The Pakistan Problem - The Australian editorial
Normally the testimony of a self-confessed nuclear arms smuggler who did more damage to the non-proliferation regime than any other individual, wouldn't count for much. But the latest allegations by rogue scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan that Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf was directly involved in the transfer of centrifuges to North Korea have a depressing ring of credibility about them. While we haven't heard the last word on Dr Khan's proliferation network, the fact is that Pakistan's nuclear technology was being sold to the highest bidder while Mr Musharraf held the reins of the state, the military and the intelligence apparatus. Despite uncertainty over whether the Khan network extended to al-Qa'ida or other terrorist groups, Mr Musharraf refused to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to question Dr Khan about his activities. Though Pakistan government claims to have evidence to the contrary, it is hard to believe that centrifuges could have been loaded on a plane for Pyongyang without the knowledge of the military's top brass. The Khan caper is not the only fallout of the Musharraf era that is haunting Pakistan and the region today. Suicide attacks are on the increase, with 25 people killed in the latest blast in the capital Islamabad on Sunday. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas is also largely of Mr Musharraf's own making.