Pakistani nuclear physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy in a statement said that Increasing radicalisation within Pakistan’s military could lead to its nuclear weapons being hijacked by radicals.
Indian media quoted Hoodbhoy, who was in London for the launch of his book ‘Confronting the Bomb’. Hoodbhoy said that the Safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is a major concern. The growing radicalisation within the military, keeping in mind the attacks on its own internal bases could lead to these nuclear weapons being hijacked by radical Islamists.
He estimated Pakistan’s arsenal to be similar to India’s, at around 120-130 warheads.
He was answering questions from members of the Indian Journalists’ Association at the Indali Lounge last evening.
He added that earlier, such weapons were seen as just a means of deterrence and the most dangerous development is the increasing search for fissile material as a new dimension of tactical nuclear war has entered the picture. This in turn would mean that the number of weapons Pakistan possesses will steadily increase.
Hoodbhoy, who received his PhD in nuclear physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), stressed that the issue needs to be addressed for the sake of sub-continental as well as global security.
He added that India and Pakistan have come close to nuclear war at least five times in 1987, 1990, during Kargil (1999), after the attack on the Indian Parliament (2001) and the Mumbai attacks in 2008.
Hoodhboy further said that given the history of nuclear tension the countries can’t afford to be passive on this issue. The fallout, from the blast itself to the radioactive effects, will be felt not just in the sub-continent but around the world.