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Pakistan Reaffirms Pledge To Nuclear Non-Proliferation Goals

 Eurasia Review  , By Sher Bano

1540 Support Unit of Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) hosted a side event entitled “Regional Approaches to Supporting UNSCR 1540 (2004)” on 1st June, 2022.  UNSCR 1540 came in 2004 as a response to the threats of WMDs, non-proliferation and terrorism that emerged in 21st century. ……………………….

Pakistan conveyed its consistent view during the general debate that the international instruments and standards that are designed to address the threats to international security and peace posed by WMDs must be developed through multilateral and inclusive negotiations. Pakistan being a responsible nuclear state and member of the Security Council has being fulfilling its obligations under the resolution 1540 in order to strengthen the global framework for the non-proliferation of biological, nuclear and radiological weapons to the non-state actors. …………………….

Pakistan also seeks a non-discriminatory global regime on non-proliferation that is principle-based, inclusive and underpinned by the cardinal principle of equal and undiminished security for all states. Genuine progress on disarmament necessitates a conducive regional and global security environment as well as the resolution of long-standing disputes and conflicts.

July 2, 2022 Posted by | Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment

Climate change makes record-breaking heatwaves in northwest India and Pakistan 100 times more likely

Climate change makes record-breaking heatwaves in northwest India and
Pakistan 100 times more likely, a Met Office study finds. The region should
now expect a heatwave that exceeds the record temperatures seen in 2010
once every three years.

Without climate change, such extreme temperatures
would occur only once every 312 years, the Met Office says. The report
comes as forecasters say temperatures in north-west India could reach new
highs in the coming days. The extreme pre-monsoon heatwave the region has
suffered in recent weeks eased a little after peak temperatures reached 51C
in Pakistan on Saturday.

But the heat looks likely to build again towards
the end of this week and into the weekend, the Met Office’s Global Guidance
Unit warns. It says maximum temperatures are likely to reach 50C in some
spots, with continued very high overnight temperatures.

 BBC 18th May 2022

May 19, 2022 Posted by | climate change, India, Pakistan | Leave a comment

Pakistan, India reel under intense heat wave

Market Screener, By Jibran Ahmad and Sumit Khanna, 29 Apr 22,

PESHAWAR, Pakistan/AHMEDABAD,India (Reuters) -Pakistan issued a heat warning after the hottest March in 61 years while in parts of neighbouring India schools were shut and streets deserted as an intense heave wave on Friday showed no signs of abating.

Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Climate Change, Sherry Rehman, urged the federal and provincial governments to take precautionary measures to manage the intense heat wave, which touched highs of 47 degrees Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in parts of the country.

“South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan are faced with what has been a record-breaking heatwave. It started in early April and continues to leave the people gasping in whatever shade they find,” Rehman said in a statement.

Temperatures were predicted to rise by 6 to 8 degrees Celsius above average temperatures after the hottest March on record since 1961, she said.

More than a billion people are at risk of heat-related impacts in the region, scientists have warned, linking the early onset of an intense summer to climate change. For the first time in decades, Pakistan had gone from winter to summer without the spring season, Rehman said.

The government has also told provincial disaster management authorities to prepare urgently for the risk of flash-flooding in northern mountainous provinces due to rapid glacial melting, Rehman said.

Glaciers in the Himalaya, Hindu Kush and Karkoram mountain ranges have melted rapidly, creating thousand of glacial lakes in northern Pakistan, around 30 of which were at risk of sudden hazardous flooding, the climate change ministry said, adding around 7 million people were vulnerable.

A senior scientist at the India Meteorological Department said on Friday heat conditions would persist for at least the next three days, but that temperatures would fall after the arrival of monsoons, expected in some parts by May.

The health problems triggered by the heatwave were posing a bigger worry than the expected fourth wave of COVID-19, doctors in India said.

“We are getting many patients who have suffered heatstroke or other heat-related problems,” said Mona Desai, former president of Ahmedabad Medical Association in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

She said that 60-70% of the patients were school-aged complaining of vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal colic, weakness and other symptoms.

Roads were deserted in Bhubaneshwar, in India’s eastern state of Odisha, where schools have been shut, while neighbouring West Bengal advanced the school summer break by a few days.

April 30, 2022 Posted by | climate change, India, Pakistan | Leave a comment

India, Pakistan exchange list of nuclear power installations

India, Pakistan exchange list of nuclear power installations,  India and Pakistan exchanged lists of nuclear installations and facilities…….

