Conceived in 1992, the JF-17 project was jointly undertaken and pursued by Pakistan and China until the first prototype carried out its maiden flight in September 2003.It has already decided to do the same with battle tanks - and Saudi Arabia is actively contemplating a massive purchase. Pakistan continues to improve its ballistic missile force and conducted a test-firing of a new missile design today. The Pakistani Prime Minister said of the test "This has enhanced the respect and image of Pakistan. This has reinforced our defence and raised the rank of Pakistan in the comity of nations. It shows the world that Pakistanis are a serious nation."
Let us not forget, too, the proliferation efforts of Pakistani national hero A. Q. Khan - efforts almost certainly made with government backing. Khan is still being shielded by the Pakistani government and there are rumors his network may have started up again.
Then there is General Musharraf himself - a real live dictator, not term-limited and still in uniform while threatening to arrest his main opposition leaders if they ever step foot in Pakistan again. He is adamant he is no panderer to U.S. interests and admits to keeping his true agenda pragmatically hidden. His government and intelligence service is a major sponsor of terrorism in India and Afghanistan
In every respect, Pakistan is currently exactly what the Bush administration accuses the Iranian regime of wishing to be. Only Pakistan is an ally - for now. Musharraf was for the Taliban and al-Qaida before he was against them and if it would help him cling on to power he would switch allegiance again in a heartbeat.
To be gearing up to sanction or even invade Iran while selling Pakistan ever more weaponry is not just a double standard - it is foreign policy incompetence of the highest order. It's not just the Bush administration who should be asked some hard questions here - the Democrats, the media and the blogosphere have also happily ignored the disconnect.