Pakistans Nuclear Proliferation Activities and the Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission: U.S. Policy Constraints and Options

CRS Report for Congress
Pakistan’s Nuclear Proliferation Activities and the
Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission:
U.S. Policy Constraints and Options
Updated May 24, 2005
Richard P. Cronin, Coordinator
Specialist in Asian Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
K. Alan Kronstadt
Analyst in Asian Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Sharon Squassoni
Specialist in National Defense
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division

Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress

Pakistan’s Nuclear Proliferation Activities and the
Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission:
U.S. Policy Constraints and Options
In calling for a clear, strong, and long-term commitment to the military-
dominated government of Pakistan despite serious concerns about that country’s
nuclear proliferation activities, The 9/11 Commission cast into sharp relief two long-
standing dilemmas concerning U.S. policy towards Pakistan and South Asia. First,
in an often strained security relationship spanning more than five decades, U.S. and
Pakistani national security objectives have seldom been congruent. Pakistan has
viewed the alliance primarily in the context of its rivalry with India, whereas
American policymakers have viewed it from the perspective of U.S. global security
interests. Second, U.S. nuclear nonproliferation objectives towards Pakistan (and
India) repeatedly have been subordinated to other important U.S. goals. During the
1980s, Pakistan exploited its key role as a conduit for aid to the anti-Soviet Afghan
mujahidin to avoid U.S. nuclear nonproliferation sanctions and receive some $600
million annually in U.S. military and economic aid. Underscoring Pakistan’s
different agenda, some of the radical Islamists favored by its military intelligence
service later formed the core of Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
A crucial U.S. policy challenge is to gain Pakistani cooperation in shutting down
the extensive illicit nuclear supplier network established in the 1990s by the self-
designated “father” of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, Abdul Qadir Khan, which provided
nuclear enrichment technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea, while at the same
time supporting stability in Pakistan and gaining its maximum cooperation against
terrorism. To date, the Administration appears largely to have acquiesced in
Pakistan’s refusal to allow access to Khan by U.S. intelligence officials. The
Administration has been equally reluctant to publicly criticize the Musharraf
government’s apparent use of international arms dealers to obtain controlled U.S.
dual-use technology for its own nuclear weapons program, in violation of U.S. law.
The 109th Congress has been asked by the Administration to provide some $698
million in military and economic assistance to Pakistan for FY2006, part of a five-
year, $3 billion aid package. Some Members of Congress have expressed concern
that, as during the 1980s, the urgent need for Pakistan’s cooperation will prevent the
Administration from dealing forcefully with its nuclear proliferation activities, and
have introduced legislation that seeks to make U.S. assistance contingent on
Pakistan’s cooperation on nuclear proliferation.
This report: (1) briefly recounts previous failed efforts to reconcile American
nuclear nonproliferation and other security objectives regarding Pakistan; (2)
documents A.Q. Khan’s role, whether with or without official involvement, in
supplying nuclear technology to “rogue” states and how these activities escaped
detection by U.S. intelligence agencies; (3) considers issues regarding the objectives,
and viability of the military-dominated government of President Pervez Musharraf;
and, (4) outlines and evaluates several U.S. options for seeking to gain more credible
cooperation from Pakistan’s regarding its nuclear activities while still maintaining
effective counterterrorist cooperation. This report will not be further updated.

Introduction: The 9/11 Commission Report and Long-Standing
Contradictions in U.S. Policy Towards Pakistan and South Asia.........1
Squaring the Circle: Antiterrorism Cooperation with a Prime Source of
Nuclear Proliferation.......................................3
Congressional Concerns and Perspectives...........................4
Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission:“Hard Choices” or the Same
Choices? .....................................................5
Past as Prologue: Pakistan and the Recurrent Dilemma of Conflicting U.S.
Policy Goals..................................................6
India’s 1974 Nuclear Test and the Beginning of the U.S. Policy Dilemma..7
Key Role of Congress in Shaping Basic U.S. Nuclear Nonproliferation
Policy ...................................................8
Alternating U.S. Policy Priorities Towards Pakistan...................8
Failed Efforts to Reconcile U.S. Cold War and Nuclear
Proliferation Objectives: The 1985 “Pressler Amendment” and the
1990 Aid Cutoff..........................................10
India and Pakistan’s May 1998 Nuclear Tests and the Decline of
Sanctions as a U.S. Nonproliferation Policy Approach ...........10
U.S. Policy Reversal After 9/11..................................11
Details on Pakistan’s Proliferation Activities...........................12
The A.Q. Khan Network.......................................12
Other Nuclear Suppliers........................................15
Intelligence Issues............................................18
Pakistan’s Absence in U.S. Intelligence Reports on Proliferation........19
Transfers to Iran..........................................20
Transfers to Libya........................................21
Transfers to North Korea...................................21
Role of A.Q. Khan, the Pakistani Government and Military................23
Khan’s Motives..............................................23
Pakistani Government Response to U.S. Concerns...................25
Pakistani Military Role?.......................................26
Bush Administration Statements.................................30
Issues Concerning the Viability of the Musharraf Government As a
Long-Term U.S. Security Partner................................32
Near-Term U.S. Security Needs Versus Longer Term Human
Rights and Democracy Goals................................32
Succession Issues.............................................35
Policy Discussion: More Constraints Than Options.....................36
Option 1 — De Facto Acceptance of Pakistan’s Nuclear Activities and
Non-Cooperation on the A.Q. Khan Issue on Condition of
Maximum Counterterrorism Support..........................38
Option 2 — Emphasize Multilateral Nonproliferation Strategies........40

Strengthened International Regimes..........................41
Expanded Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program.........42
Option 3 — Condition High Value Assistance on Access to A.Q. Khan..43
Key Rationale............................................43
Potentially Risky Test of Wills..............................44
F-16 Fighter Aircraft Sale and the India-Pakistan Confrontation....44
Congressional Role and Powers..............................45
Option 4 — Reimposition of Nuclear Nonproliferation Sanctions.......46
Legislation ......................................................47

Pakistan’s Nuclear Proliferation Activities
and the Recommendations of the
9/11 Commission:
U.S. Policy Constraints and Options
Introduction: The 9/11 Commission Report and
Long-Standing Contradictions in U.S. Policy
Towards Pakistan and South Asia1
In calling for a clear, strong, and long-term commitment to the military-
dominated government of Pakistan despite serious concerns about that country’s
nuclear proliferation activities, The Final Report of the 9/11 Commission cast into
sharp relief two long-standing dilemmas concerning U.S. policy towards Pakistan
and South Asia. First, in an often strained security relationship spanning more than
five decades, U.S. and Pakistani national security objectives have seldom been
congruent. Pakistan has viewed the alliance primarily in the context of its rivalry
with India, whereas U.S. policymakers have tended to view it from the perspective
of regional stability and U.S. global security interests. Mutual security agreements
concluded with Pakistan in 1954 and 1959, which remain in force, were part of the2
U.S. “Containment” policy towards the Soviet Union. Second, U.S. nuclear
nonproliferation objectives towards Pakistan (and India) repeatedly have been
subordinated to other important U.S. goals. During the 1980s, Pakistan exploited its
key role as a conduit for aid to the anti-Soviet Afghan mujahidin to avoid U.S.
nuclear nonproliferation sanctions and receive annually some $600 million annually
in U.S. military and economic aid. Underscoring Pakistan’s different agenda, some
of the radical Islamists favored by its military intelligence service later formed the
core of Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
During the 1980s, Pakistan successfully exploited its importance as a conduit
for aid to the anti-Soviet Afghan mujahidin both to forestall the imposition of
economic and military sanctions otherwise required by U.S. nuclear nonproliferation
laws and to gain some $600 million annually in U.S. military and economic aid.
Ironically, not only did Pakistan develop its nuclear weapons capability during the

1 This section was prepared by Richard P. Cronin.
2 See section entitled “The United States Alliance,” in Peter Blood (ed.), Pakistan: A
Country Study: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, updated April 1994.
[ -bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+pk0149)]

1980s while receiving major U.S. economic and military assistance, but because it
was partially hostage to Islamabad’s own foreign policy objectives, the United States
unwittingly facilitated the rise of a radical anti-U.S. Islamic terrorist movement.3 The
ranks of Al Qaeda and the Taliban include some of the very same radical Islamists
nurtured by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) organization and supported
and armed by the CIA in the successful effort to drive the Soviet Army out of
Afghanistan. Some observers view this unwanted legacy as cause for not losing sight
of U.S. nuclear nonproliferation and other interests when seeking to forge closer
antiterrorism ties to a country that has been a major and recent source of the
proliferation of nuclear technology and materials, and which also faces some degree
of risk of itself falling under the control of radical Islamists. This report seeks, in
part, to explore whether there may be ways for gaining more leverage with Pakistan
on the proliferation issue without jeopardizing Islamabad’s cooperation on terrorism.

Figure 1. Country Map of Pakistan
PakistanInternational Boundary
GilgitNational CapitalProvince-level Capital
Ri ve rs
KargilM u za ff araba dKabul00 50 10050 100200Kilomet ers200Miles
S rinagarP es haw ar Islama bad
Rawalp indiP a rac h inar K ohat
J a mmuSialkot
F ais alabad Kasur
K hos t Mult anQuetta
PAKISTANNok KundiNew Delhi
J ac obabad
Nawabs hah
Karach i
Source:Map Resources. Adapted by CRS. (K.Yancey11/12/04)
3 This is a major them of Steve Coll’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book Ghost Wars: The Secret
History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10,

2001 (New York: Penguin Press, 2004). This theme is also emphasized in Michael Griffin,

Reaping the Whirlwind: The Taliban Movement in Afghanistan (London: Pluto Press, 2001
John K. Cooley, Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism (London:
Pluto Press, 2000).

Squaring the Circle: Antiterrorism Cooperation with a Prime
Source of Nuclear Proliferation
Neither the 9/11 Commission Report nor legislation enacted to implement its
recommendations directly address the issue of balancing U.S. assistance to promote
counterterrorism cooperation and stabilize Pakistan against Islamist extremism, with
curbing nuclear proliferation activities emanating from Pakistan. Congress endorsed
and funded for FY2005 only a request from the Bush Administration for a new five-
year, $3 billion, package of U.S. economic and military assistance to Pakistan.
Congress also signaled its concern that Pakistan was not sufficiently cooperating with
U.S. efforts to eliminate A.Q. Khan’s illicit nuclear supply network by revising an
existing reporting requirement under the Foreign Assistance Act, 1961, amended, but
did not condition U.S. assistance to Pakistan on the imposing of any specific4
performance-related nonproliferation requirements. (See Legislation section at the
end of this report.)
In theory, achieving the two most critical U.S. policy objectives relating to
Pakistan — defeating radical Islamic terrorism and deterring nuclear proliferation —
should be complementary, since the acquisition of nuclear weapons by terrorists is,
in the words of the Vice-Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, former Representative
Lee Hamilton, “the ultimate nightmare.” In practice, however, the historical record
shows that the dual American objectives often have been operationally incompatible,
especially the goals of promoting democracy and preventing nuclear proliferation.
From that perspective, Vice-Chairman Hamilton observed at an August 24, 2004
hearing of the House International Relations Committee, “I think Pakistan represents5
as tough a problem as there is in American foreign policy today.”
Press reports in late December 2004 and early 2005 concerning the covert
supply network established by A.Q. Khan underscored the challenge of addressing
simultaneously the terrorist and nuclear proliferation threats in U.S. policy towards
Pakistan. The New York Times reported on December 26, 2004, that both the Bush
Administration and the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
had gathered evidence in the Middle East and Asia indicating that Khan’s network
may be much more extensive than previously assumed. The extent and degree of
threat posed by Khan’s network has become apparent through the discovery in Libya
of plans for an atomic bomb and other elements of a “nuclear starter kit,” evidence
that Pakistan has been the source of most of Iran’s uranium enrichment know-how
and technology, strong indications that Pakistan has been the main source of
centrifuges or components for North Korea’s secret uranium enrichment program.
U.S. and officials and experts of the IAEA strongly suspect that Khan’s network also

4 By law, appropriated funds and any legislative content to appropriations bills apply only
to the relevant fiscal year. Thus funds for the $3 billion program can only be provided on
a year-by-year basis.
5 Remarks of 9/11 Commission Lee Hamilton at a hearing, 9/11Commission
Recommendations for U.S. Diplomacy. Hearing, House International Relations Committee,
Aug. 24, 2004.

was involved in transporting North Korean uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6), the
feedstock for uranium enrichment centrifuges, to Libya.6
In addition to A.Q. Khan’s network, U.S. officials revealed the existence of
another illicit trafficking ring in January 2004, this one involved in illegally exporting
sensitive U.S. technology for Pakistan’s own nuclear weapons and missile programs.
In September 2004, an Israeli arms dealer resident in South Africa, Asher Karni,
pleaded guilty to five Federal felony charges related to his key role in a number of
unlicensed exports of sensitive dual-use U.S. technology to Pakistan via South Africa
and Dubai, including high speed switches called triggered spark gaps, which can be
used in nuclear weapons. Karni’s customer in Pakistan was an Islamabad-based
company, Pakland, owned by Humayun Khan (no relation to A.Q. Khan), with long-
standing ties to Pakistan’s military and nuclear establishment. U.S. officials say that
Karni’s Cape Town company also supplied missile-related and possibly nuclear-
related technology to India.7 (See details below).8
Congressional Concerns and Perspectives
In the face of continuing evidence that Pakistan remains involved in nuclear
proliferation activities, some Members of Congress and some policy analysts and
observers are concerned that the United States may be ignoring the lessons of the
1980s in again subordinating its nuclear nonproliferation interests to other policy
objectives. During the 108th Congress, these concerns were raised by some Members
of Congress in committee hearings and in proposed legislation that did not receive
Pending legislation in the 109th Congress likewise appears to reflect, in part, the
desire of some Members of Congress to recalibrate the balance between U.S.
counterterrorism and nonproliferation objectives. These initiatives would condition
U.S. assistance on more cooperation from Pakistan concerning A.Q. Khan’s network
and the curtailment of other actions by Pakistan to oppose or undermine U.S. efforts
to curb nuclear proliferation. (See details in section entitled “Legislation” at the end
of this report.)

6 Glenn Kessler, “North Korea May Have Sent Libya Nuclear Material, U.S. Tells Allies.”
Washington Post, Feb. 2, 2005: A1; David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, “Using Clues
From Libya to Study a Nuclear Mystery.” New York Times, March 31, 2005; “As Nuclear
Secrets Emerge, More Are Suspected.” New York Times, Dec. 26, 2004: 1, 12. For a
detailed summary based on court documents, see Jacob Blackford, “Asher Karni Case
Shows Weakness in Nuclear Export Controls.” September 8, 2004.
[ ht t p: / / www.i s i s -onl i ne.or g/ publ i c at i ons/ s out haf r i ca/ asher kar ni .ht ml ] .
7 John Huges, “Arrest at DIA Illuminates Nuke Technology Fears.” Denver Post, Jan. 13,

2004: A1; Murray Williams, “How SA Tip Set Up U.S. ‘Nuke’ Sting.” All Africa broadcast,

Jan. 14, 2004.
8 John Huges, “Arrest at DIA Illuminates Nuke Technology Fears.” Denver Post, Jan. 13,

2004: A1; Murray Williams, “How SA Tip Set Up U.S. ‘Nuke’ Sting.” All Africa broadcast,

Jan. 14, 2004.

