Should Pakistan finally take the final, all-important diplomatic step?
Should the country sign on to become part of such an exclusive Ã¢â‚¬ËœclubÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ in which secretive details that indeed surface from within its domain by decision and policymakers bear the threat of a subpoena or grand jury testimony, rigorous imprisonment or for that matter, treasonous capital punishment?
Finally, is it in the best interests of a geostrategically-placed Pakistan and/or of the subcontinent, within the next five to 10 years, to rudimentarily make itself vulnerable in a globalization effort at the epicentre of world bargaining and at the forefront of Ã¢â‚¬Ëœthe war on terrorismÃ¢â‚¬â„¢?
All of these poignant questions fall under a larger spectrum and much more intricate question that has undoubtedly been posed in the past, but perhaps not at a time when the world desperately needs a level of psychological sustainability enforced upon it.
One does not need renowned journalists and Middle East aficionados Bernard Lewis and Robert Fisk to reveal that this current Ã¢â‚¬ËœwarÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ in the most simple of explanations will not cease during the readersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ lifetime, nor that of their childrensÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ lifetime. This war, whether it be on the bluffs of the Golan Heights, in the Ã¢â‚¬ËœprisonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ of the Gaza Strip, behind the hidden niches of Baghdad or below the caves of Tora Bora, may not soon be over until 2050. Yes. 2050.
It is important to note that the aforementioned year is an estimation of a simple calculation that equates to al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and even the janjaweedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s endurance lasting two generations. It is also important to note that these same three factions are just three, with emphasis on the number three, of the most menacing terrors in the world today. They do not Ã¢â‚¬ËœfoldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ or quit when they face defeat. Both in the shadows, and behind the front lines, are thousands, tens of thousands of AllahÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s warriors, waiting for their turn to shed the blood of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s soldiers, who more rapidly, and with less bravado, perish Ã¢â‚¬" they die off because in fact they have something to live for, not something more to die for.
The question, in question, however, is not Ã¢â‚¬ËœWill Pervez Musharraf dictatorially reign in the streets of Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore for another five gruelling years?Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ nor is it Ã¢â‚¬ËœWill the directives of the current Pakistani government, backed by the millions of dollars of U.S.-funded weaponry finally take out Osama bin-laden, the demigod of madrassas that span the Middle East, south Asia and exponentially filter throughout the Muslim and Judeo-Christian world?Ã¢â‚¬â„¢
More to the point, and comprising the interlude, the very question nationals and foreigners with protected interests in Pakistan should be asking is a conundrum vital to the future of this state and one that has perhaps eluded the thoughts of the intelligentsia and political theorists, and justifiably so, since 2001, Ã¢â‚¬ËœShould Pakistan sign on to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)?Ã¢â‚¬â„¢
General Musharraf stated that the Kargil crisis of 1998 did not involve the threat of nuclear warfare, although with tests between both India and Pakistan, it became the second such encounter, the first since October 1963 and the Cuban Missile Crisis which engrossed the Soviet Union and the United States - two nuclear powers became entangled in a virtual Armageddon.
Musharraf vehemently denies in his recent book and memoirs that Kargil was nothing more than a skilful battle in which the Pakistani military politely backed away in order to dissuade the Indian side from befalling more casualties. However, knowing that Pakistan will be host, or victim, to perhaps the next 45 years of warfare in world history, is it satisfactory to know that the most sane and least corrupt of Pak rulers in 60 years has relegated a possible nuclear showdown to a minor scuffle in the mountains?
Paraphrasing the pre-eminent political theorist, Noam Chomsky, it is therefore essential and one of historyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most elementary moral truisms to have Pakistan, and time will dictate, India, sign, ratify and adhere to the NPT.
The NPT is useful in India and PakistanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s case, because with IndiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hardline policy of Ã¢â‚¬Ëœno first useÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, the onus therefore lays with Musharraf and Shaukat Aziz. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the author of the NPT and its safeguard, is fully capable under the guidance of Nobel Peace Prize winner and IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei in convincing the Pak government to: First and most crucial, discontinuing the promotion of proliferation of nuclear weapons, second, eventually disarming in a 10-15 year range, and third, and least important, allowing the continuation of the investigation into nuclear energy research. The question and crux of this problem is the ability or inability to remove a known variable, nuclear weapon capability, in a nuclear state. The questionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s answer and zenith-like conclusion will discontinue the all but inevitable causation of this dangerous game of the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœwar on terrorismÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.
The world has somehow avoided further escalation in the Middle East during the wars of 1967, 1971 and 1973 that involved Israel, another country who has not signed the NPT, as, undoubtedly, big brother nervously watches over their shoulder. The head of state, Ehud Olmert, has all but admitted the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s possession as has a former technician, going further in revealing their location in the desert near Egypt.
If the Cuban Missile Crisis set the presupposed Ã¢â‚¬ËœmarkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ for severity related to nuclear containment then Israel and the Middle East reiterated the point in which all potential nuclear catastrophes could happen and allowed all to see. However, with India, Pakistan and the level of harm that can be unleashed in this part of the world, with religious zeal and temperament at their current boiling point, and in this unforeseen, truly unique timeframe, never to be again seen in our, or our childrensÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ lifetimes, we may soon be in the midst of an Apocalypse Ã¢â‚¬" something AllahÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s undeniable, incalculable faithful wanted when they first had set out with their plan of global jihad.