“Pakistan’s nuclear program was not prestige driven but was a manifestation of the security challenges posed by India’, General Ehsan-Ul-Haq
Coercion and compellence cannot influence the behavior of a state that is determined to secure its national security interests.’ This was stated by Gen (R) Ehsan ul Haq at the Center for International Strategic Studies at the book launch ceremony co-hosted by the University of Lahore of The Blind Eye: US Non-Proliferation Policy Towards Pakistan from Ford to Clinton, held at the Islamabad Club, on Nov. 5th November. The book is written by Dr. Rabia Akhtar, Head of Department, School of Integrated and Social Sciences and founding director for the Center for Security, Strategy and Policy Research, University of Lahore. The book has been published by the University of Lahore Press.
At the book launch ceremony, Gen Ehsan said that the book highlights the challenges that Pakistan had to overcome to address its security concerns. He said that the book addresses two important subjects; Pakistan’s nuclear journey and the Pak-US relationship during that time. He emphasized that Pakistan’s nuclear program was not prestige driven but was a manifestation of the security challenges posed by India. He also underscored that the country’s strategic community should talk on these issues to project Pakistan’s narrative. Fortunately, in the evolving environment, Pakistan now has more strategic options, however, despite these strategic options Pakistan’s relationship with the US is indispensable. General Ehsan emphasized that Pakistan has to be cautious in framing this line of argument as the blind eye came at a significant cost to Pakistan and hence Pakistan does not have to pay back US for the ‘blind eye to its nuclear program.
The book explores the US non-proliferation policy towards Pakistan during the five US Presidential Administrations starting from Ford to Clinton Administration.
ED CISS, Amb. Ali Sarwar Naqvi speaking at the launch shared his first-hand experience of working on the issue being part of Pakistan’s mission at Washington at that time. He stated that the US policy towards Pakistan’s nuclear program was not a non-proliferation failure but an enforcement failure. He said during this time the US mantra was “roll back”, however Pakistan succeeded in turning this around to a gradual acceptance of our stance by the US establishment.
Speaking at the event Dr. David Holloway said that one of the prominent aspects of the book is that there were US policy priorities that took precedence over its non-proliferation policies. He said that book is based on an extensive archival data from the US archives and there was limited or no access to the primary data from Pakistani side. He said that Dr. Rabia’s book is serious and dispassionate work on the Pak-US relations with reference to the US nuclear non-proliferation policy. He stated that the book is a great contribution to the understanding of the global nuclear order in this regard.
Dr. Syed Rifaat Hussain while reviewing the book stated that by shifting non-proliferation goals and preferring foreign policy over the non-proliferation, US had created dilemmas that resulted in the ultimate failure of its nonproliferation policy. The US practiced double standards on nonproliferation by punishing Pakistan in South Asia, when India was being rewarded by the US in several similar instances. Resultantly, he said, that the US policy designed to stop Pakistan going nuclear ended up at achieving just the opposite.
Dr. Rabia Akhtar, the author of The Blind Eye, in her brief remarks stressed on the importance of declassified documents from the Pakistani side to provide the complete story of Pakistan's grit and determination throughout it’s nuclear journey.
The book launch was widely attended by dignitaries, foreign diplomats, members of the policy community, academia, and young scholars.