her first official Ohio campaign speech this year, Clinton took shots at Ohio Gov. John Kasich as well as other GOP presidential hopefuls for their anti-abortion stances and calls to defund Planned Parenthood.
“I would like these Republican candidates to look the mom in the eye who caught her breast cancer early because she was able to get a screening for cancer, or the teenager who didn’t get pregnant because she had access to contraception, or anyone who’s ever been protected by an HIV test,” Clinton told several hundred supporters at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
“Now, extreme views about women? We expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world. But it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be president of the United States.”
Clinton’s swipe at Kasich — she didn’t mention him by name — came in response to the 2013 state budget bill he signed that included a ban on state-funded rape-crisis centers counseling women about abortion, although she characterized it a bit differently.
“Hillary Clinton’s trail of scandal is decades long and only continues to worsen,” said the Kasich campaign in a statement. “Not surprising she thinks the only way for her to compete in Ohio or elsewhere is to launch negative attacks against John Kasich.”
Otherwise, Clinton’s talk on a cool, partly sunny day stuck close to her standard stump speech. The former secretary of state never mentioned the email controversy dogging her campaign. She is under fire for using her personal email server instead of the State Department’s; investigators are determining whether that put classified information at risk. The issue is prompting Vice President Joe Biden to consider entering the Democratic race.
A day after the shooting deaths of two TV journalists in Virginia, Clinton said she would tackle the gun issue even though past attempts have fallen short.
“I’m not going to sit by while more good people die,” she said.
“I strongly believe we’ve got to have common-sense reforms to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals, the violently unstable, domestic abusers and even terrorists, who find it pretty easy in our country to get ahold of a weapon if they so choose,” she said. “It’s time to really come to grips with this.”
She cited the case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer nine months ago while playing with a pellet gun.
“He should be alive,” Clinton said, calling for a frank national discussion on the issues of race, justice and guns. “We do have to stand up and say loudly and clearly, black lives matter.”
The former first lady also took a new tack in saying both her husband and Barack Obama inherited ailing national economies from their GOP predecessors.
“I don’t think President Obama gets the credit he deserves for pulling us out of that ditch,” she said.
But Clinton added, “I’m not running for President Obama’s third term. I’m not running my husband’s third term. I’m running for my first term.”
Her visit comes as a new national poll shows that Biden does slightly better in prospective matchups against top GOP presidential candidates.
For example, Clinton tops Rubio by 1 point, Bush by 2 points and billionaire Donald Trump by 4. Biden beats all three but by margins of 3, 6 and 8 points respectively. The poll’s margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
And when asked an open-ended question about the first word that comes to mind for Clinton, “liar” is far and away the leader, followed by “dishonest” and “untrustworthy.” In a separate query, barely a third said she is honest and trustworthy.

In all, 51 percent in the Quinnipiac University Poll said they viewed Clinton unfavorably, compared to 39 percent with a favorable view. Perhaps more politically significant, 61 percent of independent voters are in the “unfavorable” column, just 28 percent are part of the “favorable” group. Among various demographic groups, only black and Hispanic voters have a favorable opinion of her.

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The government of Afghanistan seems weirdly obsessed with this Facebook page