January 3, 2022 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment

Why the U.S. let Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan off the hook 

Former Netherlands Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers revealed in 2005 that Dutch authorities wanted to arrest Khan in 1975 and again in 1986 but that on each occasion the Central Intelligence Agency advised against taking such action. According to Lubbers, the CIA conveyed the message: “Give us all the information, but don’t arrest him.”

After Khan was tried in absentia and sentenced to four years in prison in 1983 for stealing uranium enrichment secrets from the Netherlands, files held by an Amsterdam court were mysteriously lost, with the main judge suspecting the CIA’s hand in their disappearance.

When an appeals court overturned Khan’s conviction on a technicality, the Netherlands — a key U.S. ally during the Cold War — declined to seek a retrial, effectively letting Khan off the hook. As the Financial Times put it, the Dutch “abandoned prosecution of the most consequential crime committed on their territory since the second world war.

Why the U.S. let Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan off the hook

Decision could still come back to haunt Washington

Brahma Chellaney, October 18, 2021  Brahma Chellaney Is A Geostrategist And Author Of Nine Books, Including “Asian Juggernaut: The Rise Of China, India And Japan.”

The incredible story of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Netherlands-trained Pakistani metallurgist who — with impunity — ran an illicit global nuclear-smuggling network for a quarter-century would make for a captivating thriller.

A key plotline would surely be the mystery of why Khan, who died on Oct. 10 from complications caused by COVID-19, was never indicted by the U.S. for stealing nuclear secrets from the West. Khan played a pivotal role in  helping Pakistan develop nuclear weapons and then selling crucial know-how to three U.S.-labeled “rogue states” — Iran, North Korea and Libya.

Former Netherlands Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers revealed in 2005 that Dutch authorities wanted to arrest Khan in 1975 and again in 1986 but that on each occasion the Central Intelligence Agency advised against taking such action. According to Lubbers, the CIA conveyed the message: “Give us all the information, but don’t arrest him.”

After Khan was tried in absentia and sentenced to four years in prison in 1983 for stealing uranium enrichment secrets from the Netherlands, files held by an Amsterdam court were mysteriously lost, with the main judge suspecting the CIA’s hand in their disappearance.

When an appeals court overturned Khan’s conviction on a technicality, the Netherlands — a key U.S. ally during the Cold War — declined to seek a retrial, effectively letting Khan off the hook. As the Financial Times put it, the Dutch “abandoned prosecution of the most consequential crime committed on their territory since the second world war.”

Geopolitics partly explains why the CIA wanted to protect Khan.

While the U.S. and India are close partners today, at the time Dutch authorities were seeking to arrest Khan, the U.S. was not averse to the idea of Pakistan developing a nuclear-weapons capability to balance India, which had conducted its first nuclear test in 1974. For years, the U.S. simply turned a blind eye to Pakistan’s covert nuclear-weapons development.

American concerns, however, were stirred when Khan began selling nuclear items to other renegade states. U.S. pressure compelled Pakistan to open investigations into Khan’s activities in 2003 after Iran and Libya admitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Pakistan-linked black marketeers supplied them with the components they needed to advance their nuclear research.

In 2004, Khan appeared on national television asking for forgiveness, saying he had acted entirely on his own in passing on nuclear secrets to other countries. “I take full responsibility for my actions,” Khan said, “and seek your pardon.”

After this orchestrated confession, Pakistani dictator General Pervez Musharraf, citing Khan’s status as a national hero, pardoned him. Musharraf also barred U.S. or IAEA investigators from questioning Khan. Oddly, Washington went along with this charade, which extended to Khan’s ostensible house detention.

Investigative journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark, in their acclaimed 2007 book Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons, concluded that Khan was the fall guy. “The covert trade in doomsday technology was not the work of one man, but the foreign policy of a nation and supervised by Pakistan’s ruling military clique,” Levy and Scott-Clark wrote, adding that Pakistan’s generals have long maintained a nexus with terrorist groups.

The military’s collusion with Khan was underscored by the use of an army plane in 2000 to transport centrifuges to Pyongyang. In return, Pakistan received North Korean ballistic missile technology, helping it to build its first intermediate-range, nuclear-capable missile, Ghauri.

While most technology transfers appeared to be state-sanctioned, Khan likely sold some nuclear items for personal profit.

Still, despite exaggerated Western media reports then, no evidence has surfaced to indicate that the Pakistani transfers significantly contributed to advancing the Iranian, North Korean and Libyan nuclear programs. North Korea, the only recipient to cross the nuclear threshold, has long relied on plutonium, which the Khan network did not traffic.

