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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Wazir Khan Khosa
Kharan Desert

Pakistan conducted at least one underground nuclear test on 30 May 1998, in a vertical shaft at a site in the Kharan Desert, about 100 kilometers from the site of the first test at Ras Koh. The test was conducted near settlement of Wazir Khan Khosa [aka Wazir Khan Khoso] at 2820'N 6852'E, not far from the Unharwah [aka Unar Wah] railway station [at 2818'"N 6854'E] in the Jacobabad District [aka Upper Sind Frontier District]. Other nearby populated placed include Jumma Dakhan and Bari.

Foreign minister Gohar Ayub Khan claimed that Pakistan conducted two more tests on 30 May 1998, whereas foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmed maintained that country had conducted just one test that day. Prime minister Sharif and Information Minister Syed Mushahid Hussain took two separate groups of journalists to the Ras Koh test site, at which point it was disclosed that the 30 May test had been conducted elsewhere, in the Kharan desert.

The provenance of the Wazir Khan Khosa placename is obscure. Khosa is a not uncommon name in Pakistan -- Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa was the Governor of Punjab in 1998, Asif Saeed Khan Khosa was appointed a justice on the Lahore High Court in 1998, and Sardar Faiz Muhmmad Khan Khosa [his father] worked with the Quaid-e-Azam in the struggle for Pakistani independence. However, Wazir Khan Khosa appears not to have been a historically prominent figure. Wazir Khan was a Minister/Viceroy in Emeperor Shah Jehan's time, who is largely remembered for building in 1634 AD the Mosque and Baradari in Lahore since known as the Mosque of Wazir Khan. Also known as the Mosque of Wuzeer Ali Khan, this complex is regarded as one of the finest specimens of Muslim architecture. In 1704 the two younger sons [aged nine and seven] of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Tenth Sikh Guru, were bricked alive on the orders of wazir Khan, the Nawab of Sarhind. Wazir Khan, aware of the rapport established between the Guru and the new emperor Bahadur Shah-I, hired two assassins to pursue the Guru and eliminate him. One of the assasins stabbed the Guru, injuring him grievously, and Guru Gobind Singh Ji eventually died of his wounds. In 1707, Baba Deep Singh Ji joined Banda Singh Bahadur to fight for the freedom of Punjab. They fought together in the battle at Sirhind -- the city in which Guru Gobind Singh Ji's younger sons had been killed. Although the Muslim army outnumbered the Sikhs significantly, the Sikh army was able to easily defeat the Muslim forces. During the battle, Baba Deep Singh Ji beheaded Wazir Khan.

The Kharan Desert, also known locally as the Sandy Desert, is located in northwest Balochistan. Pakistan, a mostly a dry country characterized by extremes of altitude and temperature, has three main river basins: Indus, Kharan and Mekran. The Indus Plain extends principally along the eastern side of the river, and the Balochistan Plateau lies to the south-west. Four other topographic areas are the narrow coastal plain bordering the Arabian Sea; the Thar Desert on the border with India; the mountains of the north and north-west; and the Kharan Basin, to the west of the Balochistan Plateau. The Kharan Basin is known as a closed basin because the entire basin's catchment water is used for agriculture and domestic requirements. The Kharan Desert area consists of shifting sand dunes with an underlying pebble-conglomerate floor. The moving dunes reach heights of between 15 and 30 meters. Level areas between the dunes are a hard-topped pan when dry and a treacherous, sandy-clay mush when wet. The barren wastes that occupy almost half of Iran, with its continuation into Kharan in Pakistan, form a continuous stretch of absolute barrenness from the alluvial fans of the Alborz mountains in the north to the edge of the plateau in Baluchistan, more than 1,200 km to the southeast. In altitude these central deserts slope from about 1,000 m in the north to about 250 m on in the southwest. Average annual rainfall throughout these deserts is well under 100 mm. The desert includes areas of inland drainage and dry lakes (hamuns). The Gowd-e Zereh (lake basin) in Iran, which occasionally receives excess drainage, is separated from Kharan in Pakistan by the low Chaghai hills, which, with the highlands around the extinct volcano Koh-e Tafta'n, cause the Mashkel river to form a lake. The surface of the Hamun-i-Mashkhel, which is some 85 kilometers long and 35 kilometers wide, is littered with sun-cracked clay, oxidized pebbles, salty marshes and crescent-shaped movisng sand dunes. The area is known particularly for its constant mirage and sudden severe sand-storms.

2199815005/30/98 06:54:56.128.720N64.020E4.6---PDE-Q14429981264

Photographic Evaluation Report

High resolution imagery is available from two sources, including declassified CORONA imagery which would provide negation. As of 04 July 2000 Russian 2-meter resolution KVR-1000 imagery coverage was not available via the SPIN-2 service on TerraServer. As of 04 June 2000 archival Space Imaging IKONOS 1-meter imagery available on the CARTERRAT Archive included two cloud-free scenes acquired in early February 2000 of the Kharan Desert area, one of which is centered on the actual test site near Wazir Khan Khosa. The other image, interestingly, is evidently centered on the location suggested by the CTBT Prototype International Data Center [PIDC]seismic data.

Click on the small image to view a larger version

Seismic and imagery locations

Tactical Pilotage Chart of Kharan and surrounding area. (Source: NGIA

PIDC seismic location

Wazir Khan Khosa

5.0-meter GSD

2.0-meter GSD

1.0-meter GSD

0.5-meter GSD

1.0-meter GSD

0.5-meter GSD

1.0-meter GSD

0.5-meter GSD

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:46:07 ZULU