Research on Pakistan's Nuclear Program
By Azaz Syed: Daily Times, July 28, 2007
ISLAMABAD: The Strategic Plans Division (SPD) has helped two researchers from an American think tank who are writing the first ever comprehensive account of the country’s nuclear programme, by facilitating access to Pakistani scholars and former nuclear scientists, Daily Times has learnt.
The researchers – Dr Peter R Lavoy and former Pakistan Army Brigadier Feroz Khan from the Centre for Contemporary Conflicts (CCC) affiliated with the Naval Postgraduate School’s Department of National Security Affairs, California, US – are writing a book from a historical perspective. The California-based Centre for Contemporary Conflicts conducts research on different security issues and conveys its findings to US and allied policy-makers and military forces.
The Strategic Plans Division confirmed to Daily Times that it was facilitating the two researchers. “Yes we facilitated them so that they could have the Pakistani perspective,” said a senior SPD director, adding that the authors were free to contact any Pakistani scholar in the field who may want to help them in their research.
“We welcome research work by anyone including Pakistani scholars and have briefed a large number of people on nuclear matters on different occasions. We are open to facilitating any serious work by scholars,” the SPD director said when asked why the unprecedented access was provided. The director said the purpose of giving access to these scholars was to avoid misleading propaganda in international forums against Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
It was learnt that during their visit to Pakistan the researches met a number of personalities who had been directly or indirectly involved in the development of the country’s nuclear programme.
The persons the researchers met include Dr Mubashir Hasan, a former finance minister in Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s tenure in which Pakistan started building nuclear power, and some scientists who served in the nuclear programme. However, the names of the scientists were not made public.
Dr Lavoy and Brig (r) Khan also tried to contact former nuclear scientist Sultan Bashiruddin and some other key scientists who remained in custody for alleged proliferation activities and were subsequently released, but they refused to meet them.
The two researchers declined to provide details. Brig (r) Feroz Hassan did not reply to an email written to him. Dr Lavoy replied to the mail, but refused to share the details of their research work until it was completed.
The book is likely to hit the bookstores by early next year.