This report briefly recounts previous failed efforts to reconcile conflicting
American regional security and nuclear nonproliferation policy objectives regarding
Pakistan; (2) documents A.Q. Khan’s role, whether with or without official
involvement, in supplying nuclear technology to “rogue” states and how these
activities escaped detection by U.S. intelligence agencies; (3) considers issues
regarding the nature, objectives, and viability of the military-dominated government
headed by President Pervez Musharraf; and, (4) outlines a series of unilateral and
multilateral U.S. options, with a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of
each, for gaining further nuclear nonproliferation cooperation from Pakistan and
forestalling future exports from Pakistan of nuclear and dual-use components,
materials, and technology. This report will not be further updated.
Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission:
“Hard Choices” or the Same Choices?
The 9/11 Commission Report emphasizes the need for “hard choices”and
“difficult long-term commitments” to Pakistan.9 The Report explicitly notes that the
need for a pragmatic approach inevitably involves compromises with other important
U.S. interests such as democracy and nuclear non-proliferation. The Report does not
address the issue of where the balance should be struck between supporting the
Musharraf government as a necessary means of fighting terrorism.
Perhaps because of its relatively narrow mandate, the 9/11 Commission focused
more on the urgency of maintaining a stable and cooperative government in
Islamabad that would remain a partner in the war against terrorism and less on
Pakistan’s role as a source of nuclear proliferation. In the view of the 9/11
Commission, maintaining close cooperation with Pakistan in the fight against Al
Qaeda and keeping Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities out of the hands of terrorists
depends critically on supporting President Pervez Musharraf’s vision of a moderate,
modernizing Islamic state.
The 9/11 Commission addressed only in an oblique manner the issue of
Pakistan’s past nuclear proliferation activities and the risk of further proliferation
emanating from Pakistan. The Report’s section on Pakistan acknowledges, but does
not dwell on, Pakistan’s continuing potential to be a source of technology and know-
how for other states or terrorist groups intent on acquiring nuclear weapons. It noted
President Musharraf’s repeated assurances that “Pakistan does not barter with its
nuclear technology,” but also observed that “proliferation concerns have been long-
A section of the 9/11 Commission Report dealing more generally with the threat
of nuclear proliferation takes note of Khan’s role in establishing illegal covert
networks for global transfer of nuclear technology and materials, but its
recommendations are not Pakistan-specific. Rather, the Report emphasizes
multilateral solutions based on “an international legal regime with universal

9 This section was prepared by Richard Cronin.

jurisdiction to enable the capture, interdiction, and prosecution of smugglers” by any
state that finds them operating covertly in its territory. The Report specifically calls
for expanding the 2003 Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and the 1991 “Nunn-
Lugar” Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program. The PSI emphasizes
international cooperation to interdict WMD and ballistic missile shipments, while the
CTR concentrates on securing nuclear weapons and other dangerous materials
scattered throughout the territories of the former Soviet Union, which could fall into
the hands of terrorists.10
Instead of hard choices, some observers judge that the Bush Administration and
Congress have little choice but to provide substantial assistance to Pakistan to bolster
Musharraf and to gain the closest possible antiterrorist cooperation from Islamabad,
without regard to issues such as democracy and nuclear proliferation. From this
perspective, the issue may be less one of choices than following the logic of
unpleasant realities. The hardest choices may in fact be those faced by President
Musharraf, given the broad public antipathy in Pakistan towards U.S. policy in the
Middle East, including the war in Iraq and support of Israel, and the widely held
misperception that the U.S. war on terrorism is in fact a war against Islam.
Past as Prologue: Pakistan and the Recurrent
Dilemma of Conflicting U.S. Policy Goals11
The effort to reconcile U.S. nuclear proliferation objectives towards Pakistan
with more immediate American regional and global security concerns has a long and
less than encouraging history. References by the 9/11 Report to Pakistan’s
perception of the United States as an unreliable ally relate directly to fundamental
differences in U.S. and Pakistani expectations of the alliance, and the consequent
unwillingness of several U.S. Administrations to support Pakistan in its wars with
India in 1965 and 1971.12

10 Eleven industrialized democracies — nine NATO countries plus Australia and Japan —
endorsed a “Statement of Interdiction Principles” in Paris in September 2003. Since then,
many additional countries have also endorsed the principles, and several exercises have been
conducted by U.S., European, Australian, and Japanese forces. U.S. Department of State,
Bureau of Nonproliferation, “Proliferation Security Initiative.”
[]. See links for additional information.
11 This section was prepared by Richard Cronin.
12 When India and Pakistan went to war in 1965 and 1971, the United States not only refused
to assist Pakistan but cut off military assistance to both countries, an act which hurt Pakistan
far more than India. Pakistani resentment of U.S. policy in the 1971-1972 war was
particularly deep, because of Pakistan’s role in facilitating a secret trip to Beijing by
National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger in July 1971, just a few months before the war
with India, which led to the U.S. opening to China. The Nixon Administration disapproved
of the military government of Pakistan’s brutal efforts to suppress a rebellion in East
Pakistan, and believed that India, which it viewed as pro-Soviet, was exploiting the
situation, but declined Pakistan’s request for military support when its forces became
surrounded by the Indian army. Dennis Kux, The United States and Pakistan: Disenchanted

India’s 1974 Nuclear Test and the Beginning of the U.S.
Policy Dilemma
Pakistan emerged as a major source of nuclear proliferation concern following
India’s underground test of 1974, itself a delayed response to China’s 1965 nuclear
test. Because its technological base was far smaller than India’s, Pakistan
concentrated on obtaining nuclear materials and technology from abroad, and by
whatever means. Successful U.S. diplomatic efforts in the late 1970s to prevent
France from delivering a uranium reprocessing plant to Pakistan, which could turn
spent reactor fuel into plutonium marked the beginning of a long struggle to prevent
Pakistan from acquiring what some, including the then-Prime Minister of Pakistan,13
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, were already calling the “Islamic bomb”
Unfortunately, the U.S. effort to close off Pakistan’s ability to employ the
reprocessing route to a nuclear bomb was already being undercut by A.Q. Khan’s
initiation of a secret program to produce high-enriched uranium, the alternative kind
of nuclear weapons material. While working at a European nuclear facility in the
Netherlands, URENCO, Khan had stolen the plans for an uranium enrichment
facility. In 1983 a Dutch court convicted Khan of nuclear espionage in absentia, an14
action that was later overturned on a technicality. Because of Khan’s success in
acquiring the necessary materials and technology from abroad, including items
obtained illegally from the United States, American efforts to prevent Pakistan from
acquiring nuclear weapons became much more difficult. Eventually U.S. efforts
were overtaken by Cold War developments that caused successive U.S.
administrations and Congress to flinch repeatedly as Islamabad transgressed each
new U.S. “red line.”

12 (...continued)
Allies. Washington: Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Baltimore, Johns Hopkins
University Press, 2001. P. 194.
13 Bhutto was an urbane Pakistani aristocrat and a Muslim from the Shi’a minority, but by
no means a radical Islamist. In his autobiography written in a jail cell following his
overthrow by General Zia al-Huq in 1977, Bhutto partly justified his role in seeking a
nuclear weapons capability for Pakistan by observing that there was a Christian bomb, a
Jewish bomb, and a Hindu bomb, and vowing that Pakistan would build an Islamic bomb.
In this particular context, Bhutto’s use of the phrase appears related to his resentment of the
perceived discrimination against Pakistan on the part of the United States and other western
countries, and his belief that Israel and India enjoyed western favor because of bias against
Islam. He also appeared to believe that Pakistan’s acquisition of a nuclear weapons
capability would garner more economic and political support from Middle East and Persian
Gulf countries. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, “If I Am Assassinated...”. New Delhi, India, etc.:
Vikas Publishing House, 1979.
14 “Timeline: Pakistan’s Nuclear Program.”
[ asiapcf/02/ 04/paki stan.nuclear.timeline.reut/].

Key Role of Congress in Shaping Basic U.S. Nuclear
Nonproliferation Policy
From the time of India’s first “peaceful” underground nuclear test in 1974,
Congress has played the leading role in formulating the legislative parameters
governing U.S. nonproliferation policy. Pakistan’s efforts to acquire technology from
abroad, as well as concern that the Ford Administration had not responded adequately
to India’s abuse of U.S. and Canadian peaceful nuclear assistance, led Congress in
the late 1970s to enact two landmark nuclear nonproliferation provisions to the
Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) of 1961, amended. Section 669 of the FAA, first
enacted in 1976 and expanded in 1977 (Symington-Glenn Amendment),15 banned
U.S. economic, and military assistance, and export credits to countries that have not
placed all of their nuclear facilities and materials under the inspection regime of the
United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or that deliver, receive,
acquire or transfer nuclear enrichment technology. Section 670 (Glenn Amendment),16
first adopted in 1977, provided the same sanctions in the case of countries that
acquire or transfer nuclear reprocessing technology or explode or transfer a nuclear
device. These provisions, amended, are now contained in Sections 101 and 102 of
the Arms Export Control Act (AECA).17
Congress had India as well as Pakistan in mind when it enacted the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Act (NNPA) of 1978, which also generally enjoyed the support of
the Carter Administration. The NNPA, among other things, bans the sale of U.S.
uranium fuel to countries that do not accept the imposition of “full-scope” IAEA
inspections and safeguards. Because of India’s unwillingness to accept these terms,
the United States abrogated a 30-year bilateral agreement under which it had
committed to sell low-enriched uranium fuel for India’s U.S.-supplied Tarapur18
Atomic Power Station.
Alternating U.S. Policy Priorities Towards Pakistan
The United States chose its nuclear proliferation interests over its regional
security interests in April 1979, when President Carter cut off U.S. assistance to
Pakistan under Section 669 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, amended,
following the discovery that Pakistan had a secret uranium enrichment program.
Later, in November of the same year, U.S.-Pakistan relations reached a nadir after a

15 P.L. 94-329, June 30, 1976 and P.L. 95-92, August 4, 1977.
16 P.L. 95-92.
17 Revised versions of these sanctions remain as Section 101(Nuclear Enrichment Transfers;
22 U.S.C. 2799aa) and Section 102 (Nuclear Reprocessing Transfers, Illegal Exports for
Nuclear Explosive Devices, Transfers of Nuclear Explosive Devices, and Nuclear
Detonations; 22 U.S.C. 2799aa-1) of the Arms Control Export Act, amended. More detail
is contained in CRS Report RL31502, Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, and Missile
Proliferation Sanctions: Selected Current Law, by Dianne E. Rennack, p. 9-11.
18 Richard Cronin and Warren Donnelly, “Congress and Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy,”
in Congress and Foreign Policy, 1980. Committee Print, House International Relations
Committee, 1981.

mob attacked and burned the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and several other U.S.
facilities in response to false reports, possibly spread by the Iranian revolutionary
leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini, that the United States was somehow involved in a
takeover of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by Islamic extremists.19
The policy of giving priority to nonproliferation in relations with Pakistan
proved short-lived. As in the case of the 9/11 attacks some three decades later, the
December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan created a quick reversal of U.S.
nuclear proliferation and other security policy priorities. President Carter’s National
Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, set the tone in a memo of December 26,
1979, when he reportedly told the President that the United States had no choice but
to repair its then-tattered relations with Pakistan. Reportedly, Brzezinski told the
President that gaining Pakistan’s support against the Soviet occupation “will require
... more guarantees to it [Pakistan], more arms aid, and, alas, a decision that our
security policy cannot be dictated by our nonproliferation policy.”20
Pakistan’s key role in the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan continued to trump
U.S. nuclear nonproliferation concerns until the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989.
Congress supported this reordering of U.S. policy priorities in 1981, by adding a new
Section 620E of the FAA, which gave the President qualified authority to waive for
a period of six-years the provisions of Section 669. Congress annually appropriated
funds for a six-year, $3.2 billion program of economic and military assistance to
Pakistan, much like the five-year, $3 billion program requested by the Bush
Administration for the period FY2005-2009. Despite Washington’s periodic
warnings, Pakistan not only continued to develop a nuclear weapons capability but
companies connected with its nuclear program, were caught trying to export dual-use
materials such as krytrons, used to trigger nuclear explosions, and specially hardened
steel, in violation of U.S. export control laws. In 1986 Pakistan’s military ruler,
President Zia ul-Haq, reportedly told an interviewer “It is our right to obtain the
technology. And when we acquire this technology, the Islamic world will possess it
with us.”21

19 Two Americans, a Marine defending the embassy and an airman in his apartment, and two
Pakistani employees died in the attacks, but more than one hundred Americans and
Pakistanis narrowly escaped burning to death. The Pakistani army stood by for several hours
and only arrived on the scene after the riot was over. Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret
History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10,

2001 (New York: Penguin Press, 2004): 21-23.

20 Ibid., p. 51.
21 “Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons — A Chronology.” Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
series, Global
[ h t t p : / / obal s ecur i t y.or g/ wmd/ wor l d/ paki st an/ nuke-chr m]

Failed Efforts to Reconcile U.S. Cold War and Nuclear
Proliferation Objectives: The 1985 “Pressler Amendment”
and the 1990 Aid Cutoff
In 1985, in the face of incontrovertible evidence that Pakistan was continuing
to develop a nuclear weapons capability, despite repeated denials by President Zia ul-
Haq, the Reagan Administration agreed to accept a new provision to U.S. foreign
assistance law, the so-called Pressler Amendment, Sec. 620E(e) of the FAA,
requiring the President to certify annually that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear
explosive device as a condition of U.S. assistance. President Reagan and President
George H. W. made such findings for three years after passage of the amendment, but
each was successively more circumscribed. In 1990, President Bush informed
Congress that he could no longer make such a certification, and that most economic
and all military assistance to Pakistan would be suspended.22
The 9/11 Commission’s references to Pakistan’s belief that past U.S. support
has been self-serving relate in large part to this development, even though Islamabad
had ample warning that its nuclear activities were putting its assistance in jeopardy.
Although the U.S. Government denied the charge, Pakistani commentators asserted
that the imposition of sanctions was directly related to 1989 withdrawal of the Soviet
army from Afghanistan, which made Pakistan no longer critical to U.S. regional
security policy.23
India and Pakistan’s May 1998 Nuclear Tests and the Decline
of Sanctions as a U.S. Nonproliferation Policy Approach
When India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons in May 1998, Congress and the
Clinton Administration moved with a haste surprising to many observers to waive
most of the proliferation-related economic and military sanctions required by U.S.
foreign assistance law on both countries. (Pakistan subsequently became ineligible
for most forms of U.S. aid for other reasons — see below). The reaction of the
President and Congress appeared to reflect several factors, including a decline in the
belief of the efficacy of sanctions once the tests were a fait accompli, efforts by U.S.
agricultural interests to prevent a loss of markets, and the rising influence of the India
caucus in Congress.
Legislation passed in July 1998 made Pakistan eligible for agricultural export
credits to buy U.S. winter wheat, while legislation signed into law in October that
year, “The India and Pakistan Relief Act,” gave the President the authority to waive
various economic sanctions for one year. Later in October 1998 Congress made this

22 Peter Blood (Ed.), “The United States and the West,” in Pakistan: A Country Study.
Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, Research Completed April 1994.
[ ]
23 For a brief chronology of U.S. nonproliferation policy and actions from 1976 to 1999, see
Institute for International Economics, “Chronology of Events,” Case Study 79-2, U.S. v.
Pakistan, Case Studies in Sanctions and Terrorism.
[ ht t p: / / www.i i e .com/ r esear c h/ t opi cs/ s anct i ons/ paki s t a m] .

authority permanent and also extended it, with conditions, to include military
assistance, foreign military sales credits, and exports to high technology entities, in
the FY2000 Department of Defense appropriation. India was able to take advantage
of many of these relaxations of sanctions but Pakistan remained ineligible for most
U.S. assistance on two other grounds: General Musharraf’s October 1999 military
coup; and the fact that Pakistan had fallen into arrears in its debt repayments to the
United States.24
U.S. Policy Reversal After 9/11
The 9/11 terrorist attacks, as in the case of the December 1979 Soviet invasion
of Afghanistan, immediately changed Pakistan’s status from that of a problem
country with which the United States had strained relations to a critical regional ally,
but they put the U.S. Government once again at a disadvantage in dealing with
Pakistan’s nuclear activities. A number of nonproliferation experts agree with the
critical importance of keeping Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and materials out of the
reach of terrorists, but they disagree with the Commission’s assumption that
President Musharraf is a sufficiently reliable partner, absent a more forthcoming
attitude from the Pakistani government on the activities of A.Q. Khan and his
network. Others question the whether Pakistan is fully committed to fighting the war
against terrorism, let alone exercising nuclear restraint.
Among the most serious sources of concern is the well-documented past
involvement of some members of the Army’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
organization with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and the possibility that some officers
retain sympathies with both groups. In the words of one analyst, “...Pakistan’s
official alliance with the United States in the war on terror has only increased the
danger posed by al-Qaeda sympathizers within its nuclear establishment.”25 These
considerations are seen as a significant factor in Musharraf’s refusal to provide
adequate information about A.Q. Khan’s network. Some observers argue that
without additional nonproliferation policy initiatives beyond those already adopted
by the Bush Administration, embracing and supporting Musharraf is an inadequate
response to danger posed by Pakistan’s nuclear establishment and its past role as
possibly the most important single source of nuclear proliferation to radical states.
Even if President Musharraf’s assurances are taken at face value, Pakistan
remains a significant source of proliferation risk. Still outside the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty, Pakistan is not bound by that treaty’s prohibitions on
nuclear weapon states transferring nuclear-weapons related technology or materials
to any other state (or encouraging or assisting any state). It also is not a member of
the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, a informal organization of countries producing nuclear
materials and technology that has established guidelines for nuclear exports. While
Pakistani leaders have proclaimed that their nuclear weapons are secure and that
Pakistan has not been involved in selling or transferring nuclear weapons technology,

