The Pakistani Connection

A fascinating interview with Stuart Craigle about his latest book, "the Pakistani Connection," and its scary scenario of terrorists obtaining nuclear capabilities.

Your book is certainly about a very scary predicament that the world could face?  Do you think this issue is as great now as it was when you wrote "The Pakistani Connection?"
The Pakistani Connection is an espionage spy thriller, written to entertain and not to point out any particular risk. Like Tom Clancy and Frederick Forsyth to mention just two authors of this genre, one chooses a horrendous scenario which could at least happen in principle as a basis or background. Having said that, I think there is reason to be concerned the Pakistani atomic bombs could get into the hands of terrorists, especially when one considers the complex relationships between the military, the government, and the intelligence services, with their questionable loyalties.

Before we talk more about your book, please give a quick introduction of who you are and where you came from to the readers who have not yet read your work.
Believe it or not, I was born in Abbottabad in Pakistan where my father was an army Major based there at the end of World War II, accompanied by my mother. Perhaps you recall that Abbottabad is the place where bin Laden was finally hunted down by the American special forces and CIA.

After finishing a BSC and PhD in physics at University College London, I spent the next 12 years as a research scientist. In 1984 I entered the industry in Germany as a company executive and became the CEO of an internationally operating company. I also served as chairman of the company’s joint venture in Shanghai China. During all these years I traveled widely visiting many countries and major cities. In particular, in my research days, I spent some time in Pakistan on two occasions as an invited speaker at an international summer physics college hosted by the Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission and visit many of the locations featured in this my latest novel. My motivation to write over the past 10 to 12 years stems from reading and thoroughly enjoying the many spy thrillers by le Carrie, Forsyth, Higgins, Clancy and others and aided by my own with the vivid imagination.

In your research for your book did you read books about Abdul Qadeer Khan?
 In my research, for the book, I did indeed read some articles about Abdul Qadeer Khan. Most of my research was in the Internet and the memories I had of places and conversations while visiting Pakistan on two occasions.

What are your views on Abdul Qadeer Khan, and the world’s alleged ignorance of his work on the atomic bomb and then their subsequent acceptance of his creation?
 There are two aspects to Abdul Qadeer Khan contribution to developing the Pakistani atomic bomb. By stealing nuclear secrets from his previous employer, he was able together with Pakistani physicists to develop an atomic bomb to compensate for the threat of Indian atomic bombs. For that, he is considered a national hero in Pakistan. On the other hand, he sold nuclear know-how to other countries. Whether his motivation was personal gain, ideological, or both is not clear. Further, it is not out of the question that he was approached by Al Qaeda.

Do you think writing books like "The Pakistani Connection," is a good way to educate the less informed of how difficult it is to combat non-state aggressors?
 My intention in writing the Pakistani connection was to entertain and not to educate, which would be pretentious. My other two novels, which I am in the process of rewriting, use similar plausible horror scenarios as a background to the narrative, which is really about the protagonists, their characters, what drives them and their emotions and fears.

How long did it take you to write "The Pakistani Connection?"
This novel took me about 2 ½ years to write.

What countries do you have the book published in?
It is available as an e-book the number of English-speaking countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and Australasia.

As a former German do you think it was wise for Germany to discontinue all work on Nuclear energy?
Firstly I’m not a former German but actually, a Brit who has dual British German citizenship. As regards Germany abandoning nuclear energy, I have mixed feelings. As a physicist with some knowledge of the risks in atomic power plants, manifested for example in Chernobyl and more recently Fukushima, I can understand why the German government decided to abandon this source of electric power. On the other hand, nuclear power does not contribute to the climate change and the admission of greenhouse gases. By abandoning this technology, Germany now has difficulty meeting its goals to reduce greenhouse gases and is continuing to use a vast amount of fossil fuel. In contrast, France will meet its goals because a large amount of its electricity comes from nuclear power stations. These power stations and those in Belgium are near enough or right on the German border so that a nuclear accident will affect the Germans and they can do nothing about it. One has to let that go through one’s mind in answering this question.

