How safe are Pakistan’s nukes?

How safe are Pakistan’s nukes? invites its readers to debate current affairs in this forum.

The Pakistan government continues to maintain that security around its stockpile of nuclear weapons is ‘second to none.’ The top US military officer Mike Mullen has gone on record as saying that his country is ‘comfortable’ with Pakistan’s nuclear safety.

But with the growing threat from the Taliban and related militants, how safe do you think the arsenal really is? Do you trust the government and armed forces to safeguard the country’s nuclear weapons?


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69 Responses to “How safe are Pakistan’s nukes?”

  1. Mustafa says:

    How is this Army going to be able to safeguard anything given its record?

    this very same army lost every war it was involved in or started.

    Even this so called proxy war by funding and training the so called freedom fighters for Kashmir now has come back to bite Pakistan in the rear.

  2. m.ali says:

    extremism is spreading like epidemic. our army is corrupt and entrenched in civil affairs. can they fight militants? illiteracy means that many in Pakistan side with the taliban. in such condition how can one expect that our nuke are safe?

  3. Shazad Akram says:

    I always thought our Nuclear facilities were safe and secure.

    With recent events seemingly pulling Pakistan towards civil war, we must not be relaxed on that front. We probably need more troops guarding these facilities than even the borders.

  4. bashir says:

    Imagine AlQueda or Taliban or LET getting hold of these nukes . Their stated goal is to destroy India, Israel, and the west.These terrorists would unleash a fire storm on this planet which could destroy our habitat and our environment. It makes you wonder what their conception of Islam is when killing innocents lands them in heaven.

  5. Asher says:

    @ Mr. Pramod kumar

    Do you really think “Sir A Q Khan” has never sold anything to anyone. Just imagine, do you really think that a person like Sir A Q K will have a direct contact with another country’s politicians to sell his product? He was not even allowed to see his own family everyday for the past many many years. he was more guarded then NUKE itself.

    Buddy just open your eyes, do not only listen to media or believe on what you read in the papers. I dont think its the NUKE they are after, its the OIL the Black Gold.

    FYI, when it comes to accidents, most of the countries using atomic energy did had accident in past. Just click on the links below and you will find some familiar names, but not the name of My PAKISTAN.

    Please Check this out

    Thanks and Long Live PAKISTAN.

  6. shyam says:

    Pakistan army is capable of keeping Nuclear arms safe…but the country is weakening economically and militant groups are gaining strength, as civilian govt is not strong enough to keep the country in control. If the militant groups gain more power, Pakistan will be in their control as well as army. Hear safety is not the wall around it , and the password. The MINDS who controls it. We want you to establish internal stability and use the money for your civilian facilities, instead of weapons. You have right to keep deadly weapons, but keeping them in a civilian govt is more sensible.

    Do you prefer a gun in the hands of a militant or a police officer on duty? A police office uses his gun in the frame work of law, and a militant uses as per his conscious.

    There are several small neighboring countries to India (Nepal, Srilanka,Bangladesh etc) are living in peace with out fears of war with India. We do not want any part of Pakistan, so you can feel safe.

  7. GJC says:

    I am not much for blind patriotism, and certainly not for nationalism. But after reading so many negative comments on the security status of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, and indeed so many negative comments on Pakistan as a nation, I am compelled to say, Jeevay Pakistan, Jeevay Pakistan, a million times.

    Those who predict Pakistan’s downfall and dismiss it as a failed state forget its history of endurance and persistence: Pakistan has endured three wars with India; it has seen persistent internal strife in one form or another; it has seen military dictators come and go; it has seen civilian ruling elite rise and fall; it has played host to the largest number of refugees in history (nearly 4 million during the height of the Afghan War); it has endured the wrath of a superpower (Soviet Union); it has played a pivotal role in defeating the Soviet Union across its borders; it has endured daily terrorist bombings; it has endured persistent economic and military sanctions for decades (yes, 9/11 has punctuated that, but the past was otherwise); it has risen from a nation of hunger and famine to a nation of plenty (yes, Pakistan is one the preeminent agricultural countries now) -to say the least.