24 CRS Report RS20995, India and Pakistan: U.S. Economic Sanctions, by Dianne E.
25 Graham Allison, “Tick, Tick, Tick.” The Atlantic Monthly, Oct. 2004: 58-60.

this claim is cast into doubt by the activities of Dr. A.Q. Khan over more than a
Details on Pakistan’s Proliferation Activities26
Pakistan has been involved in the covert acquisition of nuclear-related
technologies since at least the mid-1970s. Khan, a German-educated metallurgist
worked in the early 1970s for a contractor to a European nuclear consortium,
URENCO, located in the Netherlands. Reportedly, after India’s 1974 underground
nuclear test, Pakistan’s then-Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto asked Khan to head
up a Pakistani uranium enrichment project. Khan returned to Pakistan in 1976 with
secret plans for a Dutch-designed uranium enrichment centrifuge assembly.27
The A.Q. Khan Network
Because Pakistan lacked an adequate industrial base or sufficient scientific
expertise to build an enrichment facility from domestically available resources, Khan
began almost immediately to put together a network to obtain necessary materials and
technology from abroad. Evidence concerning any official Pakistani involvement in
the network remains largely circumstantial. Khan’s efforts were foiled a number of
times by the U.S. and European governments, but it became clear by the mid-1980s
that Pakistan was making significant progress towards the ability to produce
weapons-grade uranium. What was not understood, however, that Khan also started
using his network personally to reap millions of U.S. dollars by providing nuclear
knowhow, technology, and materials to other countries seeking a nuclear weapons
It is now clear that A.Q. Khan and several other scientists from the Khan
Research Laboratories sold nuclear technology from the 1980s through 2002 to
several countries, including Iran, Libya, and North Korea.28 President Bush, in a
speech that focused on proliferation at the National Defense University on February

11, 2004, outlined some aspects of Khan’s network:

!Khan led the network, operating mostly out of Pakistan
!A factory in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, manufactured centrifuge parts
(Scomi Precision Engineering)

26 This section was prepared by Sharon Squassoni and Richard Cronin.
27 “Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD): A.Q. Khan.” Global Security.Org
[ h t t p : / / obal s ecur i t y.or g/ wmd/ wor l d/ paki st an/ m. ]
28 Pakistan’s investigation also included Mohammed Farooq, who supervised Khan Research
Laboratory (KRL)’s contacts with foreign suppliers; Yasin Chohan, a metallurgist at KRL;
Major Islam ul-Haq, a personal staff officer; Nazeer Ahmed, a director at KRL; and Saeed
Ahmed, head of centrifuge design. Between 11 and 25 employees of KRL were questioned,
as well as the generals in charge of security at KRL, General Beg, and General Karamat.
Simon Henderson, “Link Leaks,” National Review Online, January 19, 2004.

!BSA Tahir, a Sri Lankan businessman, ran SMB computers in Dubai
as a front company
!Network operatives in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa
purchased other components.
Much of the information about exactly what Khan sold has been gathered from
press accounts; although Khan reportedly signed a 12-page confession in early
February 2004, the text of that confession has not been made public. Moreover, it
appears that the confession was written under pressure, which could further distort
the truth about Khan’s activities.
Khan’s confession came at the end of a two-month investigation by the
Pakistani government into his activities, which was sparked by two related
proliferation investigations: Iran was pressured by the IAEA in the fall of 2003 to
reveal its foreign sources of centrifuge equipment, if only to support its argument that
the presence of highly enriched uranium came from foreign contamination and not
its own production of HEU; and Libya renounced its WMD programs in December
2003, revealing all its foreign sources of procurement. Only in February 2004 did
Pakistan admit that nuclear technology was sold to those two countries. The
Pakistani government and the North Korean government continue to deny any
transfers of nuclear technology between Pakistan and North Korea. Yet, U.S.
officials have testified before Congress that Khan provided such technology to North
Korea.29 President Bush stated in his February 11th speech that “Khan and his
associates provided Iran and Libya and North Korea with designs for Pakistan’s older
centrifuges, as well as designs for more advanced and efficient models.”30 One
popular theory is that Pakistan bartered uranium enrichment technology for missile
technology from North Korea, but President Musharraf has stated that “whatever we
bought from North Korea is with money.”31
Khan reportedly sold a full range of technology — from blueprints and
components to full centrifuge assemblies, uranium hexafluoride feedstock, and,
reportedly, a nuclear weapon design. Assistance to Iran began in the late 1980s and
continued at least until the mid-1990s.32 Assistance to Libya began in the early1990s

29 See, for example, George Tenet’s testimony on February 24, 2004 to the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence that “We...believe Pyongyang is pursuing a production-scale
enrichment program based on technology provided by A.Q. Khan.” The Worldwide Threat

2004: Challenges in a Changing Global Environment.

30 “President Announces New Measures to Counter the Threat of WMD,” Remarks by the
President, Fort Lesley J. McNair, National Defense University, Washington, D.C.
[ ht t p: / / www.whi t e news/ r el eases/ 2004/ 02/ ml ]
31 “Pakistan Rejects Nuclear Inspection,” London Financial Times, February 18, 2004. See
CRS Report RL31900, Weapons of Mass Destruction: Trade Between North Korea and
Pakistan, by Sharon Squassoni, for additional evidence related to a barter arrangement.
32 Iran told the IAEA that its centrifuge enrichment program began in 1987; Lt Gen Kidwai,
who briefed journalists on February 1, 2004 on Khan’s confession, reportedly stated that
cooperation began in 1989 and Khan transferred technology from 1989 to 1991. “Key
Pakistani Is Said to Admit Atom Transfers,” New York Times, February 2, 2004. The IAEA

and continued into 2002. Assistance to North Korea reportedly began in the mid-
1990s and may have continued until 2003. However, a German intelligence
investigation concluded as long ago as 1991 that Iraq, and possibly Iran and North
Korea, obtained uranium melting information from Pakistan in the late 1980s.33 A
Pakistani official involved in Khan’s investigation reportedly said North Korea
ordered P-1 centrifuge components from 1997 to 2000.34 Beyond blueprints,
components, full assemblies of centrifuges, and low-enriched uranium, Libya also
received — startlingly — a nuclear weapons design.35 In the case of Iran and Libya,
Khan provided technology for an advanced centrifuge design (the P-2).36 There is no
confirmation that the nuclear weapon design Libya received in 2001 or 2002 is from
Pakistan, but some sources have reported that the design contained Chinese text and
step-by-step instructions for assembling a 1960s HEU implosion device, which could
indicate that Khan passed on a design Pakistan is long-rumored to have received from
Most nuclear proliferation experts contend that A.Q. Khan must have had
significant logistical support from elements in the Pakistani military and the civilian
nuclear establishment, whether acting in support of Pakistani security policy or his
own desire for private gain, or both. In what appeared to be a carefully worded
response at a December 21, 2004 press interview, Secretary of State Colin Powell
indicated that the Administration accepted President Musharraf’s statement that he
had no knowledge of Khan’s activities, but Administration officials have also
indicated that U.S. intelligence officials have not been able to gain access to Khan.38

32 (...continued)
report, GOV/2004/11, “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic
Republic of Iran,” February 24, 2004, says that Iran received P-2 drawings from “foreign
sources” in 1994, p.8.
33 “Agencies Trace Some Iraqi URENCO Know-How to Pakistan Re-Export,” Nucleonics
Week, November 28, 1991, pp. 1, 7-8. See also “CIA Assessment on DPRK Presumes
Massive Outside Help on Centrifuges,” Nuclear Fuel, November 25, 2002.
34 “Scientist Claimed Nuclear Equipment Was Old, Official Says,” Los Angeles Times,
February 10, 2004.
35 The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) report, GOV/2004/12,
“Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab
Jamahiriya,” February 20, 2004 states that in 1997, foreign manufacturers provided 20 pre-
assembled L-1 (equivalent to P-1) centrifuges and components for an additional 200 L-1
centrifuges, including process gas feeding and withdrawal systems, UF6 cylinders, and
frequency converters.
36 Libya received two of the P-2-type centrifuges in 2000 and placed an order for 10,000
more. Iran has claimed that it received P-2 plans, but no centrifuge components, and tried
to develop a carbon composite rotor on its own, with no success. See the IAEA’s
GOV/2004/11 and GOV/2004/12 reports.
37 “Warhead Blueprints Link Libya Project to Pakistan Figure,” New York Times, February

4, 2004; and “Libyan Arms Designs Traced Back to China,” Washington Post, February 15,


38 U.S. Department of State, “Interview At Christian Science Monitor’s Newsmaker Press

Other Nuclear Suppliers
Questions about President Musharraf’s credibility appear to have been
reinforced by the arrest in Denver in January 2004 of Asher Karni, a former Israeli
military officer and military technology trader who resides in South Africa, for
illegally exporting U.S. dual-use technology to Pakistan. U.S. authorities arrested
Karni when he got off an international flight at Denver International Airport, on his
way to a skiing holiday. Karni was charged with violating U.S. export control laws
by using a front company and a bogus South African recipient to ship to Pakistan 66
triggered spark gaps — high speed electrical switches that can be used as detonators
for nuclear weapons as well as for igniting rocket motors and separating missile
stages. At the time, Karni was not aware that his movements were being monitored
by U.S. agencies, and that, at the request of U.S. Commerce Department officials,
the triggered spark gaps had been rendered useless by the manufacturer, PerkinElmer
Optoelecronics, of Salem, Massachusetts. On earlier occasions, Karni was more
successful, including a 2003 shipment of sophisticated oscilloscopes to Pakistan that
can be used in nuclear weapons research. 39 U.S. officials disclosed on Friday, April
8, 2005, that Karni had entered a sealed admission of guilt to five Federal felony
changes and had provided information about the export of the triggered spark gaps,
as well as “sophisticated electronic equipment to government agencies in India, some
of whom are involved in nuclear weapons and missile research.”40
In mid-2003, after failed attempts to buy the triggered spark gaps directly were
rebuffed by a French company and PerkinElmer, both of which asked for proof that
Karni had an necessary export license from the Commerce Department, Karni
engaged a New Jersey-based front company, Giza Industries, to purchase the items
under false pretenses. According to U.S. officials, Karni and Khan had shipped these
and other dual use items on the U.S. Export control list using a chain of companies
in New Jersey, South Africa, the U.A.E., and Pakistan. Karni engaged a New Jersey
company, Giza Technologies, Inc., of Secaucus, New Jersey, as a front purchaser,
and took advantage of the fact dual use items can be exported to South Africa
without an export license because South Africa is a member of the Nuclear Supplier
Group. Because the triggered spark gaps are also used in a medical device
(“lithotripter”) that breaks up kidney stones, the shipment was addressed to a South

38 (...continued)
Briefing Luncheon.” Dec 21, 2004; “As Nuclear Secrets Emerge, More Are Suspected.”
New York Times, Dec. 26, 2004, op. cit.
39 David S. Cloud, “U.S. Says Banned Technology Went to Pakistan and India.” New York
Times, April 9, 2005: A11. For a detailed summary based on court documents, see Jacob
Blackford, “Asher Karni Case Shows Weakness in Nuclear Export Controls.” September

8, 2004, [].

40 David S. Cloud, “U.S. Says Banned Technology Went to Pakistan and India.” New York
Times, April 9, 2005: A11. For a detailed summary based on court documents, see Jacob
Blackford, “Asher Karni Case Shows Weakness in Nuclear Export Controls.” September

8, 2004, [].

African hospital when it left Giza Technologies. Karni’s company, Top-Cape
Technology, of Cape Town was the actual recipient in South Africa.41
The fact that Karni a sold other sensitive dual use technology to two laboratories
connected with India’s space program that are on the U.S. Commerce Department
Entities List — organizations which are barred from receiving certain dual use
exports — suggests to some observers that additional countries, including Iran, also
may have used the network.42 Reportedly, of even more concern to U.S. officials,
Humayun Khan was known to be close to the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim
Conference (AJKMC), an organization that supports Pakistani militants fighting
Indian forces in Kashmir. The freight forwarder’s tracking number indicated that the
package was picked up in Islamabad by an employee of the AJKMC Lithography Aid
Society, an organization purportedly connected to the Agha Khan Foundation, a
charitable organization which maintains a world-wide network of hospitals. 43 The
real purposes of the AJKMC Lithography Aid Society may be indicated by the fact
that it apparently confused lithotripters with lithography, a printing process.
Similarities in the Aid Society’s stationary and address suggest it is just a cover
address for Humayun Khan’s Pakland PME.44
U.S. officials reportedly have said that because of the large numbers of high
speed electrical switches that had been sought, it seemed likely that they were
destined for the Pakistani military and possibly for other countries that were
attempting to produce nuclear weapons. Reportedly, U.S. investigators and analysts
have not been able to connect the government of Pakistan, which denies any
involvement in the illegal exports, directly to the transactions.45 Reportedly,
however, some U.S. officials have said in not-for-attribution interviews that the
same figures in the Pakistani military who they suspect placed the orders for the
triggered spark gaps and other sensitive technology via the Arni-Humayun Khan may
also have worked with A.Q. Khan.46
Some observers suggest, however, that the real problem is not proving the
connection, but rather the reluctance of the U.S. government to risk jeopardizing
Pakistan’s anti-terrorism cooperation by aggressively pursuing the case with
Pakistan. In early January 2005, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell told the press

41 “Pakistani Admits Ties to Nuclear Suspect.” Associated Press, Feb. 20, 2004.
[ onal/AP-Paki stan-Nuclear-T rader.html ].
42 “U.S. Records: Trader Aided India With Banned Missile Parts.” Dow Jones International
News, Feb. 19, 2004; “U.S. Scientists in India to Discuss Space Cooperation.” Dow Jones
International News, June 19, 2004.
43 Jacob Blackford, “Asher Karni Case Shows Weaknesses in Nuclear Export Controls.”
September 2004. ISIS-Online. [
southafrica/asherkarni.html ].
44 Blackford, “Asher Karni Case Shows Weaknesses,” ibid. ISIS-Online.
[ ht t p: / / www.i s i s -onl i ne.or g/ publ i c at i ons/ s out haf r i ca/ asher kar ni .ht ml ] .
45 David S. Cloud, “U.S. Says Banned Technology Went to Pakistan and India.” New York
Times, April 9, 2005: A11.
46 Josh Meyer, “Illegal Nuclear Deals Alleged.” Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2005.

that U.S. officials “have presented evidence to Pakistan’s leaders of Pakistani
involvement in the spread of nuclear weapons technology,” but he gave no indication
of Pakistan’s response, if any.47 Reportedly, according to other unnamed U.S.
officials, the reluctance of senior policymakers to pursue the case against Humayun
Khan reflects “a larger tug-of-war between federal agencies that enforce U.S.
nonproliferation laws and policy-makers who consider Pakistan too important to
As in the A.Q. Khan case, the reported handling of this case by U.S.
policymakers appears to suggest that American dependance on Pakistan for
cooperation against terrorism has significantly influenced U.S. nuclear
nonproliferation policy. Two apparent aspects of U.S. policy concern, or are likely
to concern, critics of the Administration’s priorities.
First, the reported struggle between the State Department, on the one hand, and
the Commerce Department and U.S. Customs service, on the other, over how
aggressively the United States should pressure Pakistan for cooperation, creates a
perception that nonproliferation policy has lower priority than antiterrorism
cooperation with Islamabad. Reportedly, the State Department successfully blocked
a request by the Commerce Department and the Department of Homeland Security
to send investigators to Pakistan.49 By reportedly not making forceful efforts to gain
access to Humayun Khan in Pakistan, the United States may be reducing its ability
to determine if any of the technology procured by Asher Karni’s Pakistani partner
was transferred to other countries. U.S. investigators are said to be involved in a
major effort to follow leads in South Africa, the U.A.E., India, and elsewhere, and
the Administration has made “high-level” requests for cooperation directly to
Musharraf, but some “senior officials” reportedly have complained in press
interviews that these requests have not been made “forcefully or publicly.”50 In April
2005 a Washington, DC, federal grand jury indicted Humayun Khan, who remains
at liberty in Pakistan, both for conspiracy to violate U.S. export control laws, and for
violating U.S. laws on three occasions. A conviction on all charges could cause
Khan to be sentenced to incarceration for a maximum of 35 years.51
Second, some Members of Congress and proliferation experts argue that it is a
mistake to acknowledge even tacitly nuclear weapons state status of Pakistan and
India, or to acquiesce in continued pursuit of “vertical proliferation” by both
countries through efforts to improve their existing nuclear weapons capability. In the
context of the five-year NPT Review Conference that opened at the United Nations