Pakistan’s own nuclear weaponization benefited decisively from clandestine transfers from China, another archrival of India. Such transfers began in 1982, when, as Khan admitted, China supplied the blueprint for one of the nuclear bombs it had tested, as well as enough weapons-grade uranium for two atomic weapons.

Yet the U.S., just as it has not penalized China for its continuing nuclear and missile transfers to Pakistan, chose not to indict the rogue Pakistani scientist that spearheaded an international smuggling enterprise. Washington, however, has indicted a number of other individuals — including as recently as last year — for conspiring to smuggle nuclear goods to Pakistan.

America’s shielding of Khan, a nuclear jihadist committed to payback for real and imagined injustices against Muslims, was doubly ironic because it set the stage for Pakistan’s emergence as an epicenter for terrorism, with its own nuclear weapons acting as enough of a deterrent to retaliation by another state.

Indeed, through its humiliating Afghanistan defeat at the hands of the Taliban, America has tasted the bitter fruits of the Pakistani generals’ cross-border use of jihadist proxies from behind their protective nuclear shield.

The U.S. maintains contingency plans to seize Pakistan’s nuclear weapons if they risk falling into terrorist hands. But if a 9/11 style terrorist attack with a crude nuclear device were to occur anywhere in the world, the trail of devastation would likely lead back to Pakistan.

October 19, 2021 Posted by | Pakistan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 1 Comment

How A.Q. Khan brought the atomic bomb to Pakistan and beyond

 The south Asian nuclear race had begun on May 18, 1974, when India tested
its first nuclear weapon, codenamed Smiling Buddha. India called the test a
“peaceful nuclear explosion”, but Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the prime
minister of Pakistan, responded by saying that his government would now
develop nuclear arms.

There was, Bhutto said, “a Christian bomb, a Jewish
bomb and now a Hindu bomb. Why not an Islamic bomb?” By then Khan, who
had completed a PhD in metallurgic engineering in Europe, was working in
Amsterdam for a subcontractor of Urenco, the nuclear fuel company. Urenco
had been established in 1970 by Britain, West Germany and the Netherlands
to supply the enriched uranium nuclear fuel used in European nuclear

At about the time that India detonated its first nuclear device,
Khan had access to the most secret areas of the Urenco facility and to
documentation about its gas centrifuge technology, including the
consortium’s secret uranium enrichment plant at Almelo, near the
Dutch-German border. Whether he approached the Pakistani government about
nuclear espionage or whether it approached him remains unclear. Whichever
way, in January 1976 he left the Netherlands suddenly for “an offer I
can’t refuse in Pakistan”, emerging there as the leader of his
country’s nuclear-weapons programme.

 Times 11th Oct 2021

October 12, 2021 Posted by | Pakistan, PERSONAL STORIES | Leave a comment

Pakistani nuclear weapons scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan dies aged 85

Pakistani nuclear weapons scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan dies aged 85

PM pays tribute to ‘national icon’ who turned country into atomic power but later admitted smuggling nuclear secrets, Guardian, Agence France-Presse 10 Oct 2021

Abdul Qadeer Khan, considered to be the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme and later accused of smuggling technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya, has died aged 85.

The atomic scientist, who spent the last years of his life under heavy guard, died in the capital, Islamabad, where he had recently been hospitalised with Covid-19……

Khan was hailed as a national hero for transforming Pakistan into the world’s first Islamic nuclear weapons power and strengthening its clout against rival and fellow nuclear-armed nation India.

However, he was declared by the west to be a dangerous renegade for sharing technology with rogue nuclear states…….

He confessed in 2004, after the International Atomic Energy Agency placed Pakistani scientists at the centre of a global atomic black market. Pardoned by Pakistan’s military ruler Pervez Musharraf, he was instead put under house arrest for five years…………..

October 11, 2021 Posted by | Pakistan, PERSONAL STORIES, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

No need for nuclear arsenal once Kashmir issue is resolved: Pakistan PM

, Business Standard, 20 June 21

Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is “simply a deterrent” to protect the country and there will no longer be any need for it once the Kashmir issue is resolved, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said

Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is “simply a deterrent” to protect the country and there will no longer be any need for it once the Kashmir issue is resolved, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said as he asserted that if the Americans have the resolve and the will, the issue can be sorted out.

Pakistan has 165 nuclear warheads as of January this year and it appears to be expanding its nuclear arsenals, a study by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said last week. Pakistan had 160 nuclear warheads as of January last year, it said.”I don’t know where they’ve come up with this. Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is simply a deterrent, to protect ourselves,” Prime Minister Khan said during an interview with the news programme Axios on HBO, which was reported by Dawn online.

