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US must monitor Pakistan N-programme: Pallone

By T V Parasuram in Washington
February 06, 2004 11:44 IST
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Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone, in a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, has called for US and international monitoring of Pakistan's nuclear programme.

The former co-chair of the India Caucus said, "I am writing to you today to express my deep concern regarding the recent developments of Pakistan's transfer of nuclear equipment to North Korea, Iran and Libya.

Pakistan's Nuclear Bazaar

"In the last several days, Dr A Q Khan has admitted his role in providing nuclear technology to non-nuclear nations, however, President Musharraf has pardoned Dr Khan, declared him a national hero, and refused to allow for further inquiry into this situation.

"This is extremely disconcerting on a number of levels, and I request the State Department work with UN and appropriate agencies to enter Pakistan and monitor its nuclear programme," Pallone wrote in the letter.

He said although Pakistan had been declared an ally in the global war on terror, its nuclear behaviour exemplified just the opposite.

"I fear that there are no safeguards in place to prevent further nuclear assistance from Pakistan to rogue nations that do not have an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and therefore UN supervision is necessary to ensure Pakistan is no longer capable of allowing nuclear information to fall into wrong hands.

"Although Dr Khan has claimed that he has not acted as a nuclear source with President Musharraf's knowledge, an investigation into Musharraf's direct involvement with the activities of the Khan Laboratories must be pursued contrary to Musharraf's wishes to pardon Dr Khan, a simple move that can be perceived as an effort to provide closure to the current situation and remove Pakistan from international inquiry and supervision," Pallone said.

He also suggested that the Bush administration re-impose the Symington sanctions on Pakistan as a result of its "active yet covert nuclear exchange programme".

"By exercising the executive authority to re-impose these sanctions you would appropriately prevent the US from further providing military assistance to Pakistan as a result of its clandestine nuclear exchange, which I believe is in accordance with the goal of protecting global security," Pallone wrote.

"It is clear that Musharraf is not an ally that can be trusted on nuclear nonproliferation, and appropriate action must be taken."

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T V Parasuram in Washington
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