U.S. should worry more about Pakistan than North Korea, says former senator

ANI | Updated: Sep 18, 2017 21:24 IST

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], September 18 (ANI): North Korea's brazen and defiant nuclear tests last week have been keeping the leadership in United States up at night, but, a former senator, Larry Pressler, in an opinion piece for The Hill, has said that Pakistan's unsecured nuclear weapons programme is even more dangerous and should keep all of us up at night.

"A small group of terrorists buys a nuclear weapon from Pakistani generals with dark money and transports it to the port of Karachi in a pickup truck. From there, the weapon is hidden in a crate, cushioned amongst textiles and agricultural products, and loaded onto a container ship bound for the United States, where it could very easily destroy one of our cities. This operation could be carried out by a fairly small number of terrorists. This scenario is a disaster waiting to happen because Pakistan continues to harbor some of the most hardened Islamic militants and terrorists within its borders and because the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons is suspect, even though Pakistani leaders insist their program is safeguarded. The dangers of their nuclear weapons program are many: they are routinely moved around the country over dangerous and treacherous roads in unmarked vehicles with few defenses," Pressler writes.

The former senate then goes ahead to castigate Pakistan and says, "Pakistan's leaders have essentially blackmailed us into providing aid for the War on Terror with threats to cease assistance in rooting out terrorists in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, we know full well that Pakistan allows terrorists to operate unfettered in large swaths of its southwestern province of Baluchistan and their potential access to Pakistan's nuclear weapons should keep us all up at night."

Larry Pressler has served three terms as U.S. senator from South Dakota and is the author of the newly published book - 'Neighbours in Arms: An American Senator's Quest for Disarmament in a Nuclear Subcontinent.'

He reiterates what he has written in his book, citing, "Pakistan should be treated like North Korea, like a rogue state. The only reason Pakistan is not a totally failed state is that countries like China and the United States continue to prop it up with massive amounts of foreign aid. Unless Pakistan changes its ways with respect to terrorism, it should be declared a terrorist state. Indeed, the first Bush administration seriously considered doing so in 1992.'

The former senate asserts that "Pakistan's leaders have essentially blackmailed us into providing aid for the War on Terror with threats to cease assistance in rooting out terrorists in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, we know full well that Pakistan allows terrorists to operate unfettered in large swaths of its southwestern province of Baluchistan and their potential access to Pakistan's nuclear weapons should keep us all up at night."

Pressler further says that the "fundamental shift in foreign policy towards Pakistan that appears to be underway" is necessary because "Pakistan will only respond to punitive action that hits where it hurts: in their pocketbooks."

"I agree with Trump, but I would press for an even closer relationship with India. We must not equivocate. We must decisively choose India as our nation's most favored ally in the world, on a par with the special relationships we have with Israel and the United Kingdom. Oddly enough, the election of Trump as president might be the best thing for the relationship between the world's two largest democracies," he concludes. (ANI)

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