Khan said that he was “not sure” whether it was growing. “As far as I know, it’s not an offensive thing. Any country which has a neighbour seven times its size would be worried.

He was responding to a question by the interviewer who asked, “Intelligence analysts say Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal anywhere in the world. Why?”

Khan went on to say that he was “completely against nuclear arms”.

“I always have been. We’ve had three wars against India and ever since we have had a nuclear deterrent, there has been no war between the two countries. We’ve had border skirmishes but we’ve never faced war.

“The moment there is a settlement on Kashmir, the two neighbours would live as civilised people. We will not need to have nuclear deterrents,” the cricketer-turned-politician said.

To another question, Khan said that the US had a big responsibility when it came to Kashmir.

“If the Americans have the resolve and the will, [the Kashmir issue] can be sorted out,” he said.,,,,,,,,

June 22, 2021 Posted by | Pakistan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pakistan expresses deep concern over the seizure of nuclear explosive material in India

Pakistan Expresses Deep Concern Over The Seizure Of Nuclear Explosive Material In India,         ByEurAsian Times DeskMay 8, 2021

Pakistan has expressed deep concern over the seizure of natural uranium in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Uranium is used in several areas, including nuclear explosives.

A tweet by Pakistan’s Foreign Office read – We have noted with serious concern reports about the seizure of more than 7 Kg natural uranium from unauthorized persons in India. Security of nuclear materials should be the top priority for all countries, and there is a need for a thorough investigation of the matter.

Earlier, Indian authorities seized around seven kilograms of natural uranium and arrested two people in Maharashtra (the capital of India’s financial hub – Mumbai) for “illegally possessing” the highly radioactive substance.

“We had received information that one person identified as Jigar Pandya was going to illegally sell pieces of Uranium substance, a trap was laid and he was arrested,” the Maharashtra police said. “Investigation into the case revealed that another person identified as Abu Tahir gave him these pieces of Uranium.”

The police said a huge quantity of substance was recovered when Tahir was apprehended.

The case was registered after a report from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai authenticated the seized material is highly radioactive. “A report was received that the substance is natural uranium. It’s highly radioactive and dangerous to human life,” the police said.

It is the second time in India that such a highly radioactive material has been seized by police in recent years. In 2016, police seized around nine kg of depleted uranium in the Thane area of Maharashtra.

May 10, 2021 Posted by | incidents, India, Pakistan | Leave a comment

China sets out to control the world nuclear industry, – Pakistan, UK, and beyond

Nikkei Asian Review 9th May 2021,
Nick Butler: On Mar. 11, Pakistan inaugurated its most recent and largest
civil nuclear power project with the opening of the 1.1-gigawatt plant in
Karachi, doubling the capacity of Pakistan’s four existing nuclear
facilities. A second similar unit is due to come online in the coming
months. The event marked a significant step for Pakistan which needs
additional capacity from all sources to bolster its existing inadequate
power supplies.

But even more important was the fact that the plant was
built and will be operated by the state-owned China National Nuclear Corp.
(CNNC), one of the companies leading Beijing’s drive to join the very short
list of countries with the capability to build and operate civil nuclear
power projects around the world. The development of China’s nuclear
industry over the last decade has been remarkable. With over 30 new
reactors commissioned and another 16 under construction, China is now the
main source of growth for nuclear power across the world.

China’s objective is to create a closed cycle, self-reliant nuclear industry within
China from the processing of uranium to produce fuel for the reactors
through to construction and management of the operating plants. This is
being achieved through the adaptation of international technology, in
particular from Westinghouse into new Chinese designed reactors. In the
process, the Chinese nuclear industry will reduce or eliminate the role of
the foreign companies whose capabilities established the first wave of

The other part of the Chinese strategy is to create an export
industry, with the plan focused on a range of countries lacking resources
of their own and, in most cases, also lacking the technical skills to
develop their own indigenous nuclear skills.

The leading Chinese nuclear
company, the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), formerly the China
Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, joined the French state company Electricite
de France (EDF) in the U.K. in funding a third of the Hinkley Point
project. Their aim was to secure the opportunity to go on to build, own and
operate a Chinese reactor in Britain, beginning with a new plant at
Bradwell in Essex. China, by pursuing its industrial aspirations, is
creating a set of relationships and alliances, making full use of the fact
that power supplies are crucial for the day-to-day operations of economic
life. In the modern world, this is the way in which empires are built.

May 10, 2021 Posted by | China, Pakistan, politics international, technology | Leave a comment

In India’s pandemic nightmare, India and Pakistan need to invest in health, not nuclear weapons.