What are your views on Chancellor Angela Merkel?
In many ways, Chancellor Angela Merkel is a remarkable woman when one considers her background and the role she played in German and European politics. She has both strengths and weaknesses and after a long period of being the most popular politician in Germany, she is now losing support and this has opened the door to right-wing sentiments driven by nationalist who fanatically oppose her. Although on the whole, I admire her, my major misgivings are about her is a lack of vision for the future and the fact she did not anticipate the obvious in the refugee crisis and the tremendous effect it’s had in Germany.

There is a book titled, "The Christmas Special," where a well-trained terrorist cell attacks a nuclear power plant and causes it to meltdown.  Do you think that scenario is as likely and as deadly as the situation you describe in your book?
The scenario in the book titled "The Christmas Special" is not an unrealistic possibility and indeed there was something to that effect reported in the news. The Scenarios is, of course, horrific but not comparable to that in my book. Like in Hiroshima and Nagasaki hundreds of thousands of people would have been killed instantaneously, not to mention long-term radio fallout, which is the scenario in the other book.

What do you think the remnants of ISIS will metamorphose into?
This is a good question and of course a difficult one to answer. There are a number of possibilities: In the short term, they may move the center of operations as they appear to be doing, for example to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Further, they will increase their clandestine terror operations in Europe, US and elsewhere, where they feel they can be successful. In the long run, if they’re not able to get a new foothold, their operations and recruitment programme may fizzle out like that of the IRA in Northern Ireland and the Baader-Meinhof or Red Brigade in Germany. I share the opinion with some psychologists and commentators, there is a risk that young people before their characters have fully developed and they enter into an adult phase, are susceptible to influence from such terrorist or religious organizations with a mission albeit a violent one. If so, this will remain a problem in the future even if the cause or motivation will change. Further, these terror organizations prey on young people who are suicide-prone.

In what format do you sell the most copies of your work in?
At the moment as an e-book, but it is also available as a paperback, my preferred format as a reader.

Are you a big proponent of the Kindle format?
I find the Kindle format interesting, but I would not say I’m a big proponent of it.

Will you have your book out soon in Audio?
I have not yet thought about bringing the book out in audio form and don’t really know if this media is suitable for it. I would need to look into that and do some research.

What kind of books do you read?  What are some of your favorites?
As I mentioned earlier I am an avid reader of espionage thrillers and I have probably read at least thirty over the years. The last few include "The Afghan" by Forsyth, "The Constant Gardener" by Le Carrie and "The Sum of ALL Fears". I also read other works, both scientific and historical.

Do you listen to audiobooks? 
No, I don’t listen to audiobooks.

How soon will it be before we see another book from you?
I want to release a new version of my first novel "Russian Monopoly" towards the end of this year and afterward a new version of my personal favorite novel "The Chinese Shadow Game."

Will you be working in other genres in future books?
I have long yearned to write a narrative about who we are and how we got here. This will be based on our scientific knowledge or speculations about the origin of the universe to the first living cells and to the emergence of the Homo Sapiens and our civilization. The challenge is to write this like an entertaining mystery adventure story, collecting material from countless documentaries and articles in Nature and Scientific American. At the end, the readers should have the feeling they now see how things hang together and where our adventure may lead in the future. I am not sure what genre to put his in.

Is there anything that you feel we have missed that your readers would like to know about you?
It might be worth mentioning that I have chosen as the underlying theme in my three espionage thrillers, the world-wide criminal and terrorist networks and the secret war the British MI6 and American CIA has waged against them. The first concerns the Russian Mafia in the Post-Soviet era. The second concerns the worldwide Chinese Triad network and North Korea, while the third concerns the international Islamic terrorism.

Do you read books written in German?

Who are authors who inspire you in your writing?
I have been inspired in particular by Frederick Forsyth, Jack Higgins, Le Carrie and Tom Clancy.

How can your fans contact and connect with you?
Readers who want to contact me can use my email address or Facebook

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