    There is really no way to tell how safe Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are. But I surmise that the possibility of these things falling in the hands of rogue elements is not lost on Pakistani military leadership. It is entirely childish to think that somehow a few turbaned, gun toting Taliban and the like will walk up to a missile launcher and hijack it. Then somehow find the codes and launch it. But I must say in a twisted way the pressure on Pakistan to secure its weapons has worked to Pakistan’s advantage, namely it has led to securing the weapons to the extent possible. I cannot help but think that without 9/11 and its consequences, as sad as all that is, the security of Pakistani nukes may very well have remained lax.

    Likewise, I think India woke up as well and secured its weapons. Both nations are at an early stage of what might be called a regional Cold War. There is a certain maturity that comes with being nuclear weapons states locked in a Cold War. That maturity is in progress in both nations. It will take some time before we all feel safe, but I am convinced that Pakistan and India are maturing as nuclear powers much faster than did the Soviet Union and the United States. And that is something both India and Pakistan can be proud of.

    Last, I am a pacifist and an abolitionist. The nuclear weapons must be eliminated from the face of the Earth, and it must be done in an equitable manner. That is the only way to be safe. These weapons symbolize the epitome of human arrogance and folly. How dare we make and amass weapons that can not only eliminate us, but thousands of other species on this planet. Remember, at its height in the late sixties America’s nuclear arsenal comprised nearly 33,000 warheads. And at its height in 1985 or so the arsenal of the Soviet Union comprised nearly 46,000 warheads. And what you know: these are the same folk constantly telling the world not to worry because these weapons are in safe hands. Well, I am done with this “safe if in our hands and dangerous if in yours” ideology.

    There are no safe hands to hold nuclear weapons, nor will there be. The emergence of India and Pakistan as nuclear powers is not just regional; it is a systematic outcome of the existence of nuclear weapons in the hands of others and their constant bullying of the rest of the World.

    May the Creator grant us all enough wisdom to realize that we have actually designed a way to eliminate our species and then some. May the Creator grant us the wisdom and courage to eliminate this scourge.

  8. Anwar says:

    Tell everyone who is asking this question, IT IS NOT SAAAAFE, thus run for your life. One readytogo missile should be planted towards India, another one towards Karzai’s palace, and the third one towards the Dawn press; who even dared to ask this question. Suggestion to Dawn press: Don’t be the part of evil conspiracy against Pakistan.

  9. C says:

    Should we start how we can control taliban? Also start another blog parallel to this how to change hate philosophy in Pakistan education system?

  10. Moh says:

    Nuclear assets should be safe, Not accessible to terrorists. In to-days time and age no country can afford to use nuclear bombs. Any user will be chewed up by the civilized world. To think that one is safe with a nuclear bomb is being stupid.
    But if they fall in the wrong hands-good bye beautiful world. Pakistan is wasting money.

  11. Imtiaz Sheikh says:

    Most of the comments are so influenced by the Western media or Indian mono vision. When Pakistan can develop the Nuclear capability without anyone’s help so can it protect the our Nukes better then anyone and it does not need anyone’s advise to protect it Nukes.

  12. A concerned Citizen says:

    Let’s not worry about the nukes. Even bigger threat is the cancer of extremism. These self proclaimed Muslims are pushing us back into the stone age. Even though I am a Muslim, I am ashasmed to call my self a Muslim, unless I can clarify that I am not “that kind of Muslim”. What a pitty! God save us from the “nukes of extremism”.

  13. Aj says:

    Those in this forum who say they have complete faith in the pak army should remember how it has been unable to root out the extremists in the NWFP. Tough times are ahead for Pakistan!

  14. Tariq Qureshi says:

    I am extremely worried…looking at Pakistan army’s past and present track record including recent defeat at the hands of bunch of ill prepared, ill equipped talibans, their inability to even protect Nato supply lines even in cities like Peshawer and extremism in its ranks especially as the junior level officers…one must be worried.

  15. nisar khan says:

    our nuclear safety and our military capability are interlinked. professional inefficiency will certainly jeopardize our nuclear installation. the surge of taliban and alqaeda in Pakistan making our nuclear installation vulnerable. the nexuses between taliban and the army as accused by America is s serious matter to be worried about. the terrorist can’t lay their hand on the nuclear war head unless abetted by our security insiders.

  16. Saleem says:

    Pakistan is a Nuclear power with No-Clear power, thats the point of worry not Indian or US threat, If we cant save us from Taliban then how can we save us from mighty India and US?