Oxygen is more important than uranium,  DW, 1 May 21,  India and Pakistan can afford to buy weapons and test ballistic missiles, but they can’t cope with the COVID crisis. DW’s Shamil Shams says it is time for both to invest in public health and focus less on warmongering.

Dr. Mubarak Ali, a progressive Pakistani historian, recently wrote on social media that the mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic in India and Pakistan proves that “oxygen is more important than uranium.”

Both India and Pakistan are grappling with an acute public health crisis brought on by coronavirus. India lacks oxygen for COVID patients, and Pakistan can’t afford to buy vaccines.

However, both nuclear-armed states continue to devote a large chunk of their national budgets to military spending.

The pandemic situation in India is nightmarish. During the week following April 18, India reported 2.24 million new cases, the highest number recorded by any country in a seven-day period since the pandemic began.

India also logged 16,257 deaths, almost double the 8,588 deaths recorded the previous week, according to Health Ministry data. Since the start of the pandemic last year, India has registered over 17.6 million COVID cases and almost 200,000 related deaths.

This “second wave” is particularly lethal and has exposed the fragility of India’s health infrastructure. Hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID patients, and there aren’t enough places to cremate or bury the dead.

The situation is Pakistan is getting worse by the day. Infections and deaths are surging.

As of Tuesday, April 27, Pakistan has recorded almost 805,000 COVID cases and 17,329 deaths. Experts say the actual numbers are likely much higher.

The vaccine rollout has been quite slow in Pakistan because the government doesn’t have the funding to purchase doses. China and other countries have donated a few million vaccine doses, but it is not enough to vaccinate a country of 220 million people.

Stubborn arrogance

Yet, the ruling classes in India and Pakistan are not ready to reevaluate their public spending policies.

For over 70 years since both countries gained independence from British rule, India and Pakistan have invested more in defense than in the wellbeing of their people.

Their militaries have thrived, even as a large segment of their populations have fallen below the poverty line.

This is what happens when a developing county prioritizes security-based national spending. India and Pakistan have the latest tanks and fighter jets, yet their hospitals lack ICU beds and ventilators………

Misplaced priorities

Even the world’s most developed health care systems have been pushed to the edge by the coronavirus pandemic. And for developing countries, the pandemic has demonstrated the necessity of a functional health care system for prosperity.

Powerful militaries and massive defense budgets cannot fight a virus. 

Therefore, India and Pakistan can no longer justify supporting a nuclear arsenal while their populations suffer due to a lack of medicines, oxygen cylinders and hospitals.

The rulers of the two nations must put an end to their warmongering and resolve their disputes politically and diplomatically. The best way to deal with COVID – and potential pandemics in the future – is through regional cooperation.

The way many Pakistanis have offered support to Indians during their health crisis is proof that the two nations can overcome many challenges if they help each other.

The pandemic has demonstrated that if the arch-rival south Asian neighbors don’t move toward reconciliation and peace, their economies are bound to collapse in the long run, and even their mighty armies will not be able to stop it.

May 1, 2021 Posted by | health, India, Pakistan, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Pakistan test-fires nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile

Pakistan test-fires nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile

The missile is capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads to a range of 2,750 kms, the statement said.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Wednesday that it successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile which can strike targets up to 2,750 kilometres. ……

January 21, 2021 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Near to flaspoint – disputes between India, Pakistan,China

October 1, 2020 Posted by | China, India, Pakistan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Tsunami risk for nuclear reactors on coastlines of India and Pakistan

Nuclear plants in Arabian Sea face tsunami risk, by SciDev.Net, 21 Sep 20,  A major tsunami in the northern Arabian Sea could severely impact the coastlines of India and Pakistan, which are studded with sensitive installations including several nuclear plants, says the author of a new study.

“A magnitude 9 earthquake is a possibility in the Makran subduction zone and consequent high tsunami waves,” says C.P. Rajendran, lead author of the study, which was published this September in Pure and Applied Geophysics.

“Our study is a step towards understanding the tsunami hazards of the northern Arabian Sea,” says Rajendran. “The entire northern Arabian Sea region, with its critical facilities, including nuclear power stations, needs to take this danger into consideration in hazard perceptions.”

Atomic power stations functioning along the Arabian Sea include Tarapur (1,400 megawatts) in India’s Maharashtra state, Kaiga (being expanded to 2,200 megawatts) in Karnataka state and Karachi in Pakistan (also being expanded to 2,200 megawatts). A mega nuclear power plant coming up at Jaitapur, Maharashtra will generate 9,900 megawatts, while another project at Mithi Virdi in Gujarat may be shelved because of public opposition.

