International Affairs

Pakistan can not share nuclear secrets with any country: spokesman

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Thursday rejected an American daily report that U.S. and Pakistani officials have begun behind-the-scenes talks aimed at achieving a greater U.S. role in securing Pakistan’s nuclear materials. American newspaper Boston Globe also reported there is a proposal to ship some of Pakistan’s highly enriched uranium to the United States for disposal

Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit categorically said that details of Pakistan’s nuclear programme are sacrosanct and cannot be shared with any country. “These controls and procedures are as good as that of any other nuclear state,” the spokesman said at his weekly press briefing.

The U.S daily reported that if successful, the talks between nonproliferation specialists at the State and Energy departments and their Pakistani counterparts would mark a breakthrough in efforts to persuade Pakistan to accept greater assistance in preventing terrorists from obtaining nuclear fuel or the technology to build a nuclear weapon.

The Foreign Office Spokesman also rejected concerns about safety of Pakistan’s strategic assets. “The country has foolproof custodial controls and safety mechanisms for its nuclear assets and the system is second to none. These controls and procedures are as good as that of any other nuclear state”

To a question about President Asif Zardari’s visit to US, the spokesman said President Zardari was scheduled to meet with Senators Kerry and Logar along with other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington on Thursday.

The spokesman said on his way back, the President will visit UK and meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown.”The issue of Pakistani students would come up for discussion and the President would focus towards preventing the deportation of Pakistani students presently under detention,” he said.

The spokesman said Pakistan is committed to provide legal assistance to the students so that they could continue their education in UK. Replying to a question the spokesman said, “Pakistan is pursuing the issue of Dr. Afia Siddiqui both on the political and legal fronts. Pakistan has asked Obama administration to reconsider the case on humanitarian grounds”.

Commenting on the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Washington yesterday, for transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the spokesman under the MoU, agreement will be finalised by the end of the year. He said both Pakistan and Afghanistan would negotiate to have new arrangements to replace the existing transit trade agreement signed in 1965.

Replying to another question he said resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people was vital for regional peace, stability and progress. About Mumbai incidents, the spokesman said it would not be possible for Pakistan to carry out credible prosecution of those arrested in the absence of fuller information and evidence.

He said India should provide the information in one go rather in installments. He said Pakistan is very serious to bring perpetrators of the crime to justice. Replying to a question he said the members of