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The Rediff Special/Josy Joseph

Policing Pakistani proliferation

May 19, 2003

Post-September 11, there has been a growing body of evidence implicating Pakistan in the proliferation of nuclear weapons. At the same time, Islamabad continues to receive massive US assistance to help fight terrorism on Pakistani soil.

In the fourth part of a series based on the US embassy in Islamabad's 'mission report' for Pakistan, we examine how Washington proposes to tackle proliferation and check terrorism within the Islamic republic.

Over the past two years, several Pakistani nuclear scientists suspected of being involved in proliferation activities have been interrogated by US agencies. But many others are just 'missing'.

Media reports quote US intelligence agencies as saying that Pakistan provided nuclear weapons technology to North Korea in exchange for missiles. And, to add insult to injury, several critical nuclear parts were transported to North Korea in the late 1990s in US-made Hercules C-130 cargo aircraft owned by the Pakistan Air Force.

The 'mission plan' of the American embassy in Islamabad, therefore, includes a strategy to prevent Pakistan from becoming a 'source for nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, missiles or related technology'.

The first step involves helping 'Pakistan develop and strengthen its national export control systems', while, at the same time, continuing to 'urge Pakistani officials to clamp down on possible rogue actors and entities to ensure they don't pass on sensitive information and equipment'.

Consultations on bilateral non-proliferation and export controls have been stepped up as part of these measures.

In 2001, though Pakistan 'further tightened its export controls, but onwards proliferation risks continue', the document says.

In 2002, Pakistan adopted 'export controls that fully meet international standards'. And though Islamabad continued with the nuclear test moratorium, missiles were 'readied' when India and Pakistan came close to war. They were returned to peacetime positions when the tension eased on the border.

In 2003, the Americans hope to ensure that there is no 'operational deployment of nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles' and to 'nudge' the Pakistanis to implement the export controls adopted last year. By 2004, they expect full and effective implementation of these controls.

Simultaneously, the Americans are encouraging 'Pakistan to exercise restraint in further missile development, and to neither mate nor deploy nuclear weapons or missiles' to minimise the risk of a war with India. Efforts are also on to try to bring India and Pakistan to the negotiating table to resolve their disputes, including Jammu and Kashmir, during this period.

The 'two nuclear countries' must commit themselves to 'political and diplomatic solutions', says the report. Unless that happens, the 'threat of nuclear wars, intentional or triggered by an accident, casts a shadow over all of South Asia'.

As for fighting terrorism, one of the most tangible efforts of the American mission has been the setting up of automated border control systems at all entry and exit points.

In 2001, the baseline year for the mission plan, there was 'no indigenous ability to effectively screen individuals entering or departing Pakistan'. But with American assistance, in 2002 an automated border control system was installed at the five major airports of Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Quetta and Peshawar. The same year, the Federal Investigative Agency of Pakistan was designated by President Pervez Musharraf to spearhead investigation into terrorism.

In 2003, 'all entry and exit points in Pakistan' are expected to have the automated border control system, named PISCES. Next year, the system will be fully 'operational and integrated with National Crisis Management Cell's intelligence and investigative database'.

The Pakistani police is also being trained in modern crime-fighting techniques. In 2001, the 'police crime investigation department' was functioning only in Lahore, and police had only 'minimal ability' to investigate terrorist acts, says the mission report.

In 2002, the Americans nudged the Pakistani establishment to set up CIDs in all provincial capitals (Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar), while 'training and equipping of Karachi CID' is under way. This year, the CIDs in Lahore, Quetta and Peshawar are expected to implement the training and equipment provided by the American government.

In 2004, the Americans also hope to establish a functional intelligence and investigative database that would be linked to provincial CIDs and the National Crisis Management Cell. This database will be linked to the PISCES border control system.

By 2005, the US hopes to see this criminal database online and accessible to all police stations around Pakistan.

At the same time, Pakistan's law enforcement agencies are also being encouraged to go deep into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, where fiercely independent tribals are believed to be giving sanctuary to Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists.

The frontier constabulary is also being modernized to allow it to credibly police the region. In 2002, the Khyber Pass Area Project was launched and construction of roads into the Tirah Valley was started.

By 2004, the Americans hope to build roads 'into last remaining inaccessible areas of FATA' and ensure that the Frontier Constabulary maintains 'presence throughout tribal areas' of Pakistan.

Last year, to ensure that terrorists from Afghanistan do not sneak into Pakistan at will, an 'emergency supplemental appropriation' allowed America to grant $73 million to Pakistan for improving the vigil along this sensitive border, which practically did not exist before 2001.

And to check terrorist funding, Americans are working on the 'weak regime regulating financial and money laundering'. In 2002 again, America got a new anti-money-laundering legislation introduced and also got Pakistan to set up a 'financial intelligence unit' in its central bank.

In the current year, the Americans hope to prompt Pakistan into taking effective measures to regulate the hawala/hundi system, while expanding financial intelligence units to include law enforcement agencies. By 2005, Pakistan will hopefully be given full responsibility for the anti-money-laundering/terrorist-financing units.

Part I: US charts the road to peace in J&K
Part II: The US mantra: Diplomacy, not force
Part III: The plans for Pakistan's democracy
Part V: What will Pakistan get?

The Rediff Specials

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