  17. Maqbool Rehman says:

    It is funny and scary to read that people think that the “army” will do this and that to safeguard our nukes. On an individual level, the people serving in the army are good but as an organization that runs our country, they have sold us out to the Mullahs.

    People, this is the same army that lost East Pakistan in 1971, won the battle but lost the war in Afghanistan and most recently has lost Swat.

    You think this army will safeguard our nukes ?

  18. Asif Ali says:

    Pakistan itself is in danger from Taliban. We handed over SWAT to taliban, they attacked Lahore, Islamabad. taliban presence felt in Peshawar and other major cities far deep into Pakistan. Do we still claim that Pak’s nukes are safe? Honestly, our denial is responsible for today’s state of Pakistan. Now we are living on aid from other countries and they have bigger say in our internal matters. Our biggest threat is not US, Afghanistan or India but internal Taliban insurgents itself.

  19. hamza khan says:

    its amusing to read the comments of indian posters, who are always a heartbeat away when it comes to pakistan and its internal issues. Indians themselves a superpower, yet are so overly concerned with the happenings of its ‘smaller’ neighbor. no one here really knows how safe or unsafe pakistans nukes are, but one thing is for sure: pakistan will do whatever necessary to protect them from any malicious attempts. whether its taliban, al-qaeda, the US or india or anyone else. if pakistan can make the nuclear bomb, God knows it can protect it. let indians worry about he safety of its own nuclear arsenal. I understand that indian scientists have proliferated nuclear weapons as well, so do not cast aspersions on pakistan. it will be better for both countries.

  20. Ammad Ansari says:

    no, the army is not capable… it hasn’t been able to defeat the taliban or defend swat. I think those who think that the army is ready to defeat taliban are mistaken.

    there is a limit of ignorance and the denial of logic.

    recently the news is that a poor girl got flogged in the middle of the road while there was no one to help her. has anyone of you felt her helplessness? May Allah give her the strength to continue on and fight these barbarians with her will. Nukes are not safe at all. Lets have a reality check which most of the Pakistanis seem to miss all the time. During the Afghan-Soviet war, Taliban learned to use the stinger missile to shoot down Migs and Mils. I dont think it would take them long to assemble a nuke. There are enough resources out there and the outreach is easy.

  21. Pakistani says:

    We should stop saying that there is a threat from the outside. Right now we have a bigger threat inside the country than from the outside. So lets stop this nonsense that the other countries are out to get us and are nukes. We should instead fix this problem we have inside the county. If we do not have internal threats we can surely manage any external threat. We have to start cleaning up our house first.

  22. Dajjal Muhammad Rohri says:

    @Pakistani and Tashfeen Matiullah
    No doubt Pakistan Army has the best in manpower and technology to protect its nuclear assets….

    Do not forget the same competent Army are losing control of the country starting with swat, I say their record speak for themselves.

  23. Aamir says:

    Many of the comments posted here, are really quite hilarious…..Our army is great….We trust the army etc etc.

    As far as the Nukes are concerned, most would obviously say that they are very safe etc etc. because it’s a false pride issue for us, Pakistanis. The truth is, that in a country rife with radicals & extremists, our nukes are as safe as a deer in a tiger’s cage.

    As a realist, I think we should take the advice of Mr. Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal) and sell our nukes for $100bn. The world would be willing to take them off our hands & hopefully that money can be used to resuscitate our dying nation. I know that for my comments, I would be termed as a traitor or even an Indian in disguise but I am a true Pakistani & I will speak the truth as I see it because my heart bleeds for Pakistan.

  24. Shams says:

    Yes, absolutely Yes. Our army is fully capable of not only safeguarding our nuclear assets and to cope with insurgency.
    The more i am worried about is the immaturity of our politicians, and their denial of the fact that insurgency has become a major threat to our survival, and whether the army will have full support of the nation once they start full scale operation to curb it. Please give them moral support, your backing and develop understanding of the situation on ground, then Yes the army will defeat these militants.

  25. kumar Joshli says:

    I am an Indian and feel the nukes are safe……. I recently saw a report on IBN news where we (indians) have spent more money on Defense but are no better than Pakistan. IBN report says we are worse.

    Lets all Live together. We can only live a 100 years max, lets enjoy it.

    Sardarji, I like your joke about Sikhs leaving india by the plane load….. Going to Canada? on Facebook on Facebook