Mauro Elli

Pakistani Nuclear Activities According to the Records of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (1964-1973)

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By drawing for the first time on papers produced by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), this paper aims at throwing a fresh look at Pakistani nuclear activities in the long 1960s and reconsidering the role played by two major actors such as Prof. Abdus Salam and Dr. Ishrat Husmani. These unpublished documents corroborate the idea that – far from being a mere preamble to ensuing proliferation – PAEC activities had a distinctive rationale in the period considered. Salam and Usmani expected that nuclear energy could be both the harbinger and an instrument of a top-down modernization of Pakistan, which in turn would have engendered economic development and political consolidation for the country. The comprehensive, document-based picture of PAEC’s manifold activities suggests a possible different approach to the issue of proliferation at the beginning of 1970s: not so much of a more or less sudden turn after a decade of hesitations, but rather the defeat of the original modernization project.


  • Pakistan
  • Nuclear Energy
  • Economic Relations
  • Third World
  • IAEA


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