Congressmen wonder if US has contingency plan to seize and control Pak’s nuke arsenal in an emergenc

January 18th, 2008 - 2:26 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Benazir Bhutto
Washington, Jan.18 (ANI): U.S. Congressmen are reportedly concerned about whether the Bush Administration has a contigency plan in place to seize and control Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in the event of an emergency-like situation.
Though, there is a consensus in the U.S. Congress on the way forward with Pakistan in the wake of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, the attacks in the North West Frontier Province and in other parts of the country, the hearing by the sub-committee on the Middle East and South Asia of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, believes that if there is a breakdown of law and order in the country and a civil war results, the Bush Administration must have a ontingency plan to seize and control Pakistans nuclear weapons under those circumstances.
Washington must also try to put democracy in place in Pakistan with the full backing of the people. The chairperson of the sub-committee, Gary Ackerman said that he does not think that could be done with Musharrf in office, and believes that the US has put all its eggs in the wrong basket.
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher called USs Pakistan policy irrational. He was of the view that the Pakistan military is the greatest allies of the radicals, while the people of Pakistan are against radicalism. He regretted that Washington has been supporting the military instead of the Pakistani people. He called on President Musharraf to step down from all offices. He also suggested that elections should be postponed for six months and a government of national unity brought in. The US, he stressed, must back the forces of democracy instead of putting its faith in Musharraf.
Congressman Dan Burton, however, was the only member of the subcommittee who spoke in favour of President Musharraf, describing him as an American ally. He said Washington should continue to back him till proven otherwise. He called the Pakistani president the only game in town.
Asked about the chances of fair elections in Pakistan, South Asian expert Ashley Tellis replied that there have been irregularities of process and structure and they continue to persist. He said if the results of the election are not acceptable to the people of Pakistan, it would put the US in an awkward spot, which is why Washington should do everything to make sure that the elections are not fixed.
There is no clear and present danger to Pakistans nuclear weapons, he stressed.
Lisa Curtis felt that media hype is damaging Pakistan-US relations. She also did not think that the nuclear weapons were under threat or not well secured. On the question of dealing effectively with radical forces in Pakistan, she felt selective pressure should be applied to Musharrafs government to overcome the ideology of support for militancy. (ANI)

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