The Afghan government has a new enemy.
It’s not another faction of the Taliban emerging in yet another province. It’s not another warlord seeking to undermine central authority. It’s not a criminal group seeking to kidnap more foreigners or a new battalion of suicide bombers seeking to shatter the capital.
The latest threat is a Facebook page.
It’s called Kabul Taxi – and the government is determined to revoke its driving license.
In recent days, Afghanistan’s spy agency has been hunting for the writer of the satirical page, which pokes fun at virtually every powerful figure in the government. It has summoned at least six journalists for questioning, and are on the lookout for more, according to media watchdog groups.
The chase for the country’s most infamous “taxi driver” has become the talk of the capital’s diplomatic and political circles. It has also spawned outrage from journalists’ rights organizations, which are concerned that freedom of speech and the media could be at stake here.
Kabul Taxi, who told the Washington Post last month that he was a man, writes in the local Dari language about picking up powerful Afghan politicians and bureaucrats in his fictional taxi. In his back seats, his “fares” discusses politics, their rivalries, and their ambitions. Through these conversations, Kabul Taxi scathingly tears into the nation’s rampant corruption, political dysfunction and the sinking economy.
He has targeted President Ashraf Ghani as well as his partner in the power-sharing government, Abdullah Abdullah. He has also gone after former President Hamid Karzai. But recently Kabul Taxi decided to mock Hanif Atmar, Ghani’s influential national security adviser, about the large size of his staff and their responsibilities. They were all named in the Facebook posting.
That made Atmar an unhappy customer.
Within days, the National Directorate of Security or NDS, which essentially reports to Atmar, hauled in the journalists it suspected of being behind Kabul Taxi. They were all released. But the agency remains determined to shut its operator down.
In a statement, the National Security Council, which Atmar heads, declared that Kabul Taxi had “exposed” state secrets by naming members of the council’s staff “which is against Afghanistan’s law and will cause serious security threats.”
In the same statement, the council also said that “freedom of speech and the operation of the media is a big achievement of the people and government of Afghanistan,” and that it was committed to guarding freedom of expression.
Journalist watchdog groups, though, are not convinced. The Afghan National Journalists Union noted that the names of the NSC staff were published on the council’s own Facebook Page, along with their photos.
On Thursday, Reporters Without Borders, condemned the interrogation of the journalists by the NDC, which the media watchdog said took place in the presence of a “senior National Security Council representative during the past week.” Those questions, the group said, included Zaki Daryaie, the editor of the daily Etilaatroz and Javad Naji, a journalist well-known on social media networks.
Afghanistan ranked 122th out of 180 countries in the group’s 2015 press freedom index.
"The attempt by the NSC and in particular by Mr. Hanif Atmar – National Security Advisor – should be prevented,” Mujib Khelwatgar, the head of Nai, a U.S-funded media development institute and watchdog, told the local Tolo News network. “Otherwise the past 14 years achievements in freedom of speech in Afghanistan will be deterred.”
The attempt to shut down Kabul Taxi has only made the Facebook page more popular. Since the NSC crackdown, the number of fans that have “liked” the page has doubled to 53,000.
And many fans are angry at the government, saying they should focus their energies on tackling the country’s myriad problems – not take down a page that many feel reflects the collective angst of the country.
“Curse this Security Council that we have,” wrote one fan. “Instead of chasing the driver of this taxi, they should chase truck suicide bomber that massacre people.”
“Be careful Driver,” wrote another fan. “If you continue the way you drive now, they will block the roads of democracy to you.”

U.S. designates Aziz Haqqani as ‘global terrorist’

Abdul Aziz Haqqani, a top leader of Pakistan-based dreaded Haqqani network, has been named as a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’ by the United States for his involvement in planning and carrying out attacks against Afghanistan.
Following his inclusion in the ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’ list, Aziz Haqqani comes under the ambit of U.S. sanctions, which prohibits any U.S. national from maintaining any relationship with him and seizure of all his assets, if any, in the U.S.
Aziz Haqqani assumed the leadership role of the al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network after the death of his brother Badruddin Haqqani.
In August last year, the U.S. had announced a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the location of Aziz Haqqani.
Network’s senior member

Aziz Haqqani is a senior member of the Haqqani Network and brother of Haqqani Network leader Sirajuddin Haqqani.
For several years, he has been involved in planning and carrying out improvised explosive device (IED) attacks against Afghan government targets, and assumed responsibility for all major Haqqani network attacks after the death of his brother, Badruddin Haqqani, the State Department said.
The Department of State designated the Haqqani Network as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in September 2012.
Attacks on U.S., Indian interests
The Haqqani Network has planned and carried out a number of significant kidnappings and attacks against U.S. interests in Afghanistan, as well as Afghan government and civilian targets.
The group is also blamed for several deadly attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul that killed 58 people.
In June this year, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency has arrested a group of Haqqani network militants who plotted terror attack from Pakistan on a popular guest house here that killed 14 people, including four Indians.
The terrorists had attacked the guest house thinking Indian Ambassador Amar Sinha was present in the compound.

