IMF & Pakistan nuclear weapons
FOR the first time since Pakistan acquired nuclear weapons, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has brought the issue of nuclear missile range to the public. According to Dar, the IMF demands the abandoning of long-range missiles which is an uncustomary attitude of the IMF. If this is true then how long Pakistan can resist the IMF demand and what cost Pakistan will pay? These are some of the serious concerns the Pakistani public hold against the state. To answer the above questions one needs to analyze the Pakistan-IMF programme in greater detail. The romance between Pakistan and the IMF programme is somehow related to its nuclear program. Long before Pakistan tested its nuclear weapons, the world particularly the West knew that Pakistan had acquired nuclear weapons and now they are unable to reverse their nuclear weapons. Instead of planning how to undo Pakistan’s nuclear weapon, they came up with an alternate plan/strategy ‘economic implosion’ to weaken Pakistan’s economy to the core which will ultimately enable them to denuclearize Pakistan. Well, the plan sounds like some Hollywood movie but I have some examples to quote
If we reflect on the US sudden withdrawal from Afghanistan, initially it looked like an abrupt action but later on, the US joining the Ukraine crisis highlighted that since they had another war coming up they lost interest in Afghanistan as something big was coming up. But this does not mean it just happened naturally — in fact, they had proper strategic planning long ago. This becomes evident from Seymour Hersh’s report on how the US has been concerned about Russia using gas and oil as political weapons since the Cold War. The US fear did not start with the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Another incident Hersh quoted was the Nord Stream Pipeline — when President Biden mentioned that the US will blow up the Nord Stream if Russia attacks.
This is exactly what happened. According to Hersh, the US prepared to blow up the Nord Stream pipeline before the Russia-Ukraine crisis began. Well, the same sort of details on how the US plans its foreign policy is provided by Jeffrey Sachs. All of this indicates that the West, particularly the US, planned decades ago how to control a state by putting a band around it and then slowly and steadily shrinking that band to pressurize it to do things according to its wish list. If Dar’s statement is correct this is what it looks like happened in Pakistan’s case. Pakistan joined the IMF program in 1988 and for 34 years the West has been working on implementing this strategy of economic implosion in Pakistan – weakening it to the core – affecting its security sector with a lack of available resources and ultimately demanding/controlling its nuclear weapons. Potentially this was the only way to undo or control its nuclear weapons/threat. On the face of it, these are very bold statements but numbers support such bold comments.
The statistics indicate that as of June 2022, 60% of defence expenditure is on borrowed resources but these numbers are growing at a fast pace. In the current financial year June 2023, it is speculated that Pakistan’s revenue will not be sufficient enough to finance its interest payment, defence expenditure and all other expenditures will be 100% on borrowed resources. With such financial status Pakistan carrying nuclear weapons becomes an obvious concern for the West or countries that are serious about the safety and security of the world. If Dar’s statement is correct then the West will turn every stone to surrender Pakistan’s nuclear assets or shrinkage of nuclear weapons, force Pakistan to give up further research on nuclear weapons to maximize or improve nuclear weapons technology, control of missile range etc. With the help of the IMF program, the west is putting immense pressure on Pakistan exactly the way a lion is strategically approaching its prey. Slowly and steadily they are tightening the band towards the nuclear weapons of Pakistan. If Dar’s statement is correct, it took the West almost 34 years to reach this demand. But if Pakistan’s nuclear program is compromised, who will be affected by it? With such an arrangement India will be declared a regional hegemony and the US will remain as global hegemony. It will avoid multipolarity which is a potential threat to the existing world order. But who will pay the cost?
It’s the people of Pakistan who are/will pay a heavy cost to such a strategic plan. They are already paying a heavy price due to the egoistic attitude of a few in the country. Despite the fact the country is sinking, the egos of a few are not getting satisfied. If I connect the dots, it looks like Pakistan is a country by a few and for a few where the ego of the few is above all. Looks like the state does not bother about Pakistani public concerns over compromising its nuclear assets – if public matters they would have considered the public basic demand to hold elections, call for a democratically elected government and bring political stability in Pakistan which will eventually lead towards economic stability. If the public cannot get their basic right to elect their leader of choice how will the state consider public concerns over compromising their nuclear assets to the western demands? It’s time to remember when the house is disordered and the economy collapses, the outsiders take it as an opportunity to steal all that they can. Given the context, if Dar’s statement is correct then from economic implosion to national security: The game is over!
—The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of Government and Public Policy, National University of Sciences and Technology.
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