47 Matthew Pennington, “Relatives of Detained Nuclear Scientists Protest as Pakistan
Investigates Leaks, Denies Proliferation.” Associated Press Newswires, Jan. 20, 2004.
48 Josh Meyer, “Pakistan Linked to Purchase of Weapons Components: Investigators on the
Trail of Oscilloscopes, Switches.” Los Angeles Times, April 3, 2005.
49 Josh Meyer, “Pakistan Linked to Purchase of Weapons Components: Investigators on the
Trail of Oscilloscopes, Switches.” Los Angeles Times, April 3, 2005.
50 Josh Meyer, “Illegal Nuclear Deals Alleged.” Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2005.
51 Jim Kouri, “Feds Nail Pakistani Businessman for Nuclear Detonator Trafficking.”, April 17, 2005.

in early May 2005, Joseph Cirincione, the head of the Nonproliferation project of the
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, reportedly warned that allowing India
and Pakistan to expand their arsenals of nuclear weapons without international
oversight or the imposition of sanctions will result in a proliferation “chain
Reported comments by U.S. officials in early 2005 indicate the reluctant
acceptance by the Administration that Pakistan will continue to seek upgrade its
nuclear capability, including possible future attempts to illegally export technology
from the United States. While U.S. investigators and prosecutors are aggressively
seeking to stop efforts by individuals and countries to obtain sensitive controlled U.S.
technology, senior Administration officials reportedly say that the U.S. government
has little leverage over Pakistan. In May 2005, U.S. officials who insisted on
anonymity reportedly explained to a journalist that the Administration believed its
options for putting pressure on Musharraf were few, because Pakistani cooperation
remained crucial in the war on terrorism. One official reportedly made a distinction
between horizontal proliferation to would-be nuclear powers and terrorist, and
Pakistan’s efforts to enhance its existing nuclear capabilities. “It’s one thing for
them to cooperate with us to stop [nuclear components] from going elsewhere, such
as Iran,” the U.S. official reportedly said, “but they will never cooperate with us on
efforts to stop things that they are trying to get. They’ve got their own program,
which they are trying to keep.”53
Intelligence Issues54
It is not possible to describe from open sources what the U.S. intelligence
community may have known, and when, about the A.Q. Khan network, but it is
possible to date some U.S. approaches to Pakistan on this matter from press reports.
In addition, it is possible to piece together hints of Pakistani collaboration in the
nuclear field with the three countries in question. Finally, semi-annual, unclassified
reports to Congress on proliferation (so-called Section 721 reports) from 1997 to the
present may indicate what the intelligence community might have known.
U.S. officials reportedly approached Pakistani officials in 2000 with suspicions
about activities conducted by Khan Research Laboratory (KRL) scientists. Pakistan
reportedly responded with an investigation, forcing Khan into early retirement in
March 2001.55 Shortly after Khan’s dismissal, Deputy Secretary of State Armitage
was quoted by the Financial Times as saying that “people who were employed by the
nuclear agency and have retired” could be spreading nuclear technology to other

52 James Kitfield, “NPT Toters Amidst Growing Nuclear Threats.” National Journal, May

16, 2005: 1462-1469.

53 Josh Meyer, “Illegal Nuclear Deals Alleged.” Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2005.
54 This section prepared by Sharon Squassoni.
55 “Pakistan informed US of ‘personal’ nuclear technology transfer,” Agence France-Presse,
December 25, 2002 (based on report from Jiji Press news agency). According to this and
other reports, the apparent tip-off was tens of thousands of dollars deposited into the
personal bank accounts of Pakistani scientists at Kahuta (Khan Research Laboratories).

states, including North Korea.56 However, a senior U.S. nonproliferation official
explained weeks later that Armitage’s statement led to confusion about the
cooperation; that it was really limited to missile cooperation.57 President Musharraf
told reporters in 2004 that the information U.S. officials gave him several years ago
was not specific enough for him to take action.
Reports of extensive official cooperation between Pakistan and the three
countries might also have informed the intelligence community’s assessment.
Pakistan reportedly signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Iran in 1986,
although the terms of that agreement are unknown, and Iranian scientists received
training in Pakistan in 1988. Libyan funding of the Pakistani nuclear weapons
program in the early years long has been alleged, most notably in a 1981 book by
Steve Weissman and Herbert Krosney called The Islamic Bomb.58 Finally, Pakistan’s
well-documented missile cooperation with North Korea beginning in the early 1990s,
as well as A.Q. Khan’s dozen or so trips to North Korea were certainly known to the
intelligence community.
Pakistan’s Absence in U.S. Intelligence Reports on
Despite the existence of intelligence information and rumors in the open
literature concerning significant Pakistani contacts with radical states known to be
seeking nuclear weapons, Congress has received little information on this issue in
unclassified reports from intelligence agencies. The CIA’s semi-annual reports to
Congress on the acquisition of technology related to weapons of mass destruction
(Section 721 of FY1997 Intelligence Authorization Act) do not highlight Pakistani
involvement in supplying WMD technology. Pakistan is addressed as a country
acquiring technology from 1997 to the first half of 2002 and then no longer appears
in the reports as a country of proliferation concern.59 China, Russia, and North
Korea, are regularly included as key suppliers, but Pakistan has never been included
in this list. The first time Pakistan is mentioned as a potential new supplier of60
technology is for the report ending June 2000.” The report covering the period to

56 “US Fears North Korea Could Gain Nuclear Capability Through Pakistan,” Financial
Times, June 1, 2001.
57 “North Korea Got a Little Help from Neighbors — Secret Nuclear Program Tapped
Russian Suppliers and Pakistani Know-How,” Wall Street Journal Europe, October 21,

2002; “North Korean-Pakistan Collusion Said Limited to KRL and Missiles,” Nuclear Fuel,

June 25, 2001.
58 Weissman, Steve and Krosney, Herbert, The Islamic Bomb, Times Books: NY, 1981.
59 This may be because countries with substantial advanced conventional weapons and
weapons of mass destruction programs are excluded from the reports, as well as countries
with little acquisition activity of concern.
60 In the section called “Trends” of the January to June 2000 Section 721 report: “... as their
domestic capabilities grow, traditional recipients of WMD and missile technology could
emerge as new suppliers of technology and expertise. Many of these countries — such as
India, Iran and Pakistan — do not adhere to the export restraints embodied in such supplier

June 2002 addresses “Emerging State and Non-State Suppliers,” but neither Pakistan
nor A.Q. Khan is mentioned by name. The text states that traditional recipients of
WMD technology might follow North Korea’s lead in supplying such technology to
other countries or non-state actors. Additionally:
Even in cases where states take action to stem such transfers, there are growing
numbers of knowledgeable individuals or non-state purveyors of WMD-related
materials and technology who are able to act outside the constraints of
governments. Such non-state actors are increasingly capable of providing
technology and equipment that previously could only be supplied directly by
countries with established capabilities.
South Asia is first mentioned as a region of key suppliers in the report covering
January to June 2003. However, even in that report, there is no mention of a
connection between South Asia, Iran, Libya, or North Korea. In the sections on Iran
and North Korea, there is no information on foreign suppliers, and the section on
Libya refers just to Libya seeking “technical exchanges” for dual-use equipment.
A.Q. Khan is finally mentioned in the Section 721 report ending December 2004
(publication mid-2004):
The exposure of the A.Q. Khan network and its role in supplying nuclear
technology to Libya, Iran, and North Korea illustrate one form of this threat, but
commercial purveyors of dual-use technologies who routinely seek to circumvent
international export control regimes to deliver WMD-related equipment and61
material to WMD-aspirant countries are of grave concern as well.
Transfers to Iran. By and large, the U.S. intelligence community appears not
to have identified Pakistan as a significant source of nuclear technology for Iran.
Concerns about a potential Iranian nuclear weapons program date back to the 1970s,
with a hiatus during the years of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1989). With the end of that
war, the attention of the Iranian government turned back to recreating its nuclear
program, including the reactors at Bushehr. When many governments were
persuaded not to participate in the project, Russia stepped in to fill the gap, and U.S.
attention focused on the nuclear technology Iran might glean from Russian scientists
and engineers. Although centrifuge enrichment techniques were a concern, the
intelligence community had not focused on Pakistan as a particular supplier. In the
Section 721 reports, Russia and China are repeatedly mentioned as suppliers to Iran’s
nuclear program. From 1999 to 2001, the report admits that Iran has sought
technology from a variety of sources, but especially Russia. Only in the report for
the first half of 2002 is there mention that the U.S. intelligence community suspects
Iran is interested in acquiring foreign fissile material and technology for weapons

60 (...continued)
groups as the Nuclear suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime.” p. 11.
61 Central Intelligence Agency, Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of
Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional
Munitions, 1 July Through 31 December 2003.

Transfers to Libya. Although the U.S. intelligence community long had
suspected Libyan interest in developing nuclear weapons, most analysts attributed the
limited Libyan success to sanctions and lack of an indigenous scientific and
engineering base. The IAEA reported in February 2004 that Libya began receiving
centrifuge components from A.Q. Khan in 1997. Yet, the Section 721 reports did not
contain any text about a Libyan nuclear program until 2000. Then, the report noted
that the suspension of U.N. sanctions “has accelerated the pace of procurement
efforts in Libya’s drive to rejuvenate its ostensibly civilian nuclear program.” That
report hinted that a nuclear cooperation agreement with Moscow would play a key
role. Not until the report for January to June 2002 did the text note that Libya used
its secret services “to try to obtain technical information on the development of
WMD, including nuclear weapons.” If this was referring to Libya’s procurement of
a nuclear weapons design from A.Q. Khan, it seems to imply less willingness by
Khan to provide the plans than apparently was the case. The reports for the last half
of 2002 and first half of 2003 only mention technical exchanges related to dual-use
Transfers to North Korea. At the time the October 1994 Agreed
Framework with North Korea was negotiated, there was concern about, but scant
evidence of, North Korean interest in uranium enrichment.62 Reports of North
Korea’s procurement of enrichment-related equipment, particularly from Pakistan,
date back to the mid-1980s (see above), but apparently U.S. intelligence agencies had
no evidence of an actual enrichment program. Although a senior North Korean
official reportedly admitted that it has an enrichment program to U.S. Assistant
Secretary of State James Kelly during a confrontational meeting in Pyongyang in
October 2002, Pyongyang has continued to publicly deny possessing such a
It is clear that the U.S. intelligence community knew of multiple trips by A.Q.
Khan to North Korea, beginning in the mid-1990s. Whether the intelligence
community attributed this to missile or nuclear cooperation is unclear, but the role
of KRL in both nuclear and missile technology could point to collaboration in one
or both areas.

62 North Korea joined the NPT in 1985 but did not implement its nuclear safeguards
agreement until the early 1990s. When North Korea refused a request for a “special
inspection” by the IAEA, it threatened to withdraw from the NPT in March 1993. The U.S.-
DPRK Agreed Framework, negotiated by the Clinton Administration, was a response to this
crisis. In return for North Korea’s agreement to freeze its nuclear program and eventually
to dismantle and remove these facilities from North Korea, the United States agreed to lead
an international consortium to construct two light-water nuclear power reactors and also
provide interim supplies of heavy fuel oil. “U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework.” Fact Sheet,
Bureau of Nonproliferation, U.S. Department of State, Feb. 15, 2001.
[] .
63 Vice Minister Kim Gye Gwan told an unofficial U.S. delegation to Pyongyang in January
2004 that, “We do not have a highly enriched uranium program, and furthermore we never
admitted to one.” Testimony of Dr. Sigfried Hecker before the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, “Update on the North Korean Nuclear Issue,” January 21, 2004; Anthony
Faiola, “N. Korea Declares Itself a Nuclear Power.” Washington Post, Feb. 10, 2005.
[ -bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+pk0149)]

In November 2002, the Central Intelligence Agency distributed a one-page,
unclassified white paper to Congress on North Korean enrichment capabilities, which
noted that the United States had “been suspicious that North Korea has been working
on uranium enrichment for several years,” and that it obtained clear evidence
“recently” that North Korea had begun constructing a centrifuge facility.64 The CIA
concluded that North Korea began a centrifuge-based uranium enrichment program
in 2000. Further, the paper noted that, in 2001, North Korea “began seeking
centrifuge-related materials in large quantities. It also obtained equipment suitable
for use in uranium feed and withdrawal systems.” The CIA, the report said, had
“learned that the North is constructing a plant that could produce enough weapons-
grade uranium for two or more nuclear weapons per year when fully operational —
which could be as soon as mid-decade.”65
One media report in 2002 cited Western officials as stating that Pakistan’s aid
included a complete design package for a centrifuge rotor assembly; another stated
that Pakistan had exported actual centrifuge rotors (2,000-3,000).66 In October 2002,
the Washington Post reported that North Korean efforts to procure high strength
aluminum and significant construction activity tipped off the United States.67
Apparently, North Korea attempted to obtain materials from China, Japan, Pakistan,
Russia, and Europe, but Pakistan provided most of the assistance related to the rotors.
In the Section 721 reports to Congress, however, there has been little mention
of a North Korea-Pakistan connection in the nuclear area. In the first report in 1997,
the text states that North Korea does not require significant outside assistance to
produce WMD. In the 1998 report, there is no mention of any procurement related
to the nuclear program, and the report for the first half of 1999 states that
“Pyongyang sought to procure technology worldwide that could have applications in
its nuclear program, but we do not know of any procurement directly linked to the
nuclear weapons program.” This statement was included in both reports for 2000,
but dropped in reports for 2001. The report for the first half of 2002 notes that North
Korea began seeking centrifuge-related materials in large quantities in 2001 but
makes no mention of where it procured those items. The report covering the last half
of 2002 states that “we did not obtain clear evidence indicating that North Korea had
begun acquiring material and equipment for a centrifuge facility until mid-2002.”
Although the intelligence community might place emphasis on “clear evidence”
and the threshold of a “centrifuge facility,” this admission comes after media
accounts in October and November 2002 of North Korea’s centrifuge procurement
from Pakistan and perhaps seven years after that procurement apparently began.
Only on February 24, 2004, weeks after Khan confessed to his activity, did CIA

64 Untitled working paper on North Korea’s nuclear weapons and uranium enrichment
distributed by CIA to Congressional staff on November 19, 2002.
65 Ibid.
66 “CIA Assessment on DPRK Presumes Massive Outside Help on Centrifuges,” Nuclear
Fuel, November 25, 2002.
67 “U.S. Followed the Aluminum; Pyongyang’s Effort to Buy Metal Was Tip to Plans,”
Washington Post, October 18, 2002.