Why neither India nor Pakistan won the 1965 war

By Shivam Vij 

Both India and Pakistan say they won the 1965 war they fought against each other. The truth of the matter is, however, both sides actually lost the war, writes Shivam Vij.
Grenze zwischen Indien und Kaschmir Soldaten
India will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its 1965 war with Pakistan from August 28 to September 22. (Pictured above: Indian soldiers patrol the Line of Control). A lot of nationalism will be on display, including a “carnival.” India and Pakistan both claim to have won that war. for its part, Pakistan celebrates September 6 as Defense of Pakistan Day.
Here is what happened in 1965. Pakistan launched a secret mission to send 30,000 armed men into Indian-administered Kashmir so as to incite an insurgency and liberate Kashmir from India. This was known as Operation Gibraltar. By the time Indian forces realized this had happened, the fighters had reached the outskirts of Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir.
As the Indian military offensive seemed to gain success, the Indian Army captured the Haji Pir pass inside Pakistan-administered Kashmir. To counter this, the Pakistani Army launched an attack in Akhnoor in Jammu. Suffering losses here, India called its air force. The escalation of the war here made India open a front in Wagah in Punjab - to the surprise of the Pakistanis. The Pakistanis repelled this attack well. Eventually, the international community forced a ceasefire and the two countries signed an agreement in Tashkent, whereby both returned to pre-1965 territorial positions.
Since the Indian attack across Wagah threatened Lahore and Sialkot, Pakistanis say the Indians lost the war and Pakistan won. Since Pakistan's plan to liberate Kashmir failed, and the year ended with Pakistan getting not a single inch of new territory, the Indians say they won.
Independent historians, however, are clear that it was a military stalemate and neither side won. Not every match has a winner or a loser, some end in a draw. It is perhaps apt that both India and Pakistan say they won this war, showing up each other's nationalism for what it is.
India's own official history of the war, published only two years ago, is scathing in its review of how poorly the Indian army and air force performed. The Indian armed forces are now rewriting the history to show that it was a clear victory. Pakistan does not even pretend that it provoked the war by trying to liberate Kashmir.
It is one thing to commemorate the soldiers who lost their lives, another to celebrate a war ‘victory'. Truth is, both countries lost a lot in that war. Firstly, the war made Kashmir an intractable issue forever. The Pakistanis tried to liberate Jammu & Kashmir in 1948 in a similar way. That got them a chunk of the territory but not the prized Kashmir Valley itself. India took the issue to the United Nations. The 1965 war should also be read as a failure of the UN, and of diplomatic negotiations between India and Pakistan. If war is a continuation of politics, diplomacy is war by other means.
The 1965 war is when Kashmir takes an irreversible turn for the worse. On the outskirts of Srinagar, to make sure that no Pakistani fighters were hiding in an area, an entire colony was set on fire by Indian forces. I have been to that place, and people remember that even today, blaming India for being insensitive. The war showed it was not going to be easy for Pakistan to liberate Kashmir militarily, and though the Kashmiris didn't rise up with the Pakistani fighters, it exacerbated a conflict between India's security forces and the locals in Kashmir.
The most important consequence of the 1965 war was that, for the first time, the India-Pakistan border became a Berlin Wall of sorts. Until 1965, visas were easy, Indian and Pakistani films were screened in theaters across the border, trade ties were normal, books and journals went across easily. India–Pakistan relations as we know them today, were formed more by 1965 than by the 1948 war, or arguably, by Partition itself. In 1947, there were people who left their homes to go and live in the other country, thinking they could always return. 1965 ended that dream.
It is said that 1965 was the first real war between the two countries. Six year later, India helped East Pakistan secede from Pakistan and become Bangladesh. The Indian threat to Lahore made Pakistanis feel an existential threat from India, and convinced Indians that Pakistan was going to take Kashmir one way or another. It was 1965 that set in stone a feeling of permanent hostility.
It is worrisome when countries celebrate wars. India has to only look at Pakistan to see what the militarization of public discourse does to a society.
For these reasons, while India celebrates the 1965 war victory, I will mourn the 50th anniversary of the conflict.

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There was outrage on the streets of Peshawar over a 20 fold hike in electricity rates.

