One More Reason to Worry about Pakistan’s Nukes
Last year, Pakistan experienced a wave of leadership transitions. The
country welcomed a new government, president, Supreme Court chief
justice, and army chief.
Yet one of the most troubling changes occurred on the very last day
of 2013, and with little fanfare. On December 31, according to Pakistani
media reports, Lt. Gen. Khalid Kidwai logged his last day as head of
the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), the entity in charge of Pakistan’s
Kidwai has long been the institutional face of Pakistani nukes. The
SPD was established in 2000, and Kidwai has been its only director (he’s
been described as the “longest serving boss in any strategic or defense
establishment” in Pakistan). He received numerous extensions to
continue in the post after 2007, the year of his formal retirement.
Kidwai garnered high praise for his work. Pakistani patriots may revere
him for presiding over a drastic expansion of the nation’s nuclear
arsenal, but international security experts laud him for his
leadership-as well as for improving security at sensitive sites. In the
words of South Asia security specialist Michael Krepon, “his competence
inspires the view that he is indispensable.”
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