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IMF Sets Five Requirements For Pakistan To Give Up Its Nuclear Missile Development.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), after another round of discussions between the two events for a Staff Level Agreement (SLA), remained fruitless. This includes a 15% cut in the defence budget and military costs, as well as the cancellation of the Long-Range Nuclear Missile. The other requirements include an external or independent audit of Chinese loans and CPEC investments, financing from friendly nations, and assurances of political stability from opposition. If Islamabad Wants Cooperation…' IMF's 'Toughest' Conditions for Pak After 'Inconclusive' Talks Again 

Ishaq Dar, Pakistan’s finance minister, rejected to give up its long-range nuclear weapons, asserting that no one had the authority to limit Pakistan’s missile arsenal. Speaking in front of ambassadors from other countries at the special Senate session, Dar referred to the IMF’s “unusual” stance and said, “Nobody has the right to tell Pakistan what range of missiles it may have and what nuclear weapons it can have. We must own our means of deterrence.

The finance minister has publicly discussed the subject of the nuclear program for the very first time. According to a source in the finance ministry, several Pakistani officials had alleged in private talks that a Western nation had long demanded that the scheme be discontinued. According to the source, the IMF team constantly questioned the Pakistani team during the meetings about the defense budget cut, conversations with the opposition, the audit of Chinese financial support, and assistance from friendly nations, but the Pakistani side was unable to respond.  

Dar informed the House of Representatives that “the government has fulfilled all responsibilities and nobody is going to jeopardize Pakistan’s nuclear or missile programs.  To clear up any confusion regarding the nuclear program and its safety, the Prime Minister’s Office also released a statement immediately following Dar’s.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs are national treasures that the government fiercely guards. The software as a whole is completely safe, error-proof, and unaffected by any kind of pressure, it was said. The finance minister mentioned that certain friendly nations had pledged to help Pakistan bilaterally at the time of the last review in response to the remaining obstacles.  

Why is impoverished Pakistan focusing on its nuclear program at the worst possible time?

Although Pakistan may be experiencing its biggest economic crisis to date, recent statements from the prime minister and finance minister have made clear what the country’s goals are.The government of Pakistan is concentrating on its nuclear program rather than seeking a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to ease the problems of its average citizen.   

Pakistan’s finance minister, Ishaq Dar, said on Thursday that his government will not compromise anything on the nuclear or missile program of the country. So why did the Pakistani government come out on the matter, and what precisely are its nuclear weapons? We explore further and provide you with all the answers.

What nuclear options does Pakistan have?

 In 2022, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published a paper estimating Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to be between 100 and 120 bombs, all of which are air- and land-delivered. In contrast, India has between 90 and 110 nuclear weapons. At least four short-range and two medium-range ballistic missiles are part of Pakistan’s nuclear delivery systems, according to the US-based Arms Control Association. Additional missiles are being developed, including a 7,000-kilometer-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).Significance of Pakistan's Tactical Nuclear Weapons - Modern Diplomacy

According to projections provided by Pakistan, it will surpass France, China, and the United Kingdom to become the third-largest nuclear weapon state in 2025, trailing only the United States and Russia in terms of nuclear arsenal size. Others predict that even with its expansion, the arsenal will only be the sixth largest.

What about the economic situation in Pakistan?

It is troubling that Pakistan’s political elite is debating its nuclear program at a time when the average person finds it difficult to feed. Due to the collapse of the Pakistani rupee, the government of the nation increased the cost of fuel and diesel to Rs 272 and Rs 293 per liter, respectively. Food grains, vegetables, and fruits are at un-affordable prices as a result of the crisis, which has also caused a severe lack of medical supplies and medications.

The situation is so bad that the nation had a flour scarcity, and one person died in a stampede at Mirpurkhas, Sindh, at the location of subsidized flour stores. Food prices rose by 42.9% in January 2023 compared to 12.8% the previous month, forcing millions of people to go without regular meals.

Pakistan was in danger of going into default in February. According to the Asian Development Bank Institute, the country’s debt has become unsustainable. Fitch, a rating firm, too foresaw a dark future, lowered Pakistan’s rating to CCC, and warned that inflation may reach 33% in the next few months.

Pakistan has been battling the IMF for a $1.1 billion bailout amid this predicament. The IMF has imposed stringent requirements on the nation, including growing the low tax base, abolishing tax concessions for exporters, and increasing the cost of gasoline, electricity, and gas. By promising more funding, friendly nations like Saudi Arabia, China, and the UAE, as well as the World Bank, are encouraging Pakistan to retain a manageable quantity of US dollars in the bank.