Pakistani Christian Flood Victims Forced to Renounce Jesus Christ, Become Slaves to Muslims or Die


As torrential flooding spanned across various regions of Pakistan this summer and washed away thousands of homes, Christians in Kasur have received very little humanitarian aid and have been left to starve if they don't convert to Islam or become modern-day slaves in order to receive help from Muslims or the government.
Wilson Chowdhry, the president of the British Pakistani Christian Association, told The Christian Post that there are more than 60 Christian families in the western Pakistani region of Kasur that have lost their homes and all worldly possessions when the deluge hit this summer and washed their mud homes and everything inside them away.
While Muslims in the region have benefited from temporary shelter, clean water and food provided by Pakistani government agencies and Muslim charities, Christians have largely been without those bare necessities and medication needed to fight illnesses that can occur after flooding.
Chowdhry explained that some Muslim charities are giving Christians the option to convert to Islam and renounce Jesus if they want to receive help.
"We are are aware that this community has previously been offered aid from Muslim charities if they convert but they never accept conversion. They hold strong to their faith. They believe God will be their provider," Chowdhry explained. "These families have literally been struggling without food. Churches have opened up their doors but can't provide them much aid because the churches themselves in the region are struggling. We are talking about a very rural part of Pakistan."
Chowdhry added that as desperation started to get the best of the Christian population in Kasur, many Kasur Christians ended up signing bonded labor contracts in order to receive aid from Muslim landlords before BPCA arrived in the region.
"We have come in very late. We first went to Layyah and Gilgit, but if we could have arrived [in Kasur] seven days earlier, there could have been more lives that we potentially could have saved from this modern-day slavery," Chowdhry said. "Several families have already now signed contracts, which has now made them slaves for their Muslim landlords."
Although the flooding hit other regions like Layyah and Gilgit, Chowdhry stated that through "the grace of God," Christians in those areas were "unaffected" by the flooding. After BPCA officer Naveed Aziz visited Christians in Layyah and Gilgit, he then made his way to Kasur where he noticed that Christians in that region were not as fortunate.
"I was shocked at the immense devastation before me it was a lot to take in," Aziz said in a statement. "People are in real desperation and children are starving. I am surprised and shocked at the lack of help from Pakistani authorities."
As flooding has become a consistent problem for Pakistan over the last five years, Chowdhry said it "is not unusual" for the government to overlook helping the Christian communities.
"When it comes to flooding of Christian communities, the government seems to back away. Whereas with Muslim communities, they go straight in there, so do the Muslim charities," Chowdhry said. "Muslim charities depend upon their Muslim supporters for their donations to continue. So, helping Muslims helps support their particular group and the publicity that it generates for them."
The BPCA will aid 60 Christian families from two different Christian communities in Kasur. BPCA will provide basic food items like rice, flour and curry to help prevent those communities from starving. Additionally, the BPCA will provide medication for Dengue fever.
"I'm sure there is more, but these are the 60 families that we are going to be able to help. Anything larger scale than that, we are going to need to have a lot more resources," Chowdhry asserted. "They will literally be eating bread for the duration of the time that we are helping. That's what we can provide. It is a very basic but healthy enough to help them continue in the sustenance they need."
With donations from an unnamed African church, BPCA also plans to build three water pumps in the region to help get those communities access to fresh drinking water.
BPCA would love to provide more for the distressed community in Kasur, but only has enough funds to provide what little the organization can. BPCA started a fundraising effort to help Christian flood victims, however, the effort has only raised the equivalent of $392.
"To be honest with you, Christians and their lack of support, its very frustrating," Chowdhry admitted. "We do what little we can with the donations that are coming through. We are giving very basic meals at the moment. Luckily, we have the funding for the pumps from another group. People really need to dig down."
"In Matthew 25:40, which goes something like the King will say, 'When you have done it for the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you are doing it me,'" Chowdhry recited. "People need to kind of reflect on that, as Christians we need to help the needy."
Chowdhry is also calling on the Pakistani government to stop ignoring the Christian community and put in place infrastructure that will help limit damage caused by flooding.
"Our dams are outdated. There needs to be more dams restored. They need to be larger-size dams, those that would work more efficiently," Chowdhry argued. "In tandem with this, there has to be a more coordinated approach toward the damn infrastructure with India."



The cat has finally come out of the bag, after arresting Shia leaders and rejecting Allama Ameen Shaheedi’s bail, Punjab government has proved its Shia enmity and has blocked Allama Ameen Shaheedi’s official Facebook page as a political revenge. On the other hand, thousands of Facebook pages promoting hatred and terrorism are still functioning.
Allama Ameen Shaheedi’s fan page had nine hundred thousand followers that included people belonging to both Shia and Sunni sects and it always spread the message of love, peace and brotherhood. Despite this, biased and prejudiced Punjab government has blocked Allama Ameen Shaheedi’s fan page.