Nuclear power plants are located along coasts because their enormous cooling needs can be taken care of easily and cheaply by making using abundant seawater.

“Siting nuclear reactors in areas prone to natural disasters is not very wise,” says M.V. Ramana, Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security and Director, Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia, tells SciDev.Net. “In principle, one could add safety systems to lower the risk of accidents—a very high sea wall, for instance. Such safety systems, however, add to the cost of nuclear plants and make them even more uncompetitive when compared with other ways of generating electricity.”

“All nuclear plants can be subject to severe accidents due to purely internal causes, but natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and storm surges make accidents more likely because they cause stresses on the reactor that could lead to some failures while simultaneously disabling one or more safety systems,” says Ramana, who has worked extensively on nuclear energy.

Rajendran and his team embarked on the study after noticing that, compared to peninsular India’s eastern coast, tsunami hazards on the west coast were under-recognized. This despite the 8.1 magnitude earthquake that occurred in the Makran subduction zone in 1945.

The study relies on historical reports of a major disturbance that struck the coast of western India in 1524 that was recorded by a Portuguese fleet off Dabhol and the Gulf of Cambay, and corroborated by geological evidence and radiocarbon dating of seashells transported inland which are preserved in a dune complex at Kelshi village near Dabhol.

Modeling carried out by the team produced results suggesting that the high impact in Kelshi could have been generated by a magnitude 9 earthquake sourced in the Makran subduction zone during the 1508 —1681 period, says Rajendran. Subduction zones occur where one tectonic plate slides over another, releasing seismic energy.

As per radiocarbon dating of the shells, the inundation may have occurred during 1432—1681 and overlaps the historical reports of major sea disturbances in 1524 that were recorded by a Portuguese fleet of 14 ships led by Vasco da Gama, the man who discovered the sea-route between India and Europe.

A future mega-tsunami originating in the Makran subduction zone could not only devastate the coasts of Iran, Pakistan and Oman but also the west coast of India, says Rajendran, adding that alternate offshore quake sources are yet to be identified in the Arabian Sea.

The larger Indian Ocean features another tectonically active tsunamigenic source—in the Andaman-Sumatra region where the devastating 2004 Asian tsunami occurred. “The next tsunami, after our experience in 2004, will likely be on the west coast,” says Rajendran.

The 2004 tsunami claimed more than 250,000 lives and devastated the beaches of Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, and claimed lives as far away as Yemen, Somalia and South Africa. Significantly, an atomic power plant at Kalpakkam, on the coast of India’s south-eastern, Tamil Nadu state, was flooded.

Earlier studies, such as the one published in 2013 in Geophysical Research Letters, have indicated that tsunamis, similar in magnitude to the one caused by the 2004 Sumatra earthquake, could occur at the Makran subduction zone where the Arabian plate is subducting beneath the Eurasian plate by about 1.5 inches per year.

According to the 2013 study, the Makran is a wide-potential seismogenic zone that may be capable of generating a very significant (greater than 8.5 in magnitude) tsunamigenic earthquake that poses risks to the coastlines of Pakistan, Iran, Oman, and India.

Vinod Menon, a founder member of India’s National Disaster Management Authority tells SciDev.Net that the new study “raises pertinent questions on the seismic and tsunamigenic risks from a potential rupture of the Makran subduction zone.”

“The tsunami risk and vulnerability of the west coast has not received adequate attention in spite of a history of occurrence in the past as curated by the authors as well as previous studies,” says Menon, who adds that it is worth noting that there are far more sensitive installations around the northern Arabian Sea than in the Andaman-Sumatra region.

Ramana says that such studies serve as a warning against the risks and costs of setting up nuclear power plants in seismically vulnerable areas. “A decade after the 2011 disaster in Fukushima, the prefecture retains radioactive hotspots and the cost of clean-up has been variously estimated to range between US$20 billion and US$600 billion.”