Director George Tenet tell the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that “We
...believe Pyongyang is pursuing a production-scale uranium enrichment program
based on technology provided by A.Q. Khan, which would give North Korea an
alternative route to nuclear weapons.”
Role of A.Q. Khan, the Pakistani Government
and Military68
Whether the Musharraf government can be trusted to go forward with the United
States as a security partner, let alone a Major Non-NATO Ally, while not putting the
United States further at risk from nuclear proliferation, depends in part on the degree
of culpability of the Pakistani government and military in A.Q. Khan’s activities.
Even if, as has been alleged by the Pakistani government, Khan’s aggressive
marketing of nuclear materials and technology to North Korea, Iran, and Libya was
designed to further Khan’s outsized ego and financial interests, he could not have
functioned without some level of cooperation by Pakistani military personnel, who
maintained tight security around the key nuclear facilities, and possibly civilian
officials as well. This section discusses the available information on Khan’s role and
assesses the credibility of Pakistan’s denial that his activities were authorized or
supported at the policy level in Islamabad.
Khan’s Motives
A.Q. Khan’s celebrity status and the degree to which he enriched himself by his
activities have been cited by some as evidence that his activities were not government
policy. In return for assistance provided by Khan and laboratory director Mohammed
Farooq (a close associate of Khan), Iran allegedly funneled millions of dollars into
foreign bank accounts held by the two men. Reportedly, Khan then used the money69
to purchase valuable real estate in both Pakistan and Dubai. Khan reportedly made
numerous trips to Tehran to share his expertise on uranium enrichment procedures.
Compensation also may have included the gift of a villa on the Caspian Sea. Khan
denies ever having traveled to Iran.70 One unnamed aide to Musharraf reportedly said
that “Khan had a completely blank check” while in charge of the Khan Research
Laboratory (KRL). “He could do anything. He could go anywhere. He could buy71
anything at any price.”
Khan’s reputation as a Pakistani “national hero” appears manufactured,
produced at the expense of several other Pakistani scientists who played equal or
greater roles in the country’s nuclear weapons program. One leading American
expert called Khan an “egomaniac” who had mastered the press to transform his

68 This section was prepared by K. Alan Kronstadt.
69 “Pakistanis Exploited Nuclear Network,” Washington Post, January 28, 2004.
70 “Iran Closes In on Ability to Build a Nuclear Bomb,” Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2003;
“Inquiry Suggests Pakistanis Sold Nuclear Secrets,” New York Times, December 22, 2003.
71 “A Tale of Nuclear Proliferation,” New York Times, February 12, 2004.

image to that of national hero.72 Although Khan apparently did make Pakistan’s
nuclear weapons program possible by illegally acquiring the plans for an uranium
enrichment facility, this is only one — albeit a critical one — of many steps required
in the production of nuclear weapons. According to one source, much of the nuclear
weapons production process was overseen by a lead scientist at the Pakistan Atomic
Energy Commission (PAEC), which did not enjoy KRL’s high public profile. That
scientist, Samar Mubarikmand, may have known of Khan’s activities and may even
have used Khan and KRL as a decoy to divert attention from PAEC, where the most
critical work on nuclear weapons was being carried out.73
Whether President Musharraf’s delicate treatment of Khan following the
revelations of his activities reflects some level of official culpability is arguable. It
has been pointed out that, despite evidence that he had committed serious breaches
of Pakistani law, Khan was allowed (by Musharraf himself) to keep the many
millions of ill-gotten dollars, while two former elected Prime Ministers had been
exiled and barred from political office for corruption charges involving far less
money. 74
Likewise, it appears that the Pakistani government was, at a very minimum,
incredibly lax in responding to rumors of his activities. Even before Pakistan’s May
1998 nuclear test, several scientists working with Khan at KRL reportedly warned
government officials that Khan was involved in suspicious activities.75 There have
been reports that Khan’s daughter smuggled out of Pakistan documents and a tape-
recorded statement indicating that senior Pakistani military officers, including
Musharraf, were aware of her father’s proliferation activities.76
On the other hand, Khan’s self-promoted reputation as the father of Pakistan’s
nuclear weapons program created a motive not only for overlooking his
transgressions, but also for seeking to share in his reflected glory. At a formal dinner
marking Khan’s March 2001 retirement from KRL, President Musharraf lavished
praise on the famed metallurgist: “Dr. Khan and his team toiled and sweated, day and
night, against all odds and obstacles, against international sanctions and sting
operations, to create, literally out of nothing, with their bare hands, the pride of
Pakistan’s nuclear capability.”77 Given Musharraf’s relative unpopularity, some
observers suggest that his lavishing praise on Khan does not necessarily imply
approval or complicity in his proliferation activities.

72 See op-ed by Stephen Cohen, “Out of the Nuclear Loop,” New York Times, February 16,


73 “Fission Smokescreen,” Outlook India (New Delhi), February 23, 2004
74 “What is the ‘National Interest,’” Friday Times (Lahore), February 6, 2004.
75 “Pakistan Warned on Nuke Scientist in ‘98,” Associated Press Newswires, February 10,


76 “Pakistan Demands Nuclear Papers,” London Sunday Telegraph, February 16, 2004.
77 Quoted in “Inquiry Suggests Pakistanis Sold Nuclear Secrets,” New York Times,
December 22, 2003.

Pakistani Government Response to U.S. Concerns
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Assistant Secretary of State
Christina Rocca reportedly met with Musharraf in Islamabad in October 2003 to
present him with substantive evidence implicating Khan and several other scientists
in a proliferation ring. One unnamed Pakistani official said that U.S. intelligence on
Khan’s movements was so detailed that it seemed a tracking device had been planted
on his body.78 In the same month, the network began to unravel at the other end:
centrifuge equipment shipments to Libya were intercepted in the Mediterranean in
October and by December 2003, Libyan leader Qadaffi renounced his weapons of
mass destructions programs. Libya revealed, to the United States and to others, the
assistance that Khan had provided.
On December 11, 2003, a Pakistani daily reported that two senior KRL
scientists had “gone missing under mysterious circumstances.” Later, it became
known that laboratory director Mohammed Farooq had been the first Pakistani
nuclear scientist to be “detained” for questioning by government authorities on
November 27, following the delivery to Islamabad of an IAEA letter on Iranian
uranium enrichment facilities.79 Islam-ul Haq, a director at KRL, reportedly was
picked up for questioning as he was dining at Khan’s home on January 17, 2004.80
As the investigation expanded in January 2004, many Pakistani’s criticized the
Musharraf government for making scapegoats of lower-level scientists to “appease”
the United States. Said the relative of one detained KRL scientist, “It’s all to praise
or make happy the U.S.A. by framing innocent people.” Opposition political groups
were near-unanimous in their dismissal of proliferation charges, claiming they were
part of U.S.-led effort to denuclearize Pakistan; they typically portrayed Musharraf’s
cooperation with the United States on this and other issues as capitulation to a
foreign power.81
On January 20, Pakistan barred all scientists working on its nuclear weapons
program from leaving the country. The officially-stated reason was to ensure that
these individuals would be available for questioning, but many believed that the true
purpose was to prevent them from talking to foreign investigators or journalists.82
One day later, Khan himself was fired from his position as science advisor to the
prime minister, and ensuing reports indicated that Khan was under house arrest in the
Pakistani capital. On February 1, Khan reportedly signed a detailed confession

78 “Islamabad Received CIA Report on Dr Qaedeer in Oct,” News (Karachi), February 8,


79 “Top KRL Scientists Go Missing,” Dawn (Karachi), December 11, 2003; “Dr. Qadir’s
Fate Hangs in Balance,” News (Karachi), January 24, 2004.
80 “Pakistan Expands Nuclear Investigation,” Associated Press Newswires, January 18,


81 “Pakistan Questions 8 Connected to Its Nuclear Program,” New York Times, January 19,


82 Author interview with Samina Ahmed, South Asia Program Director, International Crisis
Group, Islamabad, January 20, 2004.

indicating that he had provided Iran, North Korea, and Libya with uranium
enrichment technologies and materials.83
After conceding that some Pakistani scientists had been involved in
proliferation, Musharraf suggested that personal gain was the central motivation, but
other motives have been mentioned. When asked about motive, one unnamed senior
Pakistani official did not mention greed at all, but rather indicated that Khan had
transferred technologies to divert attention from the Pakistan’s nuclear program, as
well as to bolster Islamic solidarity.84 Key Pakistani investigators reportedly have
opined that Khan was motivated to defy the West, make himself a hero to the Islamic
world, and gain wealth.85 Khan’s proliferation ring is reported to have earned $100
million in deals with Libya alone.86
Pakistani Military Role?
From the time of the revelations of A.Q. Khan’s shipments of nuclear
enrichment technology to North Korea, observers and commentators speculated that
this very visible and celebrated figure must have had the cooperation of Pakistani
Army and Air Force personnel at some level. In February 2004, as the Khan story
was breaking in the international media, the Washington Post reported that Khan had
told a friend and a senior Pakistani investigator that top Pakistani military officers,
including Gen. Musharraf, had known about Khan’s assistance to North Korea’s
uranium enrichment efforts. Khan also reportedly told investigators that General
Mirza Aslam Beg, the former Army Chief (1988-1991), was aware of similar
assistance being provided to Iran and that “two other Army chiefs, in addition to
Musharraf, knew and approved of his efforts on behalf of North Korea.”87 One of
these former army chiefs, Jehangir Karamat, became Pakistan’s Ambassador to the
United States in September 2004. A close friend of Khan — a person who may well
have an interest in shifting blame away from the famed metallurgist — reportedly
described Karamat (along with both Musharraf and Beg) as having been “aware of
everything” Khan had done. Karamat’s responsibility for Pakistan’s ballistic missile
programs in the late 1990s may have included his taking covert trips to North Korea
and possibly having direct knowledge about Pakistan’s alleged barter deal with
Pyongyang involving nuclear technology and missiles.88
Publicly, Khan accepted all of the blame. In his televised confession to the
Pakistani people, Khan sought to “atone for some of the anguish and pain” he had
caused by offering his “deepest regrets and unqualified apologies to a traumatized
nation.” He took “full responsibility” for the proliferation “activities” and

83 “Key Pakistani Is Said to Admit Atom Transfers,” New York Times, February 2, 2004.
84 “Pakistanis Question Official Ignorance of Atom Transfers,” New York Times, February

3, 2004.

85 “A Tale of Nuclear Proliferation,” New York Times, February 12, 2004.
86 “Pakistani’s Nuclear Earnings: $100 Million,” New York Times, March 16, 2004.
87 “Musharraf Named in Nuclear Probe,” Washington Post, February 3, 2004.
88 David Armstrong, “Khan Man?,” New Republic, November 9, 2004.

emphasized that the Islamabad government had “never ever” authorized them.89 On
the next day, in what appeared to many to be part of a scripted unfolding of events,
President Musharraf granted and upheld a recommendation from his cabinet that
Khan not be subjected to any proliferation-related criminal prosecution. Yet within
a week, the Pakistani government announced that the pardon was “conditional” and
“specific to charges made so far.”90
Subsequent actions by the Pakistani government underscored doubts that Khan
could have operated without some level of support by military officers and officials,
whether acting on their own or carrying out government policy. Following Khan’s
public confession, the Musharraf government announced that it had arrested at least
five scientists and administrative officials from KRL, including Mohammed Farooq
and Islam-ul Haq.91 On February 11, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister said that “nobody
would be spared” in the ongoing criminal investigation, including Khan. On the
same day, four civilian scientists and three retired military officers — including KRL
department heads and brigadiers in charge of security there — were formally charged
with proliferation-related crimes.92
President Musharraf himself raised more questions when, on February 9, he
acknowledged that he had long suspected that Khan was involved in proliferation
activities, but argued that the United States had failed to provide convincing evidence
until the fall of 2003.93 Why Musharraf had not followed up on his own alleged
suspicions has not been explained, but a Los Angeles Times report of May 16
suggests that after Musharraf’s coup in 1999, both he and Pakistan’s secretive Inter-
Services Intelligence organization (ISI) became suspicious of Khan’s activities in
Dubai. Reportedly Musharraf had decided, in the words of a senior ex-military
officer, that “It was time to put an end to this dirty business.” Musharraf’s main
concern, the article argues, was to avoid jeopardizing his desire to get rid of
remaining U.S. economic and military sanctions.94
Because of Khan’s popularity and Musharraf’s still shaky hold on power, so this
explanation goes, the President had to move cautiously, but by March 2001 he was
fed up with Khan’s continued meetings with “suspicious men” in Dubai. Musharraf

89 “Pakistan’s Nuclear Founder Seeks Nation’s Forgiveness — Text,” Agence France Presse,
February 4, 2004.
90 “Musharraf Lifts Prosecution Threat From Khan,” Financial Times (London), February

6, 2004;”Pakistan Says Khan Pardon ‘Conditional,’” Washington Post, February 9, 2004.

91 “5 Nuclear Scientists and Officials Formally Arrested,” Daily Times (Lahore), February

6, 2004.

92 “‘Nobody Above the Law’ in Proliferation Case — Pakistani FM,” BBC News, February

11, 2004; “Pakistan Accuses 7 of Helping Khan Share Nuclear Secrets,” Los Angeles Times,

February 12, 2004.
93 “Pakistani Leader Suspected Moves By Atomic Expert,” New York Times, February 10,


94 Douglas Franz, “Pakistan’s Role in Scientist’s Nuclear Trafficking Debated; Islamabad’s
Awareness of a Black Market Led by the Father of Its Atomic Bomb Is Still Uncertain.” Los
Angeles Times, May 16, 2005: A1.

forced the popular hero to retire as the head of Khan Research Laboratories, while
making him a cabinet-level senior advisor on nuclear matters, and allowing him to
continue to travel abroad. Reportedly, senior ex-military officers maintained that
Musharraf was not knowledgeable of the extent of Khan’s activities, but sacked him
essentially for continued insubordination.95
Politically, the Khan affair put President Musharraf in a difficult position.
When the Pakistani Parliament met on February 16, opposition parties accused the
government of covering-up the military’s role in proliferating, humiliating Khan,
appeasing the United States, and by-passing the country’s elected representatives.96
Some Pakistani commentators argued that the Pakistani state should in no way
be held accountable for the actions of Khan himself. They pointed to Khan’s
allegedly “total control” of KRL, reports that the facilities were off-limits to both
civilian politicians and the ISI, and an absence of evidence that Khan’s actions were
ever transformed into KRL policy.97
General Beg, in particular, has long been suspected of having anti-U.S. and pro-
Iranian tendencies. Henry Rowan, at the time a U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense,
has related a January 1990 meeting with Gen. Beg , who, he says, “said something
like, ‘If we don’t get adequate support from the U.S., then we may be forced to share
nuclear technology with Iran.’”98 Another source attributes a similar statement by
General Beg to late 1990, following the decision by President George H. W. Bush
that he could not make the required certification to Congress that Pakistan did not
have nuclear weapons, thus invoking the “Pressler Amendment,” Sec. 620E(e) of the
Foreign Assistance Act, 1961, as amended, requiring a cutoff of military and
economic assistance to Pakistan.99
Beg reportedly has strongly denied having ever having had control over A.Q.
Khan — a role he assigned to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (1988-1990,
1993-1996) and former President Ghulam Ishaq Khan (1988-1993).100 The
accusations concerning Benazir Bhutto and Ghulam Ishaq Khan have been made by
others, as well. Former Pakistani President Farooq Leghari (1993-1997) insisted that
he, former President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, and both former Prime Ministers Nawaz
Sharif and Benazir Bhutto were fully informed about the country’s nuclear weapons
program as “nothing was kept secret from us.” Leghari claimed that he had no

95 Ibid.
96 “Pakistan Opposition Charges Atomic Cover-Up,” New York Times, February 17, 2004.
97 See, for example, “Has Dr Khan Breached Pakistan’s Nonproliferation Obligation?,”
Friday Times (Lahore), February 6, 2004.
98 “Pakistan Threatened to Give Nukes to Iran,” Associated Press Newswires, February 27,


99 Inder Malhotra, The Tribune, March 4, 2004, at
100 “Pak Army Never Controlled Nuclear Programe: Mirza Aslam Beg.” Press Trust of
India, Feb. 11, 2004.

knowledge of proliferation activities while in office and put responsibility squarely
on the shoulders of A.Q. Khan.101 Benazir Bhutto’s chief defense advisor from 1988
to 1990, the late Gen. Imtiaz, reportedly pressured Khan to transfer out-dated P-I
centrifuges to Iran.102
Others find Beg’s denials less than credible. Addressing Gen. Beg’s statements
denying knowledge of transfers to Iran in the 1980s and 1990s, one former Pakistani
nuclear scientist claimed that “nothing moves in the Pakistani nuclear spectrum
without the knowledge of the chief of army staff.”103 Beg himself has claimed that
the Pakistani Army has “never been in control” of the country’s nuclear weapons
program except during periods of military rule. He insisted that the ultimate
authority was always the “Chief Executive” — in this case Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto
herself claimed that Khan could not have been acting alone and that senior
government or military officials were seeking to cover-up their own complicity. She
even asserted that, as Prime Minister, she had turned down several requests by
military officials and scientists to export Pakistan’s nuclear technology.104
An aide to then-PM Nawaz Sharif claimed that Beg approached him in 1991
with a proposal to sell nuclear technology to Iran. Reportedly, former U.S.
Ambassador to Pakistan, Robert Oakley, said that Beg told him that same year of an
“understanding” with the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps that Pakistan
would help Iran with its nuclear program in return for conventional weapons and oil.
Beg’s alleged motive was to form a “grand alliance” of Islamic countries with the
ability to resist American power in the wake of the U.S.-led military successes in
Kuwait and Iraq in early 1991. Beg denies all claims that he sought to provide
nuclear assistance to Iran.105
The public reaction to the accusations against Khan was predictably nationalistic
and anti-American. Many Pakistani observers accused the “foreign media” of bias
in singling out Pakistan while ignoring the roles played by the citizens of other
countries, including those in the West. They also criticized the IAEA and the United
States for turning a blind eye to the nuclear weapons programs of Israel and India.106
Representative media commentary in Pakistan warned of a “clear and present danger
that the West is threatening to dismantle [Pakistan’s] nuclear program” through the
establishment of “intrusive inspection regimes.” Former ISI chief Lt. Gen. Hamid

101 “I’d No Information on N-Spread During My Term, Argues Leghari,” Pakistan Press
International, February 9, 2004.
102 “Scientist Claimed Nuclear Equipment Was Old, Official Says,” Los Angeles Times,
February 10, 2004.
103 “Dr. Qadir’s Fate Hangs in Balance,” News (Karachi), January 24, 2004.
104 “‘Pak Army Never Controlled Nukes,’” Times of India (New Delhi), February 10, 2004;
“Bhutto Alleges Nuclear ‘Cover-Up,’” BBC News, February 23, 2004; “‘Military Officials
Sought My Permission to Sell N-Tech,’” Daily Times (Lahore), February 25, 2004.
105 “Pakistanis Say Nuclear Scientist Aided Iran,” Washington Post, January 24, 2004.
106 See, for example, “Countering Proliferation,” Dawn (Karachi), February 3, 2004.

Gul suggested that the United States would “exploit” the situation to gain joint
custody of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons “to the total satisfaction of Israel.”107
A number of civilian politicians and analysts from across Pakistan’s political
spectrum were quick to suggest that Khan was “falling on his sword” to protect
others in the Pakistani government and military who also were involved in
proliferation activities, perhaps even including Musharraf himself.108 Others
suggested that the series of events leading up to Khan’s confession and pardon
appeared to have been tightly scripted, and may have been privately endorsed by a
U.S. government keen to protect a key counterterrorism ally.109
Bush Administration Statements
The Bush Administration has maintained that “there was no evidence that the
top officials of the Pakistani government were complicit in or approved of [Khan’s]
proliferation activities.” The Bush Administration has found insufficient evidence
to trigger U.S. nonproliferation laws, even though U.S. officials claim neither to have
asked for access to Khan nor believed that such access was necessary.110 Some senior
U.S. officials have insisted that the United States is receiving the cooperation it needs
from Pakistan, but in testimony to Congress on April 29, 2004, then-Deputy
Secretary of State Richard Armitage said that the Administration was “impatient for
even greater efforts from President Musharraf.”111 In a feature article on December
26, 2004, the New York Times reported that the Administration had received little
new information from Pakistan to its questions about where Khan obtained the plans
for a nuclear weapon. The article also maintained, based on unnamed sources, that
the Administration had not gained access to his chief assistant, Buhari Sayed Abu
Tahir, who has been jailed in Malaysia as a consequence of the discovery of Khan’s
network. 112
In view of the domestic political sensitivity of the issue for President Musharraf,
other statements by U.S. officials also appear designed to minimize publicly
American concern about the light treatment given A.Q. Khan by Musharraf, despite
the gravity of his actions. Responding to a question during a CNN interview about
President Bush’s claim during the September 30, 2004 presidential debate, that “the

107 “Nuclear Program Under Pressure,” News (Karachi), January 30, 2004; Gul quoted in
“Pakistan’s Rogue Scientist,” India Today (New Delhi), February 16, 2004.
108 See, for example, “Pakistan Broadcasts Scientist’s Confession,” Los Angeles Times,
February 5, 2004.
109 “Musharraf Clears Nuclear Scientist in Sale of Secrets,” Wall Street Journal, February
6, 2004; Pakistan and Its Proliferator,” Christian Science Monitor, February 6, 2004; “The
Bomb Traders,” Far Eastern Economic Review (Hong Kong), February 12, 2004.
110 Testimony of Under Secretary of State John Bolton Before the House International
Relations Committee, March 30, 2004.
111 Testimony of Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage Before the House
Appropriations Committee, April 29, 2004.
112 “As Nuclear Secrets Emerge, More Are Suspected.” New York Times, Dec. 26, 2004.

A.Q. Khan network has been brought to justice,” then-National Security Advisor
Condoleezza Rice reportedly noted the difficult situation for President Musharraf and
that “A. Q. Khan, in a sense, has been brought to justice because he is out of the
business that he loved most.” Rice reportedly stated further “And if you don’t think
national humiliation is justice for what he did, I think it is. He’s nationally
Rather than publicly demanding that the Musharraf government make a full
revelation of A.Q. Khan’s activities, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and other
State Department officials insisted that the United States should play no role in
judging Musharraf’s handling of the matter. A State Department briefer on February
5, 2004, said he was “impressed by the seriousness of the investigation” being
conducted in Pakistan and expected that Pakistan would share with the international
community the information that is gleaned though the investigation. Powell
explicitly described the investigation as “a Pakistani internal matter” at a press
conference in Islamabad on March 18, 2004, though he also said that he was
confident that the Pakistani authorities would provide “full disclosure” so that the
United States and Pakistan could work together to completely eliminate Khan’s
network.114 Many Pakistani analysts voiced their approval of the conclusion that
Khan’s activities breached no international laws, thus justifying Musharraf’s
“prerogative” to pardon.115
Other observers have not expressed the same level of confidence that the
investigation would achieve the stated objectives. The Director-General of the IAEA
called Khan “the tip of an iceberg” and claimed that his case “raises more questions
than it answers. ... Dr. Khan was not working alone.”116 A New York Times editorial
asserted that “Pakistan’s military — and that means General Musharraf — was,
without question, aware of and part of this illicit and perilous commerce. Yet the
Bush administration’s reaction,” the editorial continued, “has been one of grateful
acceptance.”117 Indian reactions were predictably dismissive of the Khan pardon as
a “grand charade” designed to protect the Pakistani military. Many were equally
discomfited by the Bush administration’s quickness to call Khan’s activities an
“internal matter.”118

113 “Father of Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb Punished Through National Humiliation: Rice.”
Agence France Presse, Oct. 3, 2004.
114 “State Department Noon Briefing,” U.S. Department of State Washington File, February
5, 2004; “Remarks by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Pakistan Foreign Minister
Khurshid Kasuri. U.S. Embassy, Islamabad, March 18, 2004.
115 “Sorry Saga of Nuclear Proliferation,” Daily Times (Lahore), February 8, 2004.
116 “Pakistani Scientist Tied to Illicit Nuclear Supply Network,” Washington Post, February

5, 2004.

117 “Ending Pakistan’s Nuclear Trade,” New York Times, February 7, 2004.
118 “Pak Scientist’s Pardon a Grand Charade,” Times of India (New Delhi), February 9,


Issues Concerning the Viability of the Musharraf
Government As a Long-Term U.S. Security Partner119
The critical importance of gaining cooperation against terrorism has been the
Bush Administration’s main justification for largely setting aside U.S.
nonproliferation concerns in the case of Pakistan. Not only does the United States
need Pakistani cooperation, but Musharraf’s survival has been seen by both the
Administration and the 9/11 Commission as an essential requirement for maintaining
and increasing Pakistani cooperation. Given the troubled history of U.S.-Pakistan
security cooperation, the 9/11 Commission Report emphasizes, in particular, the
necessity of avoiding a repetition of the past cycle of engagement, disengagement,
and reengagement with Pakistan. The following section addresses the stability of the
Musharraf government and the prospects for a continuation of current Pakistani
policy should President Musharraf leave the scene, for whatever reason.
Near-Term U.S. Security Needs Versus Longer Term Human
Rights and Democracy Goals
U.S. interest in Pakistani democratization exists in tandem with the perceived
need to have a stable and effectively-administered ally in the international anti-
terrorism coalition. However, while many observers believe that U.S. interests in
combating terrorism and weapons proliferation in South Asia entail a “trade-off”
with regard to other concerns, some contend that the human rights situation in
Pakistan may itself be a crucial aspect of the incidence of terrorism and religious120
extremism. Congressional oversight of U.S.-Pakistan relations in a March 2003
hearing included Member expressions of concern about problems with Pakistani
democratization and the danger of the United States “giving full recognition to a
military takeover” through continuous waivers of coup-related aid restrictions.121 The
military continues to dominate Pakistan’s centralized decision making process and,
while in office, Prime Minister Jamali referred to President Musharraf as being his122
While it is possible to argue that Pakistan is somewhat more democratic since
the October 2002 elections, many analysts note that the country’s democratic
institutions and processes are inflexible and unaccommodating of dissent. These
observers see Pakistan’s political parties seriously weakened in recent years, with the

119 This section was prepared by K. Alan Kronstadt.
120 A House panel received expert testimony indicating that Pakistan’s worsening religious
freedom situation is “part of the larger problem of the suppression of democratic freedoms”
there (“House International Relations Subcommittee on International Terrorism,
Nonproliferation and Human Rights Holds Hearing on State Department Report on
International Religious Freedom,” FDCH Transcripts, February 10, 2004).
121 “Transcript: Hearing of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the House
International Relations Committee,” Federal News Service, March 20, 2003.
122 “Jamali: Musharraf Elected President for Five Years,” Pakistan Press International, April

18, 2003.

military’s influence correspondingly more profound.123 Moreover, numerous
commentators reject the 9/11 Commission’s “best hope” label for Musharraf himself
as myopic and repetitive of past U.S. reliance on Pakistani military regimes,
especially in light of their view that Pakistan’s uncertain political stability is rooted
in Musharraf’s policies and in the personal support he receives from the United
S t at es. 124
President Musharraf remains generally a popular figure in Pakistan, but he has
been an object of hatred for Islamic radicals, including those affiliated with domestic
and international terrorist organizations. A March 2004 survey found that 86% of
Pakistanis view Musharraf favorably (with 60% viewing him very favorably), but
65% also said that they support Osama bin Laden. Musharraf’s government depends
on an alliance of six Islamist parties, which use the acronyms MMA (“United Action
Front,” in English) to maintain a majority in the national parliament. The same
alliance controls the assemblies in two provinces bordering Afghanistan —
Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).125 The support of the
Islamist parties has been brought into question by Musharraf’s decision to break his
commitment to step down as Army commander at the end of the year, a promise he
made in 2003 to secure the support of a six Islamic parties in parliament.
The bargain struck with the Islamic parties served both to maintain a governing
majority in the national assembly and to secure passage of an amendment, the 17th to
the Pakistani constitution, which, among other things, legitimatized Musharraf’s
1999 military coup.126 The response to Musharraf’s indication that he would remain
Army chief until the end of his presidential term in 2007 suggests that his popularity
may have declined. Musharraf has justified keeping his uniform as necessary to
maintain stability.127
Overall, the events of September 11, 2001 and after appear to have assisted
Musharraf in strengthening his grip on power. One former Pakistani political advisor
and diplomat notes that, “Each of Pakistan’s patriarchs have based their claim to
power on grounds of U.S. support and their own ability to provide good
governance.”128 The perceived U.S. need for a stable and reliable regional ally in its
ongoing counterterrorism efforts in South Asia have some analysts concluding that
Musharraf remains in a position to take further domestic political advantage of
current geopolitical dynamics.

123 “Sustainable Democracy,” Daily Times (Lahore), May 24, 2004;”Many See Musharraf
Keeping Army Post to Cement Power,” New York Times, September 18, 2004.
124 “The ‘Best Hope’ in South Asia,” Hindu (Madras), August 13, 2004; “As U.S. Talks of
Liberty, Musharraf Scorns It,” Los Angeles Times, July 4, 2004.
125 For more background on Pakistani politics see CRS Report RL32615, Pakistan’s
Domestic Political Developments, by K. Alan Kronstadt.
126 “Musharraf’s Uniform Divides Pakistan.” BBC News, Sept. 14, 2004.
127 Pew Research Center, “A Year After the Iraq War,” March 16, 2004; “Musharraf Says
Most Pakistanis Want Him to Stay On As Army Chief.” Associated Press, Sept. 6, 2004.
128 “Replaying the Old Marching Tune,” Indian Express (Bombay), July 10, 2002.

Many analysts believe the advance of democracy and civil society in Pakistan
is key to the long-term success of stated U.S. policy in the region, although the 9/11
Commission Report implies that in the short run, anyway, supporting Musharraf is
an absolute necessity. At a July 2004 hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, all three private witnesses, who were veteran Pakistan watchers, agreed
about the potential problems inherent in a perceived U.S. preference for bolstering
Musharraf’s authoritarian leadership at the expense of Pakistan’s democratic
institutions and civil society. One witness offered that Musharraf is best seen as a
“marginal satisfier” who will do only the minimum expected of him. He
recommended that, “The United States must alter the impression our support for
Pakistan is essentially support for Musharraf.”129
Doubts about Musharraf’s popularity have been echoed by a leading Pakistani
analyst, who contends that all of the Pakistani president’s major policy shifts after
September 2001 have come through compulsion by external pressure or events and
that, while the direction of Pakistan’s policy change has been appropriate, “the
momentum of change is too slow and awkward and unsure to constitute a critical and
irreversible mass.”130 Many leading Pakistani commentators insist that only by
allowing the country’s secular political parties fully into the system can the country
realize stable and enduring democracy.131
American policy makers, however, generally agree with the 9/11 Commission
that U.S. interests are for the time being best served by the presence of a strong and
secure Islamabad leadership. Thus, while early optimism about Musharraf’s potential
as a reformer has waned considerably, there are those who still conclude that the
existence of an unstable and possibly Islamicized or failed state between Afghanistan
and India — a state in possession of nuclear weapons — is a far less desirable
circumstance than the present one in which a powerful and secular military institution
maintains a reasonable degree of order in Pakistan. For some, this argument has
become less persuasive as the country’s law-and-order situation has deteriorated in
2004. Pakistan’s fragile democratic institutions are under continuous threat from the
authoritarian influences of the country’s powerful military and quasi-feudal economic
structures. Given a stated U.S. position that, “Democratic institutions are required
if Pakistan is to thrive economically and to develop further into an enlightened and
moderate Muslim state,”132 Pakistan’s domestic political developments likely will
be closely monitored by the United States.

129 Statement of Professor Marvin Weinbaum, “Senate Foreign Relations Committee Holds
Hearing on Pakistan and Counterterrorism,” FDCH Transcripts, July 14, 2004. At the same
hearing, Ambassador Teresita Schaffer concurred, saying that the United States is
attempting to deal with Pakistan through “policy triage and by focusing on the personal
leadership of President Musharraf,” both of which are “flawed concepts.”
130 “Happy Birthday Pakistan,” Friday Times (Lahore), August 13, 2004.
131 “Agenda for Pakistan’s New Prime Minister,” Nation (Lahore), September 1, 2004;
“What the Country Needs,” Friday Times (Lahore), September 12, 2003. See also
“Musharraf’s Successor,” Friday Times (Lahore), March 19, 2004.
132 “Ambassador Powell Outlines U.S. Policy Toward Pakistan,” U.S. Department of State
Washington File, August 20, 2004.

Succession Issues
An acute concern of many U.S. policy makers is the issue of political succession
in Pakistan, especially as it relates to potential domestic upheaval and control of that
country’s nuclear arsenal.133 The constitutionally designated successor to the
President is the Chairman of the Senate, currently a member of the military-friendly
Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) party and Musharraf loyalist
Muhammadmian Soomro, an international banker from a well-known Sindhi family.
It is the President’s prerogative to appoint Army Chiefs. The consensus view among
analysts has the Pakistani military maintaining its substantive administration of the
country in the event of President Musharraf’s premature removal. The nature of such
a potential removal likely would influence the scope and intensity of military
governance. For example, if Musharraf were removed through violent means, it is
quite possible that the army would declare martial law and rule directly for a period.
In any case, it is widely assumed that the hierarchical solidarity and historic
professionalism of Pakistan’s military would result in its continued effectiveness as
a stabilizing force, at least in the short- and perhaps middle-term. Despite the
apparent sturdiness of the military’s command structure, there remains widespread
pessimism about the ability of political institutions built by Musharraf to survive his
sudden removal, and doubts remain about the viability of political succession
m echani s m s . 134
After his September 2001 policy shift, Musharraf moved to purge pro-Taliban
Islamists from the higher ranks of the military. In October 2001 Musharraf promoted
a trusted associate, Lieutenant General Muhammad Yusuf, chief of the general staff
of the Pakistan army, to the rank of general and appointed him as Vice Chief of the
Army Staff (VCOS), the senior-most position after Musharraf. Reportedly,
Musharraf earlier had entrusted Yusuf, said to be a ideological moderate, with
responsibility for sensitive negotiations with U.S. officials concerning American
military operations in Afghanistan.135Also in the immediate wake of 9/11
Musharraf named Lt. Gen. Ehsan-ul Haq, corps commander of Peshawar, as the new
Director General of the powerful ISI. Haq replaced Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed, an
officer reportedly regarded as having ties to the Taliban and having been
insufficiently responsive to U.S. requests for intelligence on Osama bin Laden.

133 “A Nuclear Headache,” New York Times, December 30, 2003. The physical security
of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons materials and technologies became a vital issue in the wake
of September 2001. Al Qaeda members reportedly have met with Pakistani nuclear
scientists (Kamran Khan and Molly Moore, “2 Nuclear Experts Briefed Bin Laden,
Pakistanis Say,” Washington Post, December 12, 2001). See also CRS Report RL31589,
Nuclear Threat Reduction Measures for India and Pakistan, by Sharon Squassoni; Rajesh
Basrur and Hasan Askari-Rizvi, “Nuclear Terrorism and South Asia,” Cooperative
Monitoring Center Occasional Paper 25, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM,
February 2003; and Graham Allison, “Tick, Tick, Tick,” Atlantic Monthly, October 2004.
134 “First or Second Class?” Friday Times (Lahore), October 15, 2004.
135 Amir Mir, “About Turn.” Rediff Specials,, October 17, 2001.
[ h t t p : / / www.r e di f f . com/ news/ 2001/ oct / m] .

Musharraf also was said to have viewed Ahmad as overly ambitious and a potential
rival for power within the military.136
After Gen. Yusuf retired in October 2004, Musharraf named a close ally, Lt.
Gen. Ahsan Salim Hayat, the Karachi Corps Commander, as the new VCOAS.
Hayat narrowly escaped assassination in a bloody June 2004 attack on his motorcade,
an event which appeared to confirm his status as an enemy of Islamic extremists.
The newly-promoted four-star general is believed to be one of Musharraf’s closest
allies in the military and his most likely successor as Army Chief.137 Musharraf also
replaced ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ehsan-ul Haq, who had overseen the removal of pro-
Taliban officers from Pakistan’s intelligence service after September 2001with a
relatively unknown officer, Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Kiani. Musharraf shifted Haq to the post
of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, a less powerful position. Some
speculate that the new VCOAS, Lt. Gen. Hayat, will exercise close supervision over
the ISI and operations against Al Qaeda.138
Policy Discussion: More Constraints Than
Options 139
Despite Pakistani denials, considerable evidence suggests that Pakistan
continues to be involved in the illegal acquisition of nuclear materials and technology
to modernize its existing nuclear forces, and, at a minimum, allows the activities of
nuclear supply networks on its territory. Such networks may still be involved in
supplying nuclear materials, technology, and know-how to would-be nuclear states
or even terrorist networks. In addition, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and fissile material
may be vulnerable to seizure in the event of a coup by dissident military officers or
the seizure of power by radical Islamists with sympathy for terrorist groups.
Moreover, if not carefully handled, U.S. policies aimed at strengthening Pakistan
militarily could unintentionally upset current positive trends in Pakistan’s relations
with India that involve considerable political risk for both governments. Resolving
or deferring a final settlement of the thus far intractable Kashmir dispute would
greatly benefit both U.S. security counterterrorism and nonproliferation interests.
Because this festering territorial dispute has led the countries to the brink of war on
two occasions since both deployed nuclear weapons, any actions by the United States
that would undermine the current atmosphere between New Delhi and Islamabad

136 “After Musharraf, What?,” Outlook India (Delhi), December 25, 2003
137 “Pakistan’s Musharraf Names Aides to Top Army Slots,” Reuters News, October 2,
2004.;”Musharraf Keeps Army Post in Military Shake-Up,” Wall Street Journal, October
4, 2004; “How the Indians are Viewing the Latest Pakistan Army Reshuffle,” South Asia
Tribune, October 5, 2004.
138 B. Raman, “Pak Army Shuffle and After.” South Asia Analysis Group (SAAG), Paper no.

118, Oct. 4, 2004.

139 This section was prepared by Sharon Squassoni and Richard Cronin.

could possibly increase the risk of a conflict that would have the potential of
escalating to a nuclear exchange.140
Given that the reimposition of sanctions seems unlikely in the current situation,
the Bush administration appears to be focusing on preventing the further spread of
nuclear weapons capabilities to “rogue” states and terrorist groups. The
Administration has emphasized improving the global community’s ability to interdict
dangerous shipments through the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), and in
shrinking access worldwide to capabilities needed to produce fissile material crucial
for nuclear weapons. In a speech on February 11, 2004, President Bush proposed a
mix of measures to respond to the threat of the nuclear black market. In addition to
expanding interdiction efforts (under the PSI) to “shut down labs, to seize their
materials, to freeze their assets,” the President also proposed criminalizing
proliferation, expanding cooperative threat reduction measures to states like Libya;
banning enrichment and reprocessing capabilities beyond those states that already
have them; making the Additional Protocol (to the NPT) a prerequisite for nuclear-
related imports; and creating a special committee at the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) to investigate compliance.141
In June 2004, President Bush designated Pakistan as a Major Non-NATO Ally
(MNNA) as provided for by Section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as
amended. Thailand, another important antiterrorism ally, was given the same status
in 2003. The designation, long enjoyed by Japan, South Korea, Australia and other
allies, makes Pakistan eligible for expedited access to excess defense articles and
other privileges.142 The designation also appears related to Pakistan’s decision to
purchase several major weapons systems. On November 16, 2004, the Department
of Defense notified Congress of possible military sales to Pakistan of six Orion P-3C
maritime patrol aircraft, 2,000 TOW-2A missiles, 14 TOW Fly-to-Buy missiles, six
PHALANX Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS), and an upgrade of six earlier models
of the Phalanx shipboard anti-missile defense systems, along with associated
equipment for all of the systems.143
As if to underscore the possibility that U.S. arms sales to Pakistan could be
destabilizing, Pakistan tested a Shaheen nuclear-capable short-range (700 kilometers)
ballistic missile on December 8, 2004, on the same day that Secretary of Defense
Rumsfeld arrived in New Delhi for meetings with Indian leaders where he was
expected to discuss U.S. arms sales and military cooperation with India. Reportedly,
one of the most important items on the Indian agenda was to acquire the U.S. Patriot
ballistic missile defense systems (PAC-2 and/or PAC-3), and to explore the

140 George Perkovich, “India and Pakistan on the Brink.” The Wall Street Journal, May 29,

2002. [].

141 Available at [].
142 “Title 3 — The President — Designation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as a Major
Non-NATO Ally — Memorandum for the Secretary of State. Federal Register, June 29,

2004. Vol., 69, No. 124.

143 Department of Defense Security Cooperation Agency, News Release, Nov. 16, 2004,
Transmittal Numbers 05-05, 05-06, and 05-07.

possibility of obtaining approval to acquire Israel’s Arrow battlefield missile defense
system which includes U.S.-licensed components and technology. India reportedly
expressed strong objections to the sale of the P-3C surveillance aircraft and the TOW
anti-tank missiles.144
Within the constraints imposed by dependence on antiterrorist cooperation from
Pakistan, U.S. policymakers still may have several options for pursuing a stronger
antiproliferation policy while maintaining Pakistan’s status as a “front line” state in
the war against terrorism. Possible approaches include:
Option 1 — De Facto Acceptance of Pakistan’s Nuclear
Activities and Non-Cooperation on the A.Q. Khan Issue on
Condition of Maximum Counterterrorism Support
Although the United States may appear to have little choice but to support
Musharraf, the degree of U.S. support matters greatly. One option, which appears to
approximate current policy, is to provide large-scale economic and military support
to Pakistan, conditioned only on satisfactory Pakistani cooperation against terrorism.
The 9/11 Commission Report argues that President Musharraf is “the best hope for
stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan” and an advocate of “enlightened moderation.”
The Commission recommends that “As the United States makes fresh commitments
now, it should make promises that it is prepared to keep for years,” provided145
“Pakistan’s leaders are prepared to make difficult choices of their own.”
The advantages of this course are that it reduces Pakistani suspicion that, in the
words of the 9/11 Commission Report, the United States views Pakistan as an “ally
of convenience.” The underlying rationale for this option is that the more confidence
that President Musharraf has in the U.S. commitment to Pakistan, the more ready he
will be to confront terrorism.
For several reasons the nonproliferation benefits of this option appear few,
while the risks may be high. This option does not fully address the limits of
Musharraf’s authority in regard to antiterrorist cooperation with the United States and
it limits Pakistan’s “hard choices” to the fight against extremists,” not its nuclear
behavior. Despite its strong support for the Musharraf government, the Bush
Administration has not yet obtained full Pakistani cooperation against Al Qaeda and
the Taliban. If Musharraf should adopt a zero-tolerance policy of shutting down all
terrorist networks he risks a possibly fatal backlash from extreme nationalist and
Islamist elements of the military and militants carrying out an insurgency in Indian-
occupied Kashmir, as well as the loss of support from his current political allies
among the Islamist parties.

144 “Another Pak Missile Test.” The Statesman (India): Briefs, Dec. 9, 2004. “U.S. Could
Sell Arms to India and Pakistan.”Forecast International/Missile Forecast, Forecast
International Defense Newsletters, Dec. 8, 2004.
145 9/11 Commission Report, p. 369.

Even if Musharraf or a similarly moderate military successor continues to
maintain political dominance for the next few years, there is no absolute guarantee
that Pakistan will continue its “front line” status against the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Much could depend on Pakistan’s volatile political situation. Already, Islamist
political forces are impatient with Musharraf’s vision of a moderate, modernizing
Islamic state and measures, however incomplete to suppress domestic jihadists in
Baluchistan and the Northwest Frontier Province, and terrorist groups operating in
Even now, some in the Pakistani hierarchy are not prepared to support U.S.
policy to the point of compromising, in their view, Pakistan’s long -term fundamental
interests. Some analysts judge it unlikely that the ISI would ever completely alienate
the Taliban. Evidence that more than one assassination attempt against Musharraf
involved collusion between radical Islamists, possibly Al Qaeda operatives, and
lower level Pakistani Air Force personnel, underscores that the military continues to
be susceptible to ideological fissures. Radical political change may be unlikely under
present circumstances, but a violent Islamist campaign against the government or an
internal coup cannot be completely ruled out.
Questions about Musharraf’s ability to control events appear to be underscored
by rumors in late 2004 and early 2005 that he has been engaged in secret
negotiations on a power sharing agreement with the leaders of the two previous
governing parties, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) led by Benazir Bhutto and the
Pakistan Muslim League (PML), led by Nawaz Sharif. Under one rumored deal,
Musharraf would remain President at least until 2007, but he would give up his
position as Chief of the Army Staff, a move also demanded by his current MMA
allies, and hold fresh parliamentary elections in 2005. Both Bhutto and Sharif had
alternated as civilian prime ministers during the 1990s, but both had been overthrown
by military coups and both are now in exile.146 While such a development would
likely be viewed as a positive step towards democratization, a decision by Musharraf
to end his alliance with the MMA could provoke a new political crisis. Moreover,
the very fact that the arrangement has been rumored raises questions about Pakistan’s
At the same time, questions remain about Pakistan’s nuclear policies. The U.S.
Government cannot verify the Musharraf government’s assurances that A.Q. Khan’s
nuclear sales were not state policy and would not be repeated. Moreover, although
Pakistan firmly ruled out any limits on its vertical proliferation activities, i.e.,
building more nuclear weapons and deploying more capable ballistic missiles,
Humayun Khan’s acquisition of U.S. technology in collaboration with the South
African arms dealer, Asher Karni, appears to belie this claim. Some of these illegal
exports of U.S. technology took place as recently as August 2003.147 No matter what
the United States does at this point it will have to live with consequences of

146 “ISI on Musharraf Benazir, Sharif Power-Sharing Deal.” Hindustan Times, Dec. 5, 2004.
147 Jacob Blackford, “Asher Karni Case Shows Weaknesses in Nuclear Export Controls.”
September 2004. ISIS-Online. [
southafrica/asherkarni.html ].

Pakistan’s successful acquisition of nuclear weapons and the potential fragility of the
stability and moderation offered by Musharraf.
In terms of unilateral options that do not directly undercut U.S.-Pakistani
cooperation against terrorism, one U.S. official has said that ultimately the first and
best line of defense as regards U.S.-source technology is the vigilance and
cooperation of U.S. companies that sell sensitive technology. Reportedly, a French
company refused to sell triggered spark gaps to Karni because he did not have a U.S.
export license.148 It appears that the discovery of Karni’s activities occurred only by
luck and the vigilance of one company, whereas earlier purchases of sensitive
technology had been delivered.
For instance, the United States could further increase its assistance to and
intelligence and law enforcement cooperation with South Africa, currently a country
with weak enforcement of its stringent laws against the export of dual-use technology
to non-NSG countries. Should South Africa continue to demonstrate weak
enforcement of its laws against the unlicensed exports of nuclear-related technology,
the U.S. government could unilaterally suspend South Africa’s privileges as a
member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to import sensitive U.S. technology without
an export license. It is likely, however, that such a move would be opposed by some
NSG countries, if for no other reason than that their own enforcement of export
controls may have weaknesses.
Option 2 — Emphasize Multilateral Nonproliferation
This approach, recommended in the 9/11 report, involves concentrating on the
recipient or end-user side of the equation as the most effective way to deny nuclear
weapons and materials to terrorists. That is, it emphasized measures to seek to close
off global supply networks rather than penalizing Pakistan or even demanding a full
account of A.Q. Khan’s activities and networks.
Proliferation Security Initative. As noted above, the Bush administration
appears to be focusing on improving the global community’s ability to interdict
dangerous shipments through the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and in
shrinking access worldwide to capabilities needed to produce fissile material crucial
for nuclear weapons. In a speech on February 11, 2004, President Bush proposed a
mix of measures to respond to the threat of the nuclear black market.149 The President
has proposed expanding interdiction efforts under the PSI, which aims to “shut down
labs, to seize their materials, [and] to freeze their assets.” The multi-national
agreement was announced by President Bush in May 2003 and inaugurated in Paris,
in September 2003, by the United States, eight European NATO allies, Australia and
Japan. Additional countries have joined since. Undersecretary of State John Bolton
has described the initiative, which now enjoys the support of some 60 or more

148 Ibid.
149 Available at [].

countries, as “foremost among President Bush’s efforts to stop WMD
The 9/11 Commission recommended expanding the PSI, including persuading
Russia and China to join, and providing participating member countries with NATO
alliance “intelligence and planning resources.”151 It is probably crucial to include
Russia and China to make the PSI effective, but it will also be important to include,
where possible, supplier states. While it is doubtful that Iran or North Korea would
agree to restrictions, making sure that Pakistan no longer engages in proliferation
activities would appear critical to the effectiveness of the PSI. From this perspective,
critics charge that it is past time that Pakistan reinforced its promises with concrete
Proliferation specialists have welcomed the PSI but say that its potential is
limited by several factors, including its “ad hoc” nature, which depends on the
political will of participating countries. Some critics view the PSI as a supplement
to a more robust nonproliferation regime and one which needs to be bolstered by
changes in international law. This includes adopting amendments to the Convention
for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation
(1988), and the adoption of a U.N. resolution that would provide for interdiction
activities under Section VII of the U.N. Charter, which allows the Security Council
to authorize sanctions or the use of force to compel states to comply with its
resolutions. 152
Strengthened International Regimes. U.N. Security Council Resolution
1540, of April 28, 2004, which is based on a U.S. draft, requires all states to adopt
laws against the transfers of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons and as well as
delivery systems and related technology, and to report by October 28, 2004, “on
efforts to review their domestic laws and regulations, and to demonstrate that action
was being taken to comply with the Resolution.” The resolution explicitly bans states153
from providing any proliferation help to non-state actors. The resolution was
adopted under Section VII of the U.N. Charter, and is thus binding on all member
states. The resolution requires states to report on the measures they have taken to
tighten their export controls. Although the resolution makes no mention of the right

150 See CRS Report RS21881, Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), by Sharon Squassoni.
151 9/11 Report, op. cit., p. 398.
152 Joseph Cirincione, “The Bush Administration and Non-Proliferation: A New Strategy
Emerges.” Testimony before the House International Relations Committee, March 30, 2004.
[Carnegie Endowment for International Peace]
[ ht t p: / / www.cei p.or g/ f i l e s/ publ i c at i ons/ pub_by_dat e .asp?p=8] .
153 Alistair Miller and Morten Bremer Maerli, “Nuclear Non-Proliferation and the United
Nations Security Council Resolution 1540,” in Policy Briefs on the Implementation of the
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Norwegian Institute of International
Affairs, April 2005; CRS Report RL30033, “Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities:
A Catalog of Recent Events.” Updated January 7, 2005. [Amy F. Woolf, Coordinator.]

