Recent death of Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan has brought back memories of the success of Pakistan's nuclear program in the face of extreme adversity. This story came into particularly sharp focus by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz's headline "How Pakistan's A.Q. Khan, Father of the 'Muslim Bomb,' Escaped Mossad Assassination". The opponents' efforts to stop what they called "The Muslim Bomb" exemplified "by all means necessary" madness, including assassinations of scientists. It included a joint India-Israel plan to attack and destroy Kahuta, the location of the Khan Research Lab (KRL) tasked with enriching uranium to build the bomb. Accounts of this plan have emerged from multiple sources in India, Israel and Pakistan.
|Dr. Abul Qadeer Khan
Joint India-Israel plan was developed to attack and destroy Khan Research Lab, named after Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, in1982. The plan involved Israeli F-16 fighters carrying bombs and F-15 air superiority aircraft providing air defense to the attacking aircraft. The Israeli aircraft would fly from an airbase in India.
Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark:
British journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark, authors of ‘Deception: Pakistan, the US, and the Global Weapons Conspiracy
’, have reported that the Israeli Air Force was to launch an attack on Kahuta. The book claims that “in March 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi signed off (on) the Israeli-led operation bringing India, Pakistan, and Israel to within a hair’s breadth of a nuclear conflagration”. Here is an excerpt of Levy's book:
"In February 1983, with the strike plan at an advanced stage, Indian military officials had travelled secretly to Israel, which had a common interest in eliminating Khan, to buy electronic warfare equipment to neutralize Kahuta’s air defenses. On 25 February 1983, Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi had accused Pakistan of “covertly attempting to make nuclear weapons,” and three days later, Raja Ramanna, director of India’s Bhabha Atomic Research Center, had revealed that India, too, was developing a uranium enrichment facility. Suspecting something was brewing, the ISI sent a message to their Indian intelligence counterparts in RAW that autumn, and as a result Munir Ahmed Khan of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission met Dr. Ramanna at the Imperial Hotel in Vienna. He warned Ramanna that if India were to strike at Kahuta, Pakistan would hit India’s nuclear facilities at Trombay. It lay downwind from the teeming Indian city of Mumbai and an attack would result in the release of “massive amounts of radiation to a large populated area, causing a disaster.”
Indian Defense Analyst Bharat Karnad:
Indian defense analyst Bharat Karnad
has also reported about the Israel-India plan, citing Israeli sources. Here's Karnad's account:
"....I met with the Israeli army chief Moshe Dayan’s legendary MilIntel head from the 1956 Sinai Operations, retired Major General Aharon Yaariv then in Reserve and called up for duty, at the Kiryat Shimona kibbutz just this side of the Israeli border. It was Yaariv who told me over breakfast the story of how Indira Gandhi had first approved of an Israeli strike on the Pakistani uranium enrichment centrifuge complex in Kahuta in 1982 with Indian help but called off the raid just before it got underway. The Israelis who had taken out Saddam Hussein’s Osiraq military reactor in Baghdad in June 1981 had planned the attack, according to Yaariv, thus: A sortie of six IsAF F-16s and like number of F-15s flying combat air patrol (CAP) were to come in from Haifa over the southern Arabian Sea into Jamnagar where the crews would rest up for a couple of days, and tie-up last minute, minor, changes in the flight and mission plans. The IsAF strike and CAP aircraft would then take off from Jamnagar, fly over central India and into Udhampur where previously IsAF C-17s would have landed with a cargo of deep penetration and detonation weapons for use on Kahuta targets. The Israelis had warned GOI that their aircraft would fly with Israeli roundels and entirely unmasked because, as Yaariv put it, they didn’t trust the Indians, who would be the principal beneficiaries, to not claim that it was a solely Israeli initiative in which India had no role whatsoever. “We wanted India to be fully involved and implicated and to share in the responsibility for the mission”, he told me, even though the IsAF could have carried out the entire operation all by itself using aerial refuelers as was done on the strike on the PLO HQ outside Tunis (over 1,500 miles away) in 1985. The plans were thereafter for the Israeli F-16-F-15 complement to top off their tanks, upload the special heavy ordnance on fuselage points and take off, flying in the lee of the mountains to avoid Pakistani radar detection, before coming into the open for the final bomb run over target — two F-16s at a time drooping (sic) their loads and egressing as the F-15s circled overhead to take care of any interference by PAF air defence aircraft. The attacks completed the F-16s would continue flying west, out of Pakistani airspace, before dipping southwards and returning to home base. The IsAF aircraft breaking out into the open from the mountain shadows would not have afforded PAF and Pakistani RBS-70 anti-aircraft guns (ex-Sweden) enough time to erect and fire away. (Wrote about it first in the Sunday Observer in the mid 1980s.)"
