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No inspection of N-facilities: Musharraf

Last updated on: February 18, 2004 12:22 IST
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Pakistan will not allow foreign inspectors to monitor its nuclear facilities, President Pervez Musharraf said on Tuesday.

'This is a very sensitive issue,' he told the Financial Times. 'Would any other nuclear power allow its sensitive installations to be inspected? Why should Pakistan be expected to allow anybody to inspect?'

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He also said Pakistan had no intention of freezing its nuclear weapons programme. 'That is our vital national interest. It is totally indigenous now. Whatever had to be imported and procured has been obtained,' he told the newspaper.

Musharraf assured that Pakistan would not be a source of nuclear proliferation.

'We are not hiding anything... what is the need of any inspection?' he said. 'We will cooperate with any organisation, the International Atomic Energy Agency, or anybody. But don't treat us as if we do not know what we are doing. We are doing everything according to international standards.'

Less than two weeks ago Musharraf pardoned metallurgist Abdul Qadeer Khan, the 'father' of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, after Khan publicly confessed that he had passed on nuclear technology to other countries, believed to be Libya, North Korea and Iran.

Musharraf conceded that it was likely the design for centrifuges, which are needed to enrich uranium to weapons-grade material, had been transferred to Iran. But he denied that nuclear weapons technology had been exchanged for North Korean ballistic missile technology. 'Whatever we bought from North Korea is with money.'

He confirmed that in the next few weeks Pakistan would test Shaheen II, a missile with a range of 2,000 km, but denied that the country would compete with India

'We are not interested in competing with India,' he said. 'If they want to reach 5,000 km or have intercontinental ballistic missiles, we are not interested in those. We are only interested in our own defence.'

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