A groundbreaking account of Pakistan’s rise as a nuclear power draws on elite interviews and primary sources to challenge long-held misconceptions
Pakistan’s pathway to developing nuclear weapons remains shrouded in mystery and surrounded by misconceptions. While it is no secret why Pakistan became a nuclear power, how Pakistan became a nuclear state has been obscured by mythmaking.
In Pakistan’s Pathway to the Bomb, Mansoor Ahmed offers a revisionist history of Pakistan’s nuclear program and the bureaucratic politics that shaped its development from its inception in 1956 until the 1998 nuclear tests. Drawing on elite interviews and previously untapped primary sources, Ahmed offers a fresh assessment of the actual and perceived roles and contributions of the scientists and engineers who led the nuclear program. He shows how personal ambitions and politics within Pakistan’s strategic enclave generated inter-laboratory competition in the nuclear establishment, which determined nuclear choices for the country for more than two decades. It also produced unexpected consequences such as illicit proliferation to other countries largely outside of the Pakistani state’s control.
As Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent program continues to grow, Pakistan’s Pathway to the Bomb provides fresh insights into how this nuclear power has evolved in the past and where it stands today. Scholars and students of security studies, Pakistani history, and nuclear proliferation will find this book to be invaluable to their understanding of the country’s nuclear program, policies, and posture.
About the Author
“With great skill and new evidence, Mansoor Ahmed explores the complex history of Pakistan’s nuclear project, including the roles of Munir Khan and A.Q. Khan. This is an important contribution to our understanding of Pakistani policy and of nuclear history more generally.” ― David J. Holloway, Raymond A. Spruance Professor of International History, emeritus, Stanford University
“Utilizing familial ties, access to primary source material, and interviews, Mansoor Ahmed has provided us with the most detailed, nuanced account we may ever have of Pakistan’s nuclear programs.” ― Michael Krepon, cofounder, Stimson Center, and author of Winning and Losing the Nuclear Peace: The Rise, Demise, and Revival of Arms Control
“Debunking myths and correcting common wisdom, Mansoor Ahmed’s opus is a must read for anyone interested in the full story of Pakistan’s development of nuclear weapons, particularly the people and the process involved. Drawing on unique sources and interviews, Ahmed brings new understanding to issues such as the interplay between the plutonium and enriched uranium routes to the bomb, A. Q. Khan’s inflated role, and the ineffectiveness of imported North Korean Nodong missiles. I learned a lot.” ― Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Americas Office, International Institute for Strategic Studies