Pakistan's Brigadier Feroz Hasan Khan:
Pakistani Brigadier Feroz Hasan Khan, the author of "Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb
", described it in his book as follows:
"... Pakistani intelligence picked up leads of Israeli and Indian intelligence collaboration and discovered that the Indian Air Force had begun planning a strike on Pakistan’s nuclear facilities. India conducted a feasibility study on an Osirak-type attack against Pakistan at its Combat College, and the Indian Air Force conducted a series of exercises related to this study, some of which used top-of-the-line Jaguar aircraft. Meanwhile, Israel offered a new proposal that would accomplish New Delhi’s goals. Under this new plan, Israeli planes would take off from an Indian Air Force base in Jamnagar, refuel at a satellite airfield somewhere in northern India, and in the final stage, the planes would track the Himalayas to avoid early radar detection before penetrating Pakistani airspace.”
President Musharraf on Dr. AQ Khan's Contribution:
In a Dawn TV interview
with Naeem Bukhari, former President of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf explained the complexity of the development of the nuclear bomb. He recognized Dr. AQ Khan's major contribution to the development of uranium enrichment process but went on to elaborate that it takes a lot more to build a bomb. To put it perspective, Brigadier Feroz Khan, author of "Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb
", cites a 1968 UN study's finding that it takes at least 500 scientists and 1300 engineers with relevant training and skills to have a nuclear weapons program. 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 a very comprehensive story of "The Making of The Pakistani Bomb". Feroz Khan takes the reader through the interdisciplinary nature and the inherent complexity of what it takes to develop, build and operationalize a nuclear weapons arsenal.
Western Media Coverage:
"In order to get a better feel for how the United States media is able to persuade the public to think about Pakistan’s nuclear technology in a negative way, it is helpful to see how the same media is able to make a different county’s nuclear technology appear unrelated to global stability and safety. In effect, the purpose of the propaganda will be to ensure that French nuclear technology appears non-threatening. In order to achieve this goal, the media had to take the focus of nuclear technology away from the military implications and focus it elsewhere. Many articles that came out in newspapers across America after France exploded their first atomic bomb on February 13, 1960 shifted the focus toward more political themes. This is a clear example of the Dune affect, which states that those who control the media control the opinions of the people. Subjectively, the media focuses on shifting the focus from something bad to something good when it serves the ideology they wish to spread. Furthermore, it is possible for this to be work because this exploits a well-known principle of human behavior which says, "people simply like to have reasons for what they do" (Cialdini 3)............Thus, the media only needs to give a reason for their message despite its validity in order for it to be accepted" The Jerusalem Post and the Washington Post articles also take another approach to the propagandistic tactic of creating an enemy as friend of enemy. Not only do both of them link Pakistan to Iran, Syria, and Libya politically--by showing ties between the countries--they further connect the countries through religion by using the coined term: Islamic bomb. The term is not a new one, originating in the 1970’s after the former President of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto referred to the desire to produce a nuclear bomb to help counter the nuclear arsenals of the Christians, Communists, and eventually Hindus (Downie A20). Largely misquoted, the term became used in much of the anti-Pakistani propaganda of labeling by generalization. 1In fact, both the articles in the Washington Post and the Jerusalem Post make references to the potential threat of an "Islamic bomb." Such references are made despite repeated statements from the Pakistani government explaining that Pakistan does not intend to share any of its nuclear technology with any country. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, "No one should give religious color to the success achieved by our nuclear scientists.... It is incorrect to call it an Islamic bomb" (Moore 19). Despite the Pakistani attempts to disavow the notion of an Islamic Bomb, American media has been using the term rather liberally as a propaganda tactic of dehumanization, a tactic that involves lumping a group together in such a way that takes away any individuality. 1This is effective because we systematically blur distinctions and insist that the enemy remain faceless so that any acts are done not against men, women, and children, but a mass identity and in this case surrounded by the group with the "Islamic bomb." Such techniques can be found in even scholarly works, such as one written through the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University where the term Islamic Bomb is used to persuade the public to see nuclear proliferation into South Asia as a threat to national security. Using the faceless enemy tactic, the paper written by Rodney Jones states that Pakistan’s centrifuge program in 1979 "were accompanied by suggestions that the program was financed by Libya and dramatized the notion that the end result would be an Islamic bomb"" .
Sources from India, Israel and Pakistan have confirmed that India and Israel secretly planned to attack and destroy Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan Research Lab in Kahuta, Pakistan in early 1980s. It was intended to stop Pakistan from enriching uranium to build a nuclear bomb. Pakistani ISI
learned of the secret plan and tipped off the Pakistan Air Force which started increased patrols. PAF was also told to be ready to strike at nuclear sites in Trombay in India and Dimona in Israel. Meanwhile, the ISI let the Indians and the Israelis know that Pakistan would retaliate, bringing "India, Pakistan, and Israel to within a hair’s breadth of a nuclear conflagration". In the end, better sense prevailed in New Delhi with the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi rescinding her orders.
Here's a video of President Pervez Musharraf speaking about Dr. AQ Khan's contribution to the Pakistani atomic bomb development:
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