Friday, March 8, 2013

"Eating Grass-The Making of the Pakistani Bomb"-- Riaz Haq Talks With Author Firoz Khan

Unlike most western accounts of Pakistani nuclear program which begin and end with A.Q. Khan's network, Brig Feroz H. Khan's scholarly work "Eating Grass" offers an insider's account of the "The Making of The Pakistani Bomb".

In this interview, Feroz Khan discuses the challenges and the inherent complexity of what it takes to develop, build and operationalize a nuclear weapons arsenal with maximum deterrence value:


"Eating Grass-The Making of the Pakistani Bomb"-- Riaz Haq Talks With Author Brig Firoz Khan from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Brig Feroz Khan's "Eating Grass" is an erudite work that offers the first authentic insider account of the making of the Pakistani bomb. It details a story of spectacular scientific and strategic achievement by a nation dismissed as a temporary "tent" and a "nissen hut" at birth by Viceroy Lord Mountbatten in 1947. That same "nissen hut" is now a nuclear power about which Brookings' Stephen Cohen has said as follows:

“One of the most important puzzles of India-Pakistan relations is not why the smaller Pakistan feels encircled and threatened, but why the larger India does. It would seem that India, seven times more populous than Pakistan and five times its size, and which defeated Pakistan in 1971, would feel more secure. This has not been the case and Pakistan remains deeply embedded in Indian thinking. There are historical, strategic, ideological, and domestic reasons why Pakistan remains the central obsession of much of the Indian strategic community, just as India remains Pakistan’s.” 

Brig Feroz Khan concludes his book on a somber note by mentioning "massive corruption" and "stagflation" in the country he served. "Perhaps it never crossed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's mind that his words (eat grass...even go hungry) would become a self-fulfilling prophesy."

Read more at Silicon Valley Launch of Eating Grass.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India's Indigenous Copies of Nukes and Missiles 

India's Nuclear Bomb by George Perkovich

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

Cyberwars Across India, Pakistan and China

Pakistan's Defense Industry Going High-Tech

Pakistan's Space Capabilities

India-Pakistan Military Balance

Scientist Reveals Indian Nuke Test Fizzled

The Wisconsin Project

The Non-Proliferation Review Fall 1997

India, Pakistan Comparison 2010

Can India "Do a Lebanon" in Pakistan?

Global Firepower Comparison

Evaluation of Military Strengths--India vs. Pakistan

Only the Paranoid Survive

India Races Ahead in Space

21st Century High-Tech Warfare


Hopewins said...

Video is good. Audio (sound) is terrible. You guys should invest some more money in getting the acoustics up to a more professional standard.

Meray dau paisay.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Ottawa Citizen news story on Pak nuclear arsenal:

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), an independent research wing of the US Congress, figures that Pakistan has between 90 to 110 nuclear warheads.

“Islamabad is producing fissile material, adding to related production facilities, and deploying additional delivery vehicles. These steps could enable Pakistan to undertake both quantitative and qualitative improvements to its nuclear arsenal,” the recently released CRS report noted.

India currently has approximately 60-80 nuclear weapons, it added.

“Whether and to what extent Pakistan’s current expansion of its nuclear weapons-related facilities is a response to the 2008 US-India nuclear cooperation agreement is unclear. Islamabad does not have a public, detailed nuclear doctrine, but its ‘minimum credible deterrent’ is widely regarded as designed to dissuade India from taking military action against Pakistan,” the report noted.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from Stratfor's analyst Robert Kaplan on India-China and India-Pakistan rivalry:

The best way to gauge the relatively restrained atmosphere of the India-China rivalry is to compare it to the rivalry between India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan abut one another. India's highly populated Ganges River Valley is within 480 kilometers (300 miles) of Pakistan's highly populated Indus River Valley. There is an intimacy to India-Pakistan tensions that simply does not apply to those between India and China. That intimacy is inflamed by a religious element: Pakistan is the modern incarnation of all of the Muslim invasions that have assaulted Hindu northern India throughout history. And then there is the tangled story of the partition of the Asian subcontinent itself to consider -- India and Pakistan were both born in blood together.

Partly because the India-China rivalry carries nothing like this degree of long-standing passion, it serves the interests of the elite policy community in New Delhi very well. A rivalry with China in and of itself raises the stature of India because China is a great power with which India can now be compared. Indian elites hate when India is hyphenated with Pakistan, a poor and semi-chaotic state; they much prefer to be hyphenated with China. Indian elites can be obsessed with China, even as Chinese elites think much less about India. This is normal. In an unequal rivalry, it is the lesser power that always demonstrates the greater degree of obsession. For instance, Greeks have always been more worried about Turks than Turks have been about Greeks.

China's inherent strength in relation to India is more than just a matter of its greater economic capacity, or its more efficient governmental authority. It is also a matter of its geography. True, ethnic-Han Chinese are virtually surrounded by non-Han minorities -- Inner Mongolians, Uighur Turks and Tibetans -- in China's drier uplands. Nevertheless, Beijing has incorporated these minorities into the Chinese state so that internal security is manageable, even as China has in recent years been resolving its frontier disputes with neighboring countries, few of which present a threat to China.

India, on the other hand, is bedeviled by long and insecure borders not only with troubled Pakistan, but also with Nepal and Bangladesh, both of which are weak states that create refugee problems for India. Then there is the Maoist Naxalite insurgency in eastern and central India. The result is that while the Indian navy can contemplate the projection of power in the Indian Ocean -- and thus hedge against China -- the Indian army is constrained with problems inside the subcontinent itself.

India and China do play a great game of sorts, competing for economic and military influence in Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. But these places are generally within the Greater Indian subcontinent, so that China is taking the struggle to India's backyard.

Just as a crucial test for India remains the future of Afghanistan, a crucial test for China remains the fate of North Korea. Both Afghanistan and North Korea have the capacity to drain energy and resources away from India and China, though here India may have the upper hand because India has no land border with Afghanistan, whereas China has a land border with North Korea. Thus, a chaotic, post-American Afghanistan is less troublesome for India than an unraveling regime in North Korea would be for China, which faces the possibility of millions of refugees streaming into Chinese Manchuria.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are bits of info on Pakistan's nuclear fusion effort:

Realizing the importance of fusion and the worldwide effort in this regard, Pakistan has launched a National Tokamak Fusion Program to develop human resource and capacity building. Under this program, the Government of Pakistan plans to install a small tokamak (like HT-6M of Hefei , China ) along with various accessories and diagnostics so as to acquire the basic scientific knowledge and the technical know-how of the fusion technology.

National Tokamak Fusion Program

Glass Vessel Spherical Tokamak

Hopewins said...

Good video of Feroz Khan in his younger days (with lot more hair) talking of nuclear weapons...

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "Good video of Feroz Khan in his younger days (with lot more hair) talking of nuclear weapons..."

The US hypocrisy in this video is extreme.

As a nation with tens of thousands of its nuclear weapons on a hair trigger (Pakistan's are not even deployed in assembled form), and as a country that has the dubious distinction of being the only country to have used nukes on civilian population in Japan, this kind of sermonizing by Americans is really ridiculous.

Please read a satirical story I posted on US nuke weapons safety back in 2008:

As to the crux of the story of the 4th of July Blair House meeting in 1999, Feroz Khan talks about it as essentially a successful ambush set up by the White House staff to use cooked up intelligence to pressurize Sharif to order withdrawal from Kargil.

Here's an excerpt from "Eating Grass":

"Alone, and having neither means to verify the information nor the ability to consult any member of his team, Sharif could only deny the allegation. President Clinton was most likely provided with overstated intelligence in order to pressure Prime Minister Sharif."

The clearest hint of the deep bias of the report can be found when one of the people quoted in the video refers to "poverty and filth" in Pakistan when in fact the UN, World Bank and international reports show that there is greater poverty and more filth in India than in Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

As I understand, the nuke program credit goes only to Bhutto and then Zia, none other.

When a program had been going on for so long and reached an advanced state, there was no way that it was going to be stopped, besides the military apparatus was doing most of the work in collaboration with the civilians so they would have pressurized the civilians not to stop it.

So Benazir and Nawaz Sharif deserve no credit. It is even reported that Nawaz Sharif didn't want the explosions!

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "As I understand, the nuke program credit goes only to Bhutto and then Zia, none other."

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto started the nuclear weapons program and then it was continued by Zia ul Haq and Ghulam Ishaq Khan.

After GIK's resignation in 1993, the entire nuclear program was controlled by Pak Army, according Brig Firoz Khan who was an insider.

So the credit for the work done since 1993 goes to the military.

Riaz Haq said...

There are many, including Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, who have claimed credit for Pak nuclear program.

Among the scientists, Prof Rafi Chaudhry and Dr. Ishrat Husain Usmani, both graduates of Aligarh University who later studied in England under Nobel Laureates, were the fathers of nuclear technology in Pakistan in 1950s and 1960s. Then came Dr. Munir Ahmad Khan and Dr. A.Q. Khan who took it to fruition.

Among the political and military leaders, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto started the nuclear weapons program in 1970s and Zia ul Haq continued to support it in 1980s. After Zia's death, it was Ghulam Ishaq Khan who took care of it and then passed it on the military when he resigned in 1990s. So ZAB, Zia, GIK and Pakistan Army all deserve credit for it.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan on Monday test-fired a ballistic missile that appears capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to ­every part of India, another escalation in Islamabad’s effort to keep pace with its neighboring rival’s formidable military advancements.

Pakistani military leaders said the Shaheen-III missile has a range of up to 1,700 miles, which could enable it to reach deep into the Middle East, including Israel.

After the missile was fired into the Arabian Sea on Monday, the head of the military unit that oversees Pakistan’s nuclear program congratulated scientists and engineers for “achieving yet another milestone of historic significance.”

The medium-range Shaheen-III is an updated version of the indigenously produced Shaheen-I and Shaheen-II, which had shorter ranges. “The test launch was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system at maximum range,” the military said in a statement.

Pakistani military leaders are trying to maintain a “credible deterrence” as arch-rival India rapidly invests in military hardware.

In recent years, India has moved toward the creation of a missile defense system and is upgrading its air force and submarine fleet. In 2012, India test-launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile, which it said has a range of more than 3,100 miles.

India’s growing defense budget is largely a result of its uneasy relationship with China. But Pakistan and India have fought three major wars since 1947. Analysts estimate that Pakistan and India possess about 100 nuclear warheads each, and nonproliferation experts say the Indian subcontinent remains a nuclear flash point.

Several Pakistani military analysts said the Shaheen-III has a range greater than that of any other Pakistani missile. The maximum range of the earlier versions of the Shaheen missile was about 1,500 miles, which meant it could not reach parts of India’s eastern frontier.

“Now, India doesn’t have its safe havens anymore,” said Shahid Latif, a retired commander of Pakistan’s air force. “It’s all a reaction to India, which has now gone even for tests of extra-regional missiles. . . . It sends a loud message: If you hurt us, we are going to hurt you back.”

Some analysts caution that the true range of the Shaheen-III could be less than what Pakistani military leaders claim. But Monday’s test could aggravate unease in parts of the Middle East, including Israel. Historically, there also has been some tension between Pakistan, which is overwhelmingly Sunni, and Shiite-dominated Iran.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex-Ambassador Jamshed Marker gives full credit for #Pakistan #nukes to Gen Zia ul Haq …

Retired diplomat Jamsheed Marker talks about “meeting characters, genuine and shady, in tiny cafes tucked away in obscure villages deep in the beautiful Swiss and German countryside”.

One of Pakistan’s best-known diplomats has given an unprecedented account of how his country clandestinely built its nuclear arsenal using its diplomatic network in Europe.

In Cover Point: Impressions of Leadership in Pakistan, an autobiographical account of Pakistan’s politicians, retired diplomat Jamsheed Marker, 94, says: “This exercise involved a bit of James Bond stuff, and I remember Ikram and myself meeting characters, genuine and shady, in tiny cafes tucked away in obscure villages deep in the beautiful Swiss and German countryside.”

Mr. Marker served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany between 1980 and 1982, when the meetings took place, which led to Pakistan acquiring sensitive technology from European firms for its nuclear weapons programme.

“The Embassy had a Procurement Department [the nomenclature really fooled nobody] headed by a most able officer of Minister rank named Ikram Khan, who was seconded from our nuclear establishment headed by Dr A.Q. Khan. Ikram was a superb officer, knowledgeable, low-key and efficient, and went about his sensitive job with the combination of initiative and discretion that were its primary requirements,” writes Mr. Marker , revealing how Pakistan sourced technology for its nuclear programme from western markets.

Mr. Marker’s disclosure sheds light on a wide array of willing partners from among firms in Europe which were willing to partner Pakistan’s quest for nuclear weapons, for a price. Mr. Marker, who worked directly under the supervision of General Zia-ul-Haq, played a peripheral role as the “Procurement Department” operated under a cloak of secrecy.

Mr. Marker, served for three decades in various important embassies of Pakistan, but reached the most successful phase of his career with his back-to-back appointments as Pakistani Ambassador to Bonn, Paris and Washington DC during the tenure of Gen Zia (1977-1988). Mr. Marker said that he admired the way Gen Zia (who became civilian President in 1985) diverted the West’s attention while going all out for giving Pakistan its nuclear weapon. “I maintain a mild, amused contempt for the enthusiasm with which western industrial enterprises, in their pecuniary pursuits, conspired with us to evade their own governments’ law prohibiting all nuclear transfers to Pakistan,” he writes in what is the first account from one of Gen. Zia’s key diplomats on the modus operandi adopted to build the nuclear bomb in Pakistan.

Mr. Marker says the U.S. spy services were aware of Pakistan’s determination to go nuclear and were unable to prevent Gen. Zia.

Riaz Haq said...

AQ Khan: '#Pakistan had ability to conduct #nuclear test in 1984'- but Gen Zia opposed it

"We were able and we had a plan to launch nuclear test in 1984 but then President General Zia had opposed the move," Dawn quoted the father of Pakistan's nuclear programme as saying.
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Pakistan had the ability and had planned to conduct a nuclear test in 1984, said scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. However, Gen. Zia opposed the idea as it would have curtailed international aid Pakistan was receiving due to the ongoing Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, he added.

"We were able and we had a plan to launch nuclear test in 1984 but then President General Zia had opposed the move," Dawn quoted the father of Pakistan's nuclear programme as saying.

General Zia was of the opinion that the world would stop military aid if Pakistan opted for the nuclear test, Khan added. He also said that Pakistan was able to target New Dehli from Kahuta, a city in Pakistan's Punjab, in five minutes.

"Without my services Pakistan would never have been the first Muslim nuclear nation. We were able to achieve the capability under very tough circumstances, but we did it," said Khan while addressing a gathering on the occasion of Youm-i-Takbeer(the day Pakistan became a nuclear power state).

Referring to the treatment meted out to him during Musharraf's era, Khan said nuclear scientists in the country have not been given the respect that they deserve.

"We are facing the worst against our services to the country's nuclear programme," he added.

Abdul Qadeer Khan was at the centre of a massive global nuclear proliferation scandal in 2004.

In a series of dramatic developments, he was accused by then army chief and president Pervez Musharraf of running a rogue proliferation network for nuclear material. Shortly after Musharraf's announcement, a recorded confession by Khan was aired in which he took sole responsibility for all the nuclear proliferation that had been revealed.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts from a right-wing Hindu publication on the history of water issues between India and Pakistan:

Following the partition of the sub-continent, India and Pakistan signed a "standstill agreement" on 18 December 1947 which guaranteed to maintain water supplies at the level of allocation in the pre-partition days. However, on 1 April 1948, India without any warning cut off supplies to Pakistan from both Ferozepur and Gurdaspur. The action was contrary to the letter and the spirit of the international law covering interstate river waters. The Barcelona Convention of 1921 on interstate river waters to which India was a signatory disallowed every State to stop or alter the course of a river which flowing through its own territories went into a neighbouring country and also forbade to use its waters in such a way as to imperil the lands in the neighbouring State or to impede their adequate use by the lower riparians. But India as the upper riparian of the Indus rivers was in a position of strength. India could deflect the Beas into the Sutlej above Bhakra or divert the Ravi into the Beas at Madhopur. It could construct a dam on Wular lake in the Kashmir valley and dry up the river Jhelum. A headwork on the Chenab at Dhiangarh, north of Jammu, could deflect the Chenab from its natural course into Pakistan. The major projects of the Bhakra, Pong and Thein dams then in the offing, if completed, could drain off the rivers of Sutlej, Beas and Ravi.