September 22, 2020 Posted by | India, Pakistan, safety | Leave a comment

Why the nuclear whistleblower exposing AQ Khan was ignored

Nuclear secrets: the Dutch whistleblower who tried to stop Pakistan’s bomb Frits Veerman first warned the authorities in 1973 about the suspicious activities of his colleague AQ Khan. Why was he ignored?  Simon Kuper– 24 July 20, 
  In the early 1970s, the Dutch technician Frits Veerman shared a large desk in a lab in Amsterdam with a charming Pakistani scientist named Abdul. One day, Veerman mentioned that he’d like to visit Pakistan. He asked if he could stay a few nights with his colleague’s family. Abdul — full name Abdul Qadeer Khan — replied that Pakistan’s government would pay for his entire trip. That’s when Veerman began to suspect that Khan was stealing Dutch nuclear secrets.  ………
Veerman first tried to report Khan to the Dutch authorities in 1973. He didn’t make it past a secretary. Had he been heard, then or later, the world might have been spared a nightmare. The Dutch allowed Khan to leave their country in 1975 and to keep visiting European suppliers. The US Central Intelligence Agency didn’t stop him either. Khan ended up building Pakistan’s nuclear bomb and selling the technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya.
………….After Veerman blew the whistle, he lost his job. A report this month by the Huis voor Klokkenluiders, the new Dutch Whistleblowers Authority, finally absolves him. It also helps explain why he and not Khan was punished.

Khan is now 84, and living under unofficial house arrest in Pakistan, where he has long had an up-and-down relationship with the authorities. He is closely escorted by security officials during his restricted movements, while any visitors to his home are screened in advance.  …………
The Dutch briefed the CIA on Khan, Lubbers told Japanese TV in 2005. The Americans opposed the nuclear ambitions of their Pakistani allies. Nonetheless, the CIA stopped the BVD from arresting Khan. The Americans wanted to watch him, so as to track Pakistan’s nuclear procurement and Europe’s secretive nuclear suppliers.

The CIA’s failure to stop him in 1975 “was the first monumental error”, Robert Einhorn, who worked on nonproliferation in the Clinton and Obama administrations, told Frantz and Collins. The Americans asked the Dutch “to inform them fully but not take any action”, Lubbers recalled, laughing. He said he “found it a bit strange”, but also thought, “‘OK, it’s American business.’ We didn’t feel . . . safeguarding the world against nuclear proliferation as a Dutch responsibility.” The business of the Netherlands was business. The CIA would watch Khan for decades.