of interdiction or penalties for non-compliance, it can be viewed as establishing a
legal basis for the use of interdiction or sanctions if other means have failed.154
It may be possible to ban the further spread of enrichment and reprocessing
capabilities without a new treaty such as a fissile material production cutoff treaty
(FMCT), but new voluntary agreements remain difficult to enforce. The international
community is already working on making the Additional Protocol (to full-scope
nuclear safeguards agreements) a prerequisite for nuclear imports through the
Nuclear Suppliers Group, but Pakistan is not a member of the NSG. Finally, for
political reasons, it is unlikely that the IAEA will create a special committee for
compliance, although Director General ElBaradei has set up a study group to evaluate
several recommendations that have emerged as a result of the exposure of the Khan
In testimony before Congress one non-official witness deemed that efforts to
combat nuclear proliferation remained the “stunted pillar” of the President’s National
Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction. The witness, Joseph Cirincione
of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, compared FY2004 funding for
non-proliferation programs at less than $2 billion, with $41 billion for Homeland
Security and $81 billion for military counter-proliferation efforts, including ballistic
missile defense and the war in Iraq.155
Effectively shutting down the black market trade in nuclear technology,
materials, and components may be possible with adequate cooperation from host
governments, but this objective would be easier to accomplish if Pakistan would
provide access to A.Q. Khan or otherwise provide more information on the extent of
his network. Iran’s current defiance of the IAEA and the U.N. Security Council also
underscores the limitations of multilateral approaches to countries with sufficient
financial and technological resources, and significant reverse leverage.
Expanded Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program. Even if
Pakistan agreed, which is most unlikely under current circumstances, expanding to
Pakistan the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, currently focused
on Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union, could be difficult for several
reasons. Significant barriers to assistance include U.S. domestic and international
legal and political restrictions on cooperation with states outside the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT); the low level of transparency exhibited by Pakistan;
lack of incentives for Pakistan to pursue threat reduction measures; and potentially
competing objectives of threat reduction and nuclear deterrence vis-a-vis India In
fact, Pakistan has made it clear that although it is willing to cooperate on denying
nuclear-related technology to terrorist groups, it has every intention to modernize and

154 Alistair Miller and Morten Bremer Maerli, “Nuclear Non-Proliferation and the United
Nations Security Council Resolution 1540,” in Policy Briefs on the Implementation of the
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Norwegian Institute of International
Affairs, April 2005, p. 36-40; CRS Report RL30033, “Arms Control and Nonproliferation
Activities: A Catalog of Recent Events.” Updated January 7, 2005. [Amy F. Woolf,
Coordinator.] p. 63.
155 Ibid.

expand its own nuclear forces. Apparently, as the Asher Karni-Humayun Khan ring
shows, Pakistan is committed to improving the capabilities of its nuclear weapons
even to the point of violating U.S. export laws to obtain controlled technology.156
Option 3 — Condition High Value Assistance on Access to
A.Q. Khan
Some argue that the United States should not provide Pakistan with high value
military hardware without dramatically improved cooperation on the A.Q. Khan case
and other activities linking Pakistan to nuclear proliferation. The United States might
insist on the following actions by Pakistan as a price for obtaining valued military
equipment, especially weapons systems that are not directly related to
counterterrorism cooperation, such as F-16 aircraft, anti-tank weapons, and other
weapons systems that Pakistan is seeking to upgrade its military forces and offset or
qualitatively exceed the capabilities of Indian weapons. This option could also
include longer-term waiver authority on U.S. nuclear and missile proliferation
sanctions beyond the current year-to-year extensions in appropriations bills. This
option could require Pakistan’s agreement to:
!full cooperation on A.Q. Khan’s network,
!full cooperation also regarding the Asher Karni-Humayun Khan
!strict observance of U.S. export control laws by the government of
Pakistan, the Pakistani military, and any third party intermediaries,
!absolute commitment on no future transfers of nuclear or missile
technology, and
!no new nuclear tests and restraint on nuclear and missile competition
with India
Key Rationale. A key rationale for this option is that providing Pakistan with
such high value weapons systems is only warranted if the benefits exceed the cost.
In this case, the cost to the United States is not just the dollar value of the weapons
systems but also the inevitable complications for relations with India, a country with
which the United States also has developed a de facto strategic relationship, even if
New Delhi is also allowed access to coveted U.S. defense technology, as now seems
likely. The record of the past half century shows that India will seek to match every
increase in Pakistan’s military capability (and vice-versa). One of the most
problematical aspects of selling F-16s to Pakistan is that, in the words of one study,
“The F-16 could be Pakistan’s primary nuclear-capable aircraft, capable of delivering
a 1,000-kilogram bomb to a distance of 1,400 kilometers.”157 A key question that

156 For more details, see CRS Report RL31589, Nuclear Threat Reduction Measures for
India and Pakistan, by Sharon Squassoni.
157 Federation of American Scientists WMD Around the World series: “Pakistan Nuclear
Weapons: A Brief History of Pakistan’s Nuclear Program.”
[]. Original source Federation of American
Sciences website: Joseph Cirincione with Jon B. Wolfsthal and Miriam Rajkumar, Deadly
Arsenals: Tracking Weapons of Mass Destruction. Carnegie Endowment for International

Congress may wish to consider is whether the United States is paying too high a
price, including a cost to its foreign policy interest in a stable and peaceful India-
Pakistan relationship, for what it is getting from Pakistan.158
Potentially Risky Test of Wills. A potentially significant problem with this
option is that so long as Islamabad perceives that the Bush Administration needs it
more than Pakistan needs the United States, Musharraf or a successor is in a position
to turn the tables on U.S. policymakers. That is, instead of treating the F-16s or other
weapons systems as a “carrot,” to be earned by additional cooperation, Pakistan could
reduce or limit its cooperation on terrorism as a lever to get the United States to agree
to allow the purchase of the aircraft and other desired hardware. In fact, some of
President Musharraf’s remarks at a press conference during a visit to Washington in
early December 2004 — several months before the Administration announced its
willingness to approve the sale of the F-16s — could be interpreted as effort to put
counter-pressure on the United States. Musharraf told reporters that he had discussed
the F-16 issue with President Bush and senior U.S. officials, but that the
Administration had not yet agreed to the requested purchase. At the same time,
Musharraf also implied declining enthusiasm for using Pakistani forces to hunt for
Al Qaeda in tribal zone between Pakistan and Afghanistan, where many believe bin
Laden and other senior terrorist leaders may be hiding. He reportedly criticized the
U.S. invasion of Iraq and said that the trail of Osama bin Laden had gone cold, “in
large part” because of a decline in operations by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and159
delays in the training of Afghan forces
Although using the offer to sell F-16s to Pakistan as leverage to gain more
cooperation regarding A.Q. Khan’s network or other objectives could backfire,
Musharraf’s domestic political vulnerabilities noted above might give the United
States the upper hand in any test of wills. Moreover, conditioning the sale of F-16s
on better responsiveness by Pakistan to U.S. nuclear nonproliferation concerns may
be the least risky of the options that involve putting pressure on Pakistan, but the
viability of this option depends on many factors that are outside U.S. control, and
even that of Musharraf. Because of his somewhat precarious domestic political
system, any attempt to achieve a quid-pro-quo would appear to have the best
prospects of success if done in secrecy.
F-16 Fighter Aircraft Sale and the India-Pakistan Confrontation. On
March 25, 2005, at a State Department press briefing, unnamed senior officials
announced that Pakistan would be allowed to buy an unspecified number of F-16s.
The officials also announced that the prime contractors on both the F-16 and the F-18
fighters, General Dynamics and McDonnel Douglas respectively, would be allowed
to bid on an expected Indian contract for a new multi-role combat aircraft. The

157 (...continued)
Peace, 2002. Chapter 12,” Pakistan.”
158 See CRS Report RS22148, “Combat Aircraft Sales to South Asia: Potential
Implications.” May 19, 2005 [by Christopher Bolkcom, Richard F. Grimmett, and K. Alan
159 “Bin Laden’s Trail Gone cold: Musharraf.” Agence France Presse, Dec. 5, 2004; 17:04.

announcement followed a March 2005 trip to six Asian countries, starting with India
and Pakistan, by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and, according to an unnamed
State Department briefer, “months of thinking through American Strategy towards
South Asia.”
The briefer designated by the ground rules as “senior official one” placed the
possible sale of combat aircraft to India in the context of “a new framework of
cooperation,” which might also include the sale of ballistic missile defense
technology and even cooperation on nuclear energy. In response to questions from
the press, the briefer denied that the sale of F-16s to Pakistan would be destabilizing,
arguing that while the numbers of aircraft provided to Pakistan would be relatively
small, perhaps in the neighborhood of 25, the Indian government was contemplating
a very large scale purchase.160
Whether the Administration’s decision to approve the request might be the
result of a successful strategy to gain more cooperation on A.Q. Khan’s network and
Al Qaeda cannot be determined from open sources. Should there be a link to
Pakistan’s new cooperation with the IAEA, some critics of the Administration’s
handling of Pakistan’s nuclear activities may question the value of the tradeoff.
When a questioner at the March 25, 2005 press briefing commented that the
announcement came shortly after Pakistan announced that it would allow IAEA
inspectors to look at some “nuclear parts”161 to aid its investigation of Iran’s nuclear
program, the State Department briefer responded that “We don’t want to get into the
details of our diplomatic discussions with Pakistan on this very sensitive issue.” The
briefer added, however, that “What we can say is that the A.Q. Khan issue has
obviously been an issue the Secretary has been working on very hard and she did
discuss it during her trip with the Pakistani government and we feel like the Pakistani
government is offering good cooperation on this front to address the understandable
concerns we have.”162
Congressional Role and Powers. Congress itself has the power under the
Arms Export Control Act to block an arms sale by passing a joint resolution or other
legislation with a sufficient margin (i.e., two-thirds or more) to overcome a
Presidential veto. The fact that the Administration has announced its intent to
resume sales of F-16s to Pakistan does not affect Congress’ powers. As of mid-May
2005, the Administration had not submitted a required formal notification of the
intent to sell the aircraft. Customarily the Defense Department notifies Congress
informally of its intent to carry out an arms sale, but because Pakistan was designated

160 “U.S. Department of State, Office of the Spokesman, “Background Briefing by
Administration Officials on U.S.-South Asian Relations. March 25, 2005.
161 The reference was to the IAEA’s request for centrifuge parts that could be used to
determine if radiation contamination on Iranian centrifuge parts held by the IAEA could be
matched with the Pakistani parts. On March 30, 2005, the English language Pakistani
newspaper Dawn reported that Pakistan’s foreign minister had stated the previous day that
Pakistan would send some “out-of-date pieces of centrifuges” to Geneva for testing, but that
the parts would remain in Pakistani custody and eventually returned to Pakistan.
162 “U.S. Department of State, Office of the Spokesman, “Background Briefing by
Administration Officials on U.S.-South Asian Relations.” March 25, 2005.

a non-NATO ally in June 2004, Congress would have only 15 calendar days
following the formal submission of a notification to block a sale.163
A refusal by Congress to allow the F-16 sale to go forward would have
significant, but unpredictable and almost certainly negative impact on U.S.-Pakistan
relations. Consequently, should Members of Congress wish to block the sale or attach
conditions with the least negative consequences for U.S.-Pakistan cooperation
against terrorism, they may wish to seek a behind-the-scenes dialogue with the
Administration, or otherwise make their views known prior to the receipt by
Congress of a formal notification of intent to sell the aircraft. Whether the
Administration would be willing to engage with Congress on this issue would likely
depend significantly on the nature and strength of opposition to current policy.
Option 4 — Reimposition of Nuclear Nonproliferation
For reasons noted above, neither Congress as a whole nor the Administration
have shown any interest in reimposing economic and military assistance and arms
transfer sanctions in response to Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation activities, apart from
expanding the scope of existing law to include terrorist acts or threats involving
weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Sections 6801, 6802, and 6803 of P.L. 108-
458 (S. 2845), the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Protection Act of 2004, amend
provisions of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and other laws to expand their scope
by adding penalties for the participation of individuals, either inside or outside the
United States, in “the development or production of any special nuclear material,”164th
or terrorist threats of the use of WMD. In the 109 Congress, H.R. 1553 (see
legislation section, below) would condition U.S. military assistance, arms sales,
transfers, and licenses on unrestricted access to A.Q. Khan and full compliance by
Pakistan with U.S. and IAEA requests for information about his network. This
proposed legislation has received no action as of mid-2005.
Either the President or Congress could reimpose sanctions on Pakistan. In the
case of the President, he could decline to use his general authority under Section 614
of the Foreign Assistance Act, which gives the President broad powers to waive,
subject to consultation with Congress, nonproliferation sections of the Foreign
Assistance Act that would otherwise apply to Pakistan. He could also decline to use
waiver authority provided annually in successive foreign operations appropriation
acts since 2001 to waive provisions of appropriations acts that forbid assistance to
countries in default of their debt repayments or whose democratic government has
been overthrown in a military coup.
Congress also has the power to block the President’s use of waiver authority
under Section 614 of the FAA and other legislation. Additionally, Congress could
decline to renew the annual foreign operations appropriations authority to waive the

163 For detailed information on the role of Congress in arms sales see CRS Report RL31675,
Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process,” by Richard F. Grimmett.
164 These sections add a new Section 832 to Title 16, Part I, Chapter 39.

ban on aid to countries that are in default on their debts or have governments that
took power by military coups. Congress could also condition U.S. aid to Pakistan on
specific requirements such as full cooperation by the Musharraf government in
efforts to learn the full extent of A.Q. Khan’s network. Under present circumstances
the President could be expected to resist strongly any effort to constrain his freedom
of action regarding Pakistan, both on policy grounds and the defense of executive
branch authority.
Section 2235 (“Extension of Pakistan Waivers”) of S. 600, “The Foreign
Affairs Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2006 and 2007,” reported to the Senate
May 26, 2005 (S.Rept. 109-35), includes a subsection (b) that would (1) renew the
current authority of the President to waive for FY2006 the application in Pakistan’s
case of current law providing for sanctions on “any country whose duly elected head
of government was deposed by decree or military coup, if the President determines
and certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that such waiver — (A)
would facilitate the transition to democratic rule in Pakistan ; and (B) is important
to United States efforts to respond to, deter, or prevent acts of international
terrorism.” Subsection (b) would extend the current exemption of Pakistan from the
application of provisions of foreign assistance law regarding foreign country loan
Section 2236 of S. 600, “The Foreign Affairs Authorization Act, Fiscal
Years 2006 and 2007,” would amend the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of
FY2003 to modify an existing reporting requirement added in 1992 to require a
report to be submitted to Congress no later than April 1, 2006, as pursuant to Section
620F of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, amended, that “shall include a
description of the efforts of the United States Government to achieve the objectives
described in subsections (a) and (b), the progress made toward achieving such
objectives, and the likelihood that such objectives will be achieved by September 30,165


S. 12, “Targeting Terrorists More Effectively Act of 2005,” introduced on
January 24, 2005, and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, would
authorize a total of $797 in economic and military assistance to Pakistan, subject to
conditions. Section 232(d) of Subtitle D — “Strategy for the United States
Relationship With Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia,” would bar military and
economic aid to Pakistan “unless the President submits to Congress for such fiscal
year a certification that no military or economic assistance provided by the United

165 Subsection (a) of Section 620F of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, amended, contains
a set of nine “findings” regarding the threat of nuclear proliferation in South Asia.
Subsection (b) added by the same legislation consists of a “Sense of the Congress”statement
that “the President should pursue a policy which seeks a negotiated solution to the issue of
nuclear non-proliferation in South Asia at the earliest possible time....” Added by Sec.
585(a) of P.L. 102-391, the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs
Appropriations Act, 1993, October 10, 1992.

States to the Government of Pakistan will be provided, either directly or indirectly,
to a person that is opposing or undermining the efforts of the United States
Government to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons.” Congress has not passed
a foreign assistance authorization bill since 1985, but proposed amendments to the
FAA contained in uncompleted authorization bills sometimes are incorporated into
the annual appropriations bill for foreign operations.
H.R. 1553, “The Pakistan Proliferation Accountability Act of 2005,”
introduced and referred to the House International Relations Committee on April 12,
2005, would prohibit military assistance, military sales, transfers or licenses, until the
fulfillment of several requirements. These include the requirements that the Pakistani
government provides unrestricted access to A.Q. Khan, complies fully with requests
by the IAEA for assistance in discovering the full extent of Khan’s activities, and the
U.S. Government has “determined the nature and extent of the illegal international
proliferation network’s connection to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden,” and in
conjunction with the IAEA has confirmed that complete dismantlement of Khan’s