The Indus water Treaty was signed at Karachi on 19 September, 1960 by Prime Minister Nehru and President Ayub Khan. Under the agreement India promised to supply waters to Pakistan for the payment of expenses for operating the Madhopur and Ferozepur head works and their carrier channels, and also to contribute Rupees 100 crore for construction of replacement headworks to Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

India's ex National Security Advisor and Foreign Secretary J.N. Dixit (1936-2005) :

"The reason Britain partitioned India was to fragment Hindu areas into political entities and ensure Pakistan's emergence as the largest and most cohesive political power in the subcontinent. Pakistan's ultimate aim is to fragment India. Pakistani invasion of Kashmir in 1948 and subsequent wars are part of this continuous exercise. The Kargil war and the proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir are the latest example of this pressure. India has not been decisive and surgical in resisting Pakistani subversion. India has voluntarily given concessions to Pakistan despite defeating it in all major conflicts. Pakistan's long term objective is to ensure that India does not emerge as the most influential power in the South Asian region. The Pakistani power structure has a powerful antagonism toward Hindu-majority civil society in India. Pakistan has sought the support of a large number of Muslim countries and Asian and Western powers (China ad the US) to keep India on the defensive. Pakistan's continued questioning of Indian secularism, democracy and constitutional institutions is a deliberate attempt to generate friction within India. Pakistani support of the secessionist and insurgent forces in Jammu and Kashmir, in Punjab and in the north-eastern states of India confirms this impression."

Riaz Haq said...

Indian PM Nehru's Defense MInister Krishna Menon:

"In Pakistan's view the Partition is only the beginning. Her idea is to get a jumping-off ground to take the whole of was from the Mughals that the British took over (India). Now the British having gone, they (Muslims) must come back (to rule all of India)"

Riaz Haq said...

“To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic Races — the Jews,” RSS leader Golwalkar wrote with approval. “Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by. Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers. The Race Spirit has been awakening.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a link to a #Stanford study on western #media bias in covering #Pakistan #nuclear program. "clear that a certain amount of propaganda was used to make Pakistan appear threatening" #Islamophobia …

We will explore another example of how the facts are tinted using propaganda tactics with a focus on how the American media portrays the stability of Pakistan. As with the tactics that link Pakistan to nations that are considered enemies of the United States, the key will be to focus on how the factual information is presented, in what context, to serve what purpose. By media displaying Pakistan as an unstable nation while discussing nuclear technology, it will persuade the public to fear Pakistan. This tactic which is Enemy as Barbarian: threat to culture is intended to create an enemy, by creating a sense that Pakistan is a country that is not worthy of nuclear technology. The idea behind enemy as barbarian is to portray the subject as rude, crude, uncivilized, and animalistic.

Thus the media describe Pakistan in terms that will establish it as a global threat because of their instability. For example, the Washington Post Quote of the Day was by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani engineer responsible for nuclear development. It read as follows: "I am one of the kindest persons in Pakistan. I feed the birds, I feed ants in the morning. I feed monkeys that come down the mountain" ("Quote of the Day" 38). Although the Post acknowledges the accomplishments of Khan as an engineer, they clearly represent Pakistan in a way that is far from establishing it as an advanced country technically. The rural feel of "monkeys that come down the mountain" is enough to make any reader question the reliability of nuclear technology in a country that appears to be far from modern.

In fact, this propagandistic tactic is highly subtle, since the connection to nuclear weapons is not directly made in the quote. It is not until the reader read the last two lines that the connection is made:

Abdul Qadeer Khan

"the father of the Islamic bomb" ("Quote of the Day" 38).

By connecting the speaker with the nuclear weapons, the Post was able to thus connect the rural feeling created by the quote to the nuclear technology. Since one does not imply the other, there is a sense of uneasiness created in the mind of the reader. The critical point is that although the quote is correct factually, the context in which it is presented, the specific form and placement of labels, is what makes it propaganda.

In another article in the Los Angeles Times describing nuclear technology in Pakistan, the reference to the instability of the nation was more direct:

For more than two decades, the prospect of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and South Asia has stirred the concept of an ‘Islamic bomb’—the entry of an Islamic nation into the ranks of the nuclear powers and its impact on religious, ethnic and political conflict in one of the world’s most volatile regions (Daniszewski A10).

By locating Pakistan in "one of the world’s most volatile regions" the authors quickly establish why the country should not have nuclear weapons without ever explicitly making the statement. The article continues by explaining that "Myron Weiner, a sociologist and South Asia expert at MIT, is one of the many analysts who say they are concerned that if Pakistan is pushed to the brink of financial might respond by selling its nuclear technology" (Daniszewski A10). This tactic relies on authority of an expert testimony which is explained in the introduction as a heuristic that when someone credible and in this case by title of an expert, a person will automatically believe the information to be correct. To media uses this tactic to help establish the ideologue that the unstable region of Pakistan can only cause p