Regarding the opinion-page column ``No Blinking at Pakistan's Bomb,'' Nov. 21: Although non-proliferation is a noble aim, singling out Pakistan and turning a blind eye to other countries that are engaged in developing nuclear weapons is not only discriminatory and hypocritical, but also debases the law calling for aid cut-off to any country involved in nuclear proliferation. Israel, for example, has secretly developed an arsenal of nuclear weapons while receiving billions of dollars in aid from an unquestioning Congress.
The author must also consider the situation in South Asia. Pakistan feels threatened by the size, power, and domineering attitude of India, which has demonstrated its technical superiority. India has the fourth largest army in the world and a long-term ambition of becoming the dominant power in and around the Indian Ocean. Is it any surprise that Pakistan wants to develop a nuclear deterrent to safeguard itself from a perceived Indian threat?
India must allay the fears of its smaller neighbors by taking the first step toward military de-escalation. Only then will Pakistan feel comfortable enough to abstain from going nuclear. Threatening aid cut-off, while ignoring other factors, is not going to sway Pakistan. It may even have the opposite effect. N. Musharraf, Oak Brook, Ill.
On several occasions, Pakistan proposed a simultaneous signing of a non-proliferation treaty to declare the region a nuclear-free zone. India has been adamant in its rejection of this proposal. Countries with nuclear weaponry should not dictate that other countries go without unless they are willing to do the same. Following this logic, Pakistan has every right to nuclear capability. Ever since India detonated its atomic bomb in 1974, it has been acting like a regional superpower. If the international community does not object to India owning nuclear capability, then it should not object to Pakistan doing the same. Aqil M. Azmi, Boulder, Colo.
Friendship between the US and Pakistan extends beyond bilateral benefits and constitutes an important element in the pursuit of regional and international peace. The newly elected democratic government in Pakistan has accorded high priority to its relations with Washington, and is engaged in a review of its policy. Pakistan, like other sovereign states, possesses security considerations which must be addressed in a regional context. Pakistan's negotiations with the US are based on its respect for US laws and its desire for global non-proliferation, neither of which are incompatible with its legitimate security concerns.
The author doubts the qualifications of ``future Pakistan governments [to be] responsible custodians of these weapons of mass destruction.'' The conduct of responsible international diplomacy is not the monopoly of any single nation. Jamsheed K.A. Marker, New York, Permanent Rep. of Pakistan to the UN, Pakistan Mission to the UN
I understand that by law the US cannot provide foreign aid to any country that has developed nuclear weapons. How is it then that Israel receives more US foreign aid than any other country and has 50 to 100 warheads with delivery systems capable of reaching most Arab countries and the southern parts of the Soviet Union? I agree with the author that ``the integrity of US law and the tattered shreds of our global non-proliferation policy are at stake here,'' but this double standard is unjust. It is the kind of hypocrisy that helps provoke so much bitterness in the Middle East. Either a law is a law or it isn't. Helen Chrapla, Neenah, Wis.