Close ties between Pakistan and China are too well known. The two neighbours of India whom New Delhi views with lot of suspicion have often described their bilateral ties as “higher than the Mount Everest and deeper than the oceans”. Recently China has started describing Pakistan as “our own Israel”. Obviously this jibe is aimed at the United States. The recently triggered crisis in US-Pakistan relations has proven China’s “our own Israel” remark for Pakistan as a defiant Islamabad has started playing the China card with the US. The Americans, who had threatened Pakistan to bomb it back to stone age exactly a decade ago to force the then Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf to cast his country’s lot with Washington in its war against al Qaida-Taliban sponsored terror, is no longer in a position to use the same language because of a vastly stronger China today.
 
Nothing demonstrates the cozy Sino-Pak ties as China’s massive help to Pakistan in the latter’s nuclear programme. More skeletons have tumbled out of the murky Sino-Pak nuclear cooperation with the recent disclosure of a 13-page letter written by nuclear proliferator AQ Khan clearly establishes Pakistan as one of the biggest proliferators of nuclear weapon designs and materials. Khan’s disclosures also show the crucial importance of China in Pakistani nuclear programme which turned into a nuclear mart with Khan as the vital lynchpin. Khan, in his letter, said he had stolen ``billions of dollars` worth of technology, personal notes and experience without which Pakistan could never have developed its nuclear weapons programme.

The letter revealed how Khan had tied up with the Chinese earlier enough, bartering the knowledge and technology he had stolen with materials and processing units. He said it was his assistance to the Chinese which encouraged them to give Pakistan a nuclear power plant and subsequent assistance in developing the nuclear programme. Khan said the Chinese were so impressed with the cold tests and the success of manufacturing components for 30 weapons that Chinese Minister for Nuclear Technology gifted Pakistan 50 kgs of weapon-grade enriched uranium enough for making two nuclear weapons. This gift, Khan wrote, was in exchange for ``enrichment technology they received from me``.

Even more serious revelations refer to Pakistan helping Iran to develop its nuclear weapons programme. Khan said the first attempt to help Iran began when some of the Shia officers working with me contacted the Iranian officials after the Iran Revolution. Then, in 1989 or 1990, Army chief General Aslam Beg promised Iran a few weapons and technology in exchange for funding Pakistan’s defence budget for 10 years. Khan said the Iranian Army Chief, Shamkani, flew to Islamabad to pick up the weapons and technology but could not do so as the Pakistan Army developed cold feet. Subsequently, Khan said, Pakistan gave them centrifuge parts and drawings which were vintage and would not have been of any great help to the Iranians for their weapons development programme.
 
Khan said General Beg had asked him whether Pakistan could help Iran develop its nuclear weapons capability. Beg argued that a nuclear Pakistan and Iran could ``work as a shield` between Pakistan and the Western nations and deter any attempt to destroy Pakistan. Khan said he agreed in principle after he got clearance from the Prime Minister’s office. Benazir Bhutto was then the Prime Minister.
 
Khan’s letter also confirms Pakistan’s Libyan connection. It was Col Gaddafi who financed the nuclear programme, for instance.  Gaddafi gave Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto $200 million to kick start the project. To express gratitude, Bhutto named a prominent cricket stadium in Lahore as Gaddafi Stadium. Pakistan also gave Libya a set of Centrifuge drawings and components. Khan gave details of Libya’s unsuccessful efforts to develop a nuclear weapons programme.

Khan’s confessions also reveal Pakistan’s close association with North Korea. North Korea has been supplying materials and components for Pakistan’s ballistic missile programme and both the armies had a close relationship. So close was the relationship that the North Koreans paid hefty bribes to clear payments from Pakistan Army. For instance, in 1996, one General Kang was advised by the GHQ to pay bribes to General Ziauddin to release the payments due to North Korea for the purchase of ballistic missile components. Kang gave Ziauddin $0.5 million in cash. Ziauddin, however, returned the money as the new Army chief, General Jehangir Karamat wanted the money to paid into a secret fund. Karamat also wanted the quantum to be hiked which the Koreans agreed and Kang came with $2.5 million in cash but on the condition that Pakistan would help them with the enrichment technology.

Khan said General Karamat agreed to help the North Koreans and supplied them with 20 P1 centrifuge machines. The North Koreans wanted four P2 machines in addition which Karamat agreed to supply. Subsequently, the North Koreans were given some control panels and software packages for the nuclear weapons development programme.  In return, the Koreans ``taught us how to make Krytrons (fast switches) ``, a key component for nuclear weapons detonation.

Khan, known as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, was detained in 2004 after the US discovered a vast network of smugglers and scientists which was selling and buying nuclear weapons designs and materials. Khan was the leader of the network which facilitated the nuclear weapons programme of Pakistan. Khan’s confessions prove beyond any doubt Pakistan’s role in making the world a dangerous place to live by proliferating nuclear technology and materials to rogue nations like North Korea. This makes Pakistan a rogue nation itself.