So it took a four page letter written by the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb A Q Khan to his wife and leaked by a British journalist to confirm the world's worst kept secret: That Pakistan the most 'dangerous place on Earth' is a nuclear proliferator. Till the letter, written in a loose scrawl by AQ Khan, wasn't made public the world was made to believe the Pakistani nuclear scientist was a Dr. Strangelove running a basement nuclear Walmart unbeknownst to the ruling establishment. Former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf even went on record to describe Khan as a nuclear entrepreneur working in complete secrecy to line his own pockets. But that theory now lies in tatters. If anything, the letter blows the lid off a Pakistan government nuclear nexus with a number of countries (Iran, North Korea, China and Libya) that have defied international convention and even law in their pursuit to acquire nuclear weapons technology
As is to be expected Pakistan has quickly dismissed the letter as pure fiction cooked up by A Q Khan to blackmail the country. But that claim doesn't stand to reason. After all, why would Khan want to antagonise Pakistan especially after he's been let-off by the courts and is effectively a free man? And why would he want to risk extradition to the United States? That A Q Khan is equally shaken by the leak is underscored by the fact that he has hurriedly brushed aside questions related to the veracity of the letter.
But the bigger questions persist. Why then has the letter been leaked now, six years after it was written? And who stands to gain from it being made public? The answer could have been provided by British Journalist Simon Henderson who 'leaked' the letter in the Sunday Times. But he isn't talking so questions abound: Has the Obama administration (which is in zealous pursuit of non-proliferation) orchestrated the leak to get a universal treaty to ban all nuclear testing passed in the next 12 months? This remains a not too far fetched possibility. Especially when one considers that on September 23, 2009 Obama spoke at the United Nations warning that "countries that refuse to live up to their obligations must face consequences".
Administration insiders say Obama is particularly keen to act against Iran and North Korea and the Khan 'letter bomb' helps the U.S build a case and approach the United Nations or other multi-lateral forum to act against the so-called rogue states. Aside from the answers one hopes to supply to the questions raised by the ‘letter bomb’ expose there is little doubt that A Q Khan is once again the crucible of a 'fission' reaction that could have far reaching geo-political consequences.