A “radical takeover” of Pakistan, which possesses “approximately 90-110 nuclear warheads,” or a proliferation by radical sympathizers within Pakistan’s nuclear complex in case of a breakdown of controls,” could have an impact on the country’s nuclear safeguards, according to a report issued this month by the United States Congress.
The U.S. Congressional Research Service report on Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues noted that in addition to the growing arsenal of warheads, “Islamabad is producing fissile material, adding to related production facilities, and deploying additional delivery vehicles.”
The report expressed deep concerns that the instability in Pakistan “has called the extent and durability” of Pakistan’s nuclear safety reforms into questions, and lingering concerns remain over the legacy of the illicit nuclear procurement network run by former Pakistani nuclear official A.Q. Khan.
While the report cautioned that Pakistan could undertake both quantitative and qualitative improvements to its nuclear arsenal it also noted that such development might have a link to the 2008 U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement. Islamabad does not have a public, detailed nuclear doctrine, but its “minimum credible deterrent” is widely regarded as designed to dissuade India from taking military action against Pakistan, the Congressional report said.