Maleeha Lodhi, former Pakistani ambassador to the UN, wrote an article in which she recounted this story:
It was then that Senator Hank Brown informed me — as mentioned in the book — that he intended to move an amendment to the Pressler legislation to lift the ban on economic assistance to Pakistan and release all embargoed military equipment including the F-16s. Between then and the success of the Brown Amendment, for which the Pakistan Embassy lobbied hard, the Clinton administration tried to secure a unilateral nuclear concession from Pakistan in return for supporting the amendment.
Pakistan refused, including the proposal to “cap” its nuclear weapons programme in exchange for release of the F-16s. I was present in meetings during the visit of army chief Gen Waheed Kakar to Washington when he flatly told the Americans that as “Pakistan’s national security was non-negotiable” they could keep the planes. In the end, the Brown Amendment was adopted, economic sanctions lifted and military equipment worth $368 million was released except the F-16s
Crises between India and Pakistan are of particular concern because of the risk of an escalatory cycle between two nuclear-armed states. New Delhi and Islamabad probably are inclined to reinforce the current calm in their relationship following both sides’ renewal of a cease-fire along the Line of Control in early2021. However, Pakistan has a long history of supporting anti-India militant groups, and under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is more likely than in the past to respond with military force to perceived or real Pakistani provocations. Each side’s perception of heightened tensions raises the risk of conflict, with violent unrest in Kashmir or a militant attack in India being potential flashpoints.
Despite the lapse of one year, the Government of India has not acceded to Pakistan’s demand of a joint probein order to accurately establish the facts surrounding this serious incident. India has also not shared findings of its internal inquiry with Pakistan. Its unilateral and hasty closure of the so-called internal inquiry have raised serious questions on the command and control systems in place in India for its strategic weapons.
Pakistan reiterates its demand for joint probe into this irresponsible incident. We also expect satisfactory response to and clarification of several fundamental questions regarding security protocols and technical safeguards against accidental or unauthorized launch of missiles in a nuclearized environment.
From a recent review of Espionage of the Century by Zahid Said, former Counselor in Pakistan’s Netherlands embassy:
Dr Khan requested Ambassador Zahid to send some documents and other material through diplomatic bag to Islamabad as PAEC Chairman Dr Munir had requested for them. After some reluctance, Zahid Said agreed to receive the huge cache of papers and metal parts of the centrifuge to be shifted to Pakistan unchecked and unnoticed by the local authorities through a diplomatic channel.
In the hair-raising details of the events and challenges that followed the writer brings the material from Dr Khan’s residence to his official building where they lay in the garage for a few days. It was a grave risk and even a minute leakage was sufficient to sabotage the diplomatic ties with The Netherlands. According to the writer, when he informed his boss Agha Shahi, the then Secretary Foreign Affairs about his decision to help Dr Khan [which was in fact a help to his nation and country] he was livid to know how a junior officer of the Pakistani mission could dare act on his own without taking the Foreign Office into confidence. Zahid Said was thus directed to dump the material on some coast of the sea. However, he decided to do the opposite and handed the material to another Pakistani diplomat safely.
The WWTA’s mention of the Fakhrizadeh assassination as a catalyst for Iran’s nuclear program acceleration strikes me as new, though maybe I’ve missed something:
Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities that would be necessary to produce a testable nuclear device. Since the assassination in November 2020 of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran has accelerated the expansion of its nuclear program, stated that it is no longer constrained by any JCPOA limits, and undertaken research and development activities that would bring it closer to producing the fissile material for completing a nuclear device following a decision to do so.
QUESTION: How do you expect to have any credibility on this subject when you can’t even acknowledge that Israel has a nuclear weapons arsenal?
NED PRICE: Again, I just don’t have anything to offer on this. We’d refer any questions to the Israeli government. As a practice when it comes to just about any country, certainly any partner, we don’t speak in detail to the capabilities, to the programs of partners around the world, just as we would expect they would not speak to ours.
QUESTION: You’re referring me to the Israeli Government about their own nuclear program?
MR PRICE: That’s correct.
QUESTION: About their own nuclear program – you can’t acknowledge that Israel has a nuclear weapons program?