FDO didn’t tell Khan he was under suspicion. It gave him a new job, calling it a promotion, and said he could stop visiting Almelo. He may have realised the game was up. On December 15 1975 he flew to Pakistan on leave, taking his wife, daughters and blueprints of centrifuges. Soon afterwards, from Pakistan, he resigned from FDO.  ……..
In September 1976, FDO held a meeting about Khan. Veerman told his colleagues that he thought Khan was a spy. FDO doesn’t seem to have launched an investigation or taken measures, says the Dutch Whistleblowers Authority. Later, Veerman detailed Khan’s actions to BVD agents. But his speaking out was unpopular. There had been rejoicing within FDO when an executive returned from a visit to ex-employee Khan in Pakistan with orders of work. Pakistani technicians began visiting FDO for what Veerman calls “a course in ‘how to build an ultracentrifuge’”.
In September 1976, FDO held a meeting about Khan. Veerman told his colleagues that he thought Khan was a spy. FDO doesn’t seem to have launched an investigation or taken measures, says the Dutch Whistleblowers Authority. Later, Veerman detailed Khan’s actions to BVD agents. But his speaking out was unpopular. There had been rejoicing within FDO when an executive returned from a visit to ex-employee Khan in Pakistan with orders of work. Pakistani technicians began visiting FDO for what Veerman calls “a course in ‘how to build an ultracentrifuge’”.  ………..
Why was Veerman sacked? A former Dutch security investigator, who handled the Khan case from 1979, told the whistleblowers authority that Veerman was “sacrificed” because he wouldn’t stop talking. FDO’s security had been lax, the Netherlands and its high-tech sector were embarrassed, those involved didn’t want the story to reach the media or other countries, and the junior employee had to shut up. This is what Veerman had always suspected.
No other Dutch tech company would hire him. Is Veerman bitter? The question seems to surprise him. He doesn’t have a large emotional vocabulary. “I don’t cry about it all day. A great injustice was done to me, but I don’t think about it much. When something like that happens, you have to make an assessment — maybe I am too sober — and go on.”  Now, with the whistleblowers’ report, Veerman plans to seek compensation from the Dutch state and the present incarnation of FDO’s former holding company, VMF-Stork (FDO closed in 1992). The current Stork, which now consists of a very different set of operating companies, says it “has fully co-operated with the investigation [by the Dutch Whistleblowers Authority], even though this question is from a very long time ago . . . The ­current Stork cannot be regarded as Mr Veerman’s employer, as the Authority’s report confirms.”  ………
Meanwhile, Khan regularly flew into Brussels, then drove to nearby countries visiting suppliers and scientists. The BVD took no action, even when Dutch businessman Nico Zondag reported in 1977 that Pakistan was seeking products to build a nuclear bomb. A Dutch foreign-ministry official wrote in a memo in 1984 that exports to Pakistan continued, “including essential bomb components that for whatever reason couldn’t be blocked”.  Khan said in 1987 that Europeans were keen sellers: “People chased us with figures and details of equipment they had sold to Almelo and Capenhurst [the British site of another Urenco plant]. They literally begged us to buy their equipment.” There were few restrictions on such exports in those days. If an item seemed particularly problematic, the trick was to conceal its destination by routing it through an inoffensive third country.
A small country with an impenetrable language can generally keep national embarrassments secret. The Dutch government commissioned a report on Khan only in 1979, after the German TV channel ZDF — using sources other than Veerman — revealed Khan’s espionage to the world. Nobody then thought Pakistan was close to getting the bomb and the CIA believed it had the matter under control, but the Netherlands — a vocal supporter of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of 1968 — was humiliated in front of its allies.
In 1983, Veerman was summoned to a meeting at the Bijlmer prison. There, he later told the whistleblowers authority, government officials ordered him to keep quiet about Khan “because the Netherlands’ international relations and reputation were at risk, and the interests of Dutch industry”. When he said he’d keep speaking out, an executive from FDO snapped that speaking out had got him fired — thereby blowing the company’s cover story
Veerman went straight from the meeting to a Dutch newspaper, but afterwards retreated into his social security job and was hardly heard of again in public for decades until now. He was also put on an international watchlist and for many years was questioned by the authorities when he travelled abroad. On one family holiday in Italy, his car was stopped by armed police.
In 1983 the Netherlands sentenced Khan in absentia to four years in jail for seeking secret information. The main evidence was his letters to Veerman. Khan was offended by the verdict and his biographer Zahid Malik would record his complaint that two of the judges were Jews. Later, his sentence was overturned because he hadn’t been served the summons. The Dutch then abandoned prosecution of the most consequential crime committed on their territory since the second world war. The ministry of justice later admitted that Khan’s legal file had gone missing.
Lubbers, who became prime minister in 1982, wanted Khan arrested but was told to “leave it to the [intelligence] services”. Looking back, he told the Argos radio show: “The last word is Washington. There is no doubt they knew everything, heard everything. There is an open line between The Hague and Washington . . . It was very dumb.” Khan was allowed to return to the Netherlands repeatedly, including for a visit to his dying father-in-law in 1992.
 The CIA’s former director of central intelligence, George Tenet, once boasted: “We were inside [Khan’s] residence, inside his facilities, inside his rooms.” Yet the Americans missed a lot, partly because they expected Pakistan to pursue a bomb made with plutonium rather than uranium. They were also late to realise that Khan had opened a nuclear supermarket, offering starter kits to many countries including Syria and Saudi Arabia. Decades after leaving the Netherlands, he was still selling Dutch knowledge. He grew rich. In 1998, he also became celebrated as “Mohsin e-Pakistan” (Saviour of Pakistan), after the country detonated six nuclear bombs at a test site.
 Proof of his sales emerged in 2003, when the US Navy intercepted a ship carrying nuclear technology from one of his factories to Libya. Later, the Libyans handed the Americans two plastic bags (bearing the names of an Islamabad tailor and a dry cleaner) that contained bomb designs. In 2004, Khan confessed on live television to transferring the technology to Libya, Iran and North Korea. By then, the US couldn’t demand his punishment, as Pakistan was an ally in the “war on terror”.
Meanwhile, the Dutch government admitted in 2004 that Iranian centrifuges had been seen that used “Urenco technology from the 1970s”. Pakistan’s centrifuges were similar. The Dutch foreign ministry told the FT: “The Netherlands attaches great importance to the Non-proliferation Treaty and the prevention of proliferation. The Netherlands did not actively contribute to unwanted proliferation of knowledge.” Khan later withdrew his confession. Some years ago, an American documentary-maker arranged for Veerman to phone his old friend. Khan, who resents being painted as a common spy, told him, “Frits, you are the biggest liar around.” Khan is now out of favour with Pakistan’s government. Security forces personnel installed in the house next door block him from meeting his relatives, friends and lawyers, he complained in an appeal to Pakistan’s Supreme Court last month.  ……
Veerman is harsher about his own country: “If Iran ever manages to destroy Israel, they could put on the weapons, ‘Made in Holland.’”

July 25, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, Pakistan, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment