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Pak flays PM over nuclear security concern

By K J M Varma in Islamabad
July 21, 2005 23:42 IST
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Pakistan on Thursday criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's remarks voicing concern over the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons saying his utterances have created a 'misleading impression and are removed from facts'.

Pakistan also mentioned its oft-repeated stand on 'root cause' of terrorism in 'disputes and deprivation', the phrases used by it when referring to militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.

Describing Dr Singh's remarks made in an interview to CNN as 'unfortunate', a Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman said in a statement on Thursday that, "Pakistan's nuclear programme and strategic assets are secure, under strict and multilayered custodial controls."

An elaborate command and control mechanism, institutionalised in the shape of the National Command Authority has been in place since 2000, he said.

"We have studied the models of command and control systems elsewhere and our multi-layered security structures are at par with the most stringent international systems and practices," said the spokesman.

About Dr Singh's criticism of Islamabad's record on non-proliferation, he said Pakistan is committed to the global Weapons of Mass Destruction non-proliferation regime and has lived up to its commitments in this regard.

"In our region, Pakistan was not the first to introduce nuclear weapons and we never misused our civilian nuclear facilities to develop weapons", he added.

Taking a dig at India, the spokesman said Pakistan was also not the first to conduct nuclear tests in South Asia. "At present, as a responsible nuclear state, we have instituted both command and control systems as well as strong export controls that testify to our resolve and commitment against Weapons of Mass Destruction proliferation."

On Dr Singh's remarks expressing apprehension about terrorist outfits in Pakistan, the spokesman said, "The issue of terrorism, currently a global phenomenon, should not be used to malign Pakistan, which is in the forefront of the international fight against terrorism."

The spokesman said, "The reality is that Pakistan has done more than most countries in fighting terrorism and has had more successes in capturing and eliminating elements of Al Qaeda than all other countries combined."

"Pakistan has paid a high price, but our determination to eliminate terrorism and extremism remains firm and strong," he said, adding Pakistan was "in the business of combating terrorism and not creating the conditions in which terrorism thrives as is the position elsewhere in our neighbourhood," he said.


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K J M Varma in Islamabad
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