The focus of the world is on the demonstrations and clashes in Egypt, and there are many reasons why that is worrisome. There is always cause for concern when economic pressures make large numbers of people willing to march against a repressive government. However, we should be more concerned about Pakistan, which has about 100 nuclear weapons and is not the picture of political stability.
Pakistan has been a nominal ally of the United States and has been at war with India three times. BBC News reported the recent assassination of Governor Salam Taseer by one of his bodyguards. The guard said he killed Taseer because the Governor had voiced opposition to the blasphemy law when he came to the defense of a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Taseer had also recently spoken out about “illiterate clerics” who had issued the fatwa religious decrees resulting in assassination of the two Bhuttos. There were demonstrations calling the guard a hero for carrying out the assassination of a man who was defending a blasphemer, and other demonstrations mourning the loss of the Governor who had advocated moderate reforms.
The NY Times reported there are tens of thousands of Pakistanis working in their nuclear weapons programs, and part of their efforts involve building reactors to make a new generation of plutonium weapons. (You can see Pakistan join the nuclear club toward the end of the 15 minute “Video of Nuclear Detonations 1845-1998” available in the December 2010 archive on this site. India exploded its first bomb in 1974 and Pakistan’s was in 1998.) Pakistan countered criticism of their expanding nuclear programs with reports emphasizing their belief they are following “…a responsible policy of maintaining credible minimum deterrence…”
There are reports that the United States has provided hundreds of millions to Pakistan to secure their nuclear materials and weapons. However, it is difficult to imagine the possible futility of those expenditures and the consequences if Pakistan would fall to a government friendly to Iran.