“The possibility of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into wrong hands are very low. The only way it could happen is if the state itself willingly gives it to extremist groups.” And that, of course, is a possibility.
“‘A jihadi dirty bomb will be of Pak origin,'” from the Times of India (thanks to Sr. Soph):
NEW DELHI: A turmoil-hit Pakistan may stress that fears about its nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of Islamic extremists are “totally unfounded and nonsense”.
But the scare is not so much about the safety of the actual nuclear weapons or warheads, as about radicals getting access to enriched uranium, nuclear components and know-how.
“Attempts by Al-Qaida to acquire dirty bombs are quite well-established,” said a senior official, who in the past has been linked with India’s nuclear weapon programme.
“Pakistan has dispersed its weapons and distributed oversight to multiple strategic and security authorities. But these arrangements by necessity increase the likelihood that corrupt officials could successfully divert weapons or materials,” said Allison.
A chilling example of what this could lead to was witnessed in August 2001 when two senior scientists of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, Sultan Bashirrudin Mahmood and Chaudhiri Andul Majid, were spotted with Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan.
Not all, of course, agree with such scare scenarios. “Any country which has nuclear assets will be very careful about protecting them, with established interlocks and security features. This includes Pakistan,” said K Santhanam, former chief adviser (technology) of Defence Research and Development Organisation.
“The possibility of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into wrong hands are very low. The only way it could happen is if the state itself willingly gives it to extremist groups,” he added.