Terrorism Using Radioactive Materials

When most Indian military strategists discuss nuclear terrorism, they almost always mean that a terrorist group will detonate a nuclear weapon. That is a remote possibility, as was already said. Given the conservatism instilled in Pakistan’s military under the Zia dictatorship, the Pakistani military may work with a terrorist group to launch an SSM or an airplane carrying a live nuclear weapon. Yet, as was already said, it would effectively entail involvement on the part of the Pakistani government.

Nevertheless, what is of tremendous relevance is the risk of radio logical terrorism. Theft of radioactive materials has occurred in countless instances all across the world. Luckily, none of these intentional or unintentional incidents involving radioactive material in the wrong hands has yet to cause a disaster.Accidental” launching of missile into Pakistan's air space - Modern Diplomacy

It would be more appropriate to examine unintentional radioactive disasters before talking about radiological terrorism. Petty criminals in Brazil entered a medical institution that had been abandoned and, among other things, took a canister from a radio teletherapy unit without understanding what was inside. The powdered isotope of Cesium 137, a highly radioactive material, was within the canister.

They threw the container in a trash receptacle without looking inside. When the canister was accidentally or purposefully opened, highly radioactive Cesium powder spread around the area with the help of favorable winds. The consequences of pollution and clean-up expenses for more than a few hundred people approached USD 20 million.

A nuclear weapon explosion is a difficult procedure. Nonetheless, it is probably far simpler to obtain radioactive materials. An explosion of radioactive material has immediate effects. But radioactive terrorism is far simpler and easier to carry out covertly. Radiation terrorism can be carried out in two ways.

Radiological exposure devices (READs) and radiological dispersal devices (RDDs) are the two methods, respectively. By purposefully dispersing radioactive material in and around the target location, RDD terrorism may be carried out. The dispersion may be carried out in complete secrecy.

Spreading the powdered form in densely populated areas or dropping the radioactive material in a huge body of water can both have devastating repercussions. Similar to how RED may be used to have long-lasting negative effects. RDD and RED are regarded as “weapons of mass disruption” and are deployable.

Pakistan’s Nuclear Status

When compared to the likelihood of a “loose nuke” falling into terrorists’ hands as a result of “insiders’ complicity with terror outfits,” the likelihood of a Pakistani terror group stealing a nuclear weapon is far less unlikely. Leading military figures have openly discussed their extreme religious beliefs.

These religious radicals, who occupy influential positions in the Pakistani military, may act as intermediaries. Even a Hiroshima-style bomb would need a significant amount of administrative and technological work, which cannot be hidden from spy satellites and other intelligence agencies.

The words “terror” and “nukes” have been used informally to suggest their relationship. Notwithstanding statements made by leaders of several terrorist organizations in Pakistan, Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda was the only serious terror organization with a distinct goal. According to Al Qaeda, it is his Islamic duty to steal, buy, or create a nuclear weapon and use it on an American city to fulfill his promise to murder millions of Americans. Al Qaeda had even made contact with the Khan Research Laboratory (KRL) to get radioactive material, but the effort was unsuccessful for reasons that are yet unknown.

Pakistan’s animosity toward India motivates successive administrations to make investments in the country’s expanding nuclear program. The expense of building new reactors and continuing to produce new warheads is high. The economy of Pakistan is in ruins. Chinese financial assistance might not be sufficient to keep Pakistan’s sinking economy afloat.

Pakistan aspires to have “Full Spectrum Nuclear Deterrence” as a national security strategy. Pakistan continues to spend billions to build up its nuclear weapons in its heedless and costly pursuit of nuclear superiority over India, oblivious to the possibility that safeguarding its most lethal weapon may ultimately prove to be its greatest liability shortly.

Instead, the use of terrorism as a governmental strategy may come back to harm Pakistani society in the future. Domestic terrorists may obtain the nuclear device and unintentionally detonate it within Pakistan. A nuclear explosion in India cannot be carried out by a terrorist group supported by Pakistan. Nonetheless, there is a real potential for radiological terrorism.Iran says it has developed hypersonic missile - World - DAWN.COM

India’s nuclear capacity will continue to pose a very serious threat to Pakistan’s survival, even as Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal does not pose an existential threat to India. Pakistan would therefore have a greater incentive to prevent the misuse of its nuclear weapons. More important to Islamabad than India is the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

Edited by Prakriti Arora



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