PM-in-waiting Imran Khan set to appoint Pakistan’s own Dr Strangelove as his defence minister

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New Delhi: Shirin Mazari, a prominent Islamabad-based scholar under consideration for appointment as Pakistan’s next defence minister by soon-to-be prime minister Imran Khan, publicly advocated nuclear strikes on Indian population centres in the event of war between the two countries, a review of her work by Firstpost has revealed. “Targeting” of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, Mazari wrote in an October 1999 article published in The Defence Journal, “should be primarily counter-value focusing on Indian urban and industrial centres”.In nuclear warfare doctrine, counter-value targets refer to enemy assets which are of value, but not actually a military threat, such as cities and civilian populations. The term counter-force is used to refer to military targets.In an earlier article in The Defence Journal, written in April 1999, Mazari had given more specifics on her counter-value targeting recommendations. “Included in this,” she wrote, “would be New Delhi, Bombay and all the nuclear installations that come within this range.”“India’s nuclear installations are close to population centres,” Mazari continued, “so damage can be compounded by attacking these facilities.”The two countries had, on 31 December, 1988, signed an agreement not to attack each other’s nuclear facilities. From January 27, 1991, when the agreement went into force, Islamabad and New Delhi have exchanged lists of nuclear facilities each year. “Lots of capitals across the world are going to be very worried about Mazari’s appointment,” a senior Indian diplomat told Firstpost, “Leave aside her evident lack of commitment to binding national agreements, her casual language on nuclear war is of extreme concern.”There was concern in the United States, too, over reports — that first appeared on Pakistan’s Geo and Dunya television stations — that Khan is considering appointing Mazari to his Cabinet, either as defence minister or foreign minister.“Frankly,” one official told Firstpost, “it’s bad enough that someone like this occupies a prominent role in public life; her appointment to a key strategic position would be very, very disturbing.”