Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Proliferation Press News Flash: Pakistan’s Busy News Day

Posted by K.E. White on February 26, 2007

What’s going on in Pakistan? 

Well, a lot.

First there are reports of a seven nation meeting taking place in Islamabad on the issue of Middle East stability. 

The countries attending? Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan.

Interesting that Iran wasn’t in the mix: But they did just sign a pipe-line deal with India that would go through Iran. So perhaps the crude flow of cash made up for diminished dialogue. 

What did the meeting come up with? Well here’s coverage from

“The ministers viewed with deep concern the dangerous escalation of tension, especially over the Iranian nuclear issue,” said the statement, read at a news conference by Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri.

“It is vital that all issues must be resolved through diplomacy and there must be no resort to use of force,” it added.

“There is need for de-escalation instead of aggravation and confrontation in the Gulf region. All countries must work towards that objective.”

But it seems that America might be sending mixed signals. From the Peninsula:

Cooperation between Pakistan and the US in science & technology sector is set to expand manifold in terms of funding as well as areas of mutual cooperation.

In recently concluded talks between the two countries, Islamabad has offered to increase its share to $15m from the already committed $3.5m in the science & technology cooperation programme, it has been learnt.

US officials have agreed in principle to increase their share but have yet to decide the revised figure. According to previously announced breakdown of $5.5m, the US side had committed $2m against $3.5m of Pakistan’s share.

So what is going on?

Pakistan has been skating on thin ice. A vital ally, its tensions with Afghanistan and recently concluded peace treaty with Taliban militants have made it (at best) a nuanced ally of the United States. 

Musharraf’s recent book tour in the United States—he was on the John Stewart show!—didn’t mollify concern.
But is this really about Afghanistan? Or is it about Iran? About both? Or an extremely shrewd move to allow Musharraf space to ‘stand up’ to America, as to combat his own, home-grown radical threat?

Who knows. 

What is known is this: Pakistan—a nuclear state with a fragile regime—is a critical part of the WMD puzzle and the war on terror.

And most frightening is that there is little U.S. policy can do to improve the situation in Pakistan, but much U.S. policy can do to hurt the situation there.

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