Curse of Drug Addiction in Pakistan

Mahmood Ahmadzee
In Pakistan, youth is destroying them by getting addicted in different kinds of drugs. Drugs are a type of disease, which if a person develops, will never be able to leave easily.
According to statistics shared by credible sources, there are 4.7 million drug addicts in Pakistan. UNODC claims that 800,000 Pakistanis, aged between 15 to 64 years, use heroine and morphine. UNODC further claims that the majority of drug users in Pakistan are in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
Now, a question arises that who is responsible for drug usage in our country? Parents are to be blamed for drugs usage of their children as they have not properly looked after them. Youngsters often get addicted to drugs due to neglect of their parents. When young people sit in gatherings of older people then it’s very likely that they can get addicted to drugs. Secondly youngsters themselves are also responsible as they know about the negative affects of the drugs but still they can’t resist the temptation of using those drugs.
Drugs are transported to Pakistan through our neighboring country Afghanistan. There is a well developed supply chain that involves a lot of sellers, dealers and facilitators from Poppy fields in Afghanistan to streets of Quetta, Karachi and so on. The illicit drugs trade is not possible without involvement of government official at different levels.
The reason that government doesn’t take effective action against drugs business in Pakistan is that allegedly some government higher ups are involved in this practice. A lot of people are running drugs business with the patronage of someone in the government. Drug dealers pay share to their patrons in government in exchange for the protection that they get from them for their drugs business. There are also honest people within the government but when they take any action against anyone involved in drugs trade then they face victimization and get transferred to remote locations.
A lot of good work has been carried out by certain Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to raise awareness about drug addiction. Different workshops have been carried out and documentary films developed and telecasted in order to raise awareness among the youth so that they can get away from drugs usage. However these activities have showed limited progress on the ground due to unchecked supply of drugs in all over the country.
Unfortunately, there is an active and alive drugs culture in different well-reputed universities and colleges of Pakistan. Many people in educational institutes effectively are involved in sale of drugs to students and they are the ones who convince other students to use drugs for fun. What starts as fun ends up in life destroying drugs addiction for many students.
Drugs usage itself is a social curse but it further begets more social ills. Those people who are drug addicts need money to purchase drugs for themselves. There is a limit of money that they can get from their homes. In addition to that they have to make money by indulging in different criminal activities such as stealing, snatching and so on. Even drugs addicts have been found in killing people for money. Therefore, curse of drugs has stronger negative social footprint on the overall society.
Need of the hour is that parents must be vigilant in keeping an eye on their children round the clock. We know that drugs sale would not be controlled by the government so it’s up to the parents and members of the civil society to play their role in eradicating the drugs usage from the society.

PPP refutes terror-funding allegations, calls for transparent probe

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Thursday strongly refuted the impression it was involved in terror financing, saying the party had itself suffered huge losses in the fight against terrorism.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, the party’s senior vice president Sherry Rehman said the PPP has always been on the front-line in the war against terror.
“How can you say that PPP is involved in terror financing?”
Presenting her party’s stance after a federal anti-corruption court issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of PPP leaders Yousuf Raza Gilani and Makhdoom Amin Fahim, and Dr Asim Hussain's 90-day remand in Rangers custody, Rehman said:
“Yousuf Raza Gilani has always presented himself before the court even when he was holding the office of prime minister.”
PPP has always respected the judiciary and will not carry out action that hampers the current democratic setup in the country, she said.
Talking about the ongoing anti-corruption drive in Sindh, Rehman clarified that the “PPP has no objection whatsoever over the operation and will create no hurdle in its implementation”.
But she said “it looks like politics of revenge is being carried out with the PPP as the sole target.”
“We will keep alive our tradition of struggle for democracy and will face every atrocity,” said the PPP vice president.
She went on to raise concerns over the timing of the recent legal actions against PPP leaders, adding that these came at a time when “party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is carrying out a campaign to mobilise party workers.”
“The timing of all these actions is a bit of concern for us.”
“We are not afraid of the actions being carried out against us and are willing to present ourselves before the courts, but the investigations should be carried out in a transparent manner,” she stressed.
There are laws and regulations to try white-collar crimes and corruption, said Rehman, adding that “laws made to try terrorists should not be used to against political leaders.”
Meanwhile, PPP Secretary Information Qamar Zaman Kaira expressed his amazement over the developments, saying “the only party in Pakistan that took a stand against terrorists and sacrificed its leaders in the process is now being labelled as a terrorist party.”
“We are okay with the investigations carried out against out party members but any allegations related to terror financing are unacceptable,” he asserted.
On Wednesday, in what has been described as the first major action against the PPP leadership during the ongoing Karachi operation, Dr Asim Hussain, a former federal minister and close aide to former president Asif Ali Zardari, was taken into custody.
While the National Accountability Bureau denied having anything to do with Dr Hussain’s detention, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Khurshid Shah condemned the arrest.
The action came a day after Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif had directed the authorities to break the “evil nexus between terrorism, criminal mafias, violence and corruption” to achieve the objective of ensuring a peaceful and terror-free Karachi.

Report: Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal could become the world’s third-biggest

By Tim Craig

A new report by two American think tanks asserts that Pakistan may be building 20 nuclear warheads annually and could have the world’s third-largest nuclear stockpile within a decade.
The report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center concludes that Pakistan is rapidly expanding its nuclear capabilities because of fear of its archrival, India, also a nuclear power. The report, which will be released Thursday, says Pakistan is far outpacing India in the development of nuclear warheads.
Analysts estimate that Pakistan has about 120 nuclear warheads, while India has about 100.
In the coming years, the report states, Pakistan’s advantage could grow dramatically because it has a large stockpile of highly enriched uranium that could be used to quickly produce low-yield nuclear devices.
India has far larger stockpiles of plutonium, which is needed to produce high-yield warheads, than Pakistan does. But the report says India appears to be using most of its plutonium to produce domestic energy.
Pakistan could have at least 350 nuclear weapons within five to 10 years, the report concludes. Pakistan then would probably possess more nuclear weapons than any country except the United States and Russia, which each have thousands of the bombs.
“The growth path of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, enabled by existing infrastructure, goes well beyond the assurances of credible minimal deterrence provided by Pakistani officials and analysts after testing nuclear devices,” the report states.
Pakistani military officials were not available to comment on the report when it was made available to journalists Wednesday.
Western officials and analysts have struggled for years to get an accurate assessment of Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities. Several Pakistani analysts questioned the findings of the report, saying it is based on a faulty assumption that Pakistan is using all of its existing stockpiles of fissile material to make nuclear weapons.
Mansoor Ahmed, a nuclear expert at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, said he suspects that a more accurate assessment of Pakistan’s capability is that it can develop no more than 40 to 50 new warheads over the next several years.
Ahmed, however, doesn’t dispute that Pakistan’s military is seeking to expand its nuclear capabilities.
“This report is overblown,” said Ahmed, who was recently named a nuclear security fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. “However . . . what the world must understand is that nuclear weapons are part of Pakistan’s belief system. It’s a culture that has been built up over the years because [nuclear weapons] have provided a credible deterrence against external aggression.”
France has about 300 warheads and the United Kingdom has about 215, according to the Federation of American Scientists. China has approximately 250.
The report was written by Toby Dalton, co-director of the Carnegie Endowment’s Nuclear Policy Program, and Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Stimson Center.
Pakistan is believed to use plutonium as well as highly enriched uranium to create nuclear warheads. Dalton noted that Pakistan recently added a fourth plutonium production reactor at its Khushab Nuclear Complex.
“We assume, maybe correctly, maybe inaccurately, with the fuel coming out of the four reactors, they are processing it as rapidly as possible to get the plutonium out,” Dalton said.
India and Pakistan, which have fought three major wars, became declared nuclear powers in 1998. Since then, Western leaders have been increasingly alarmed about the potential for a nuclear exchange between the rivals.
India has adopted a no-first-use policy on nuclear weapons. Pakistani leaders have repeatedly declined to take a similar stance, saying they might be forced to resort to using the weapons should India’s larger army ever invade Pakistan.
India views nuclear weapons “as a political tool, a prestige item, not something you use on a battlefield,” Krepon said. In Pakistan, he said, nuclear weapons are seen as “things you have to be willing to use” to guarantee stability.
But Krepon and Dalton said there is still time for Pakistan to slow down the development of its nuclear arsenal. If it does, they said, the international community should consider what steps it can take to recognize it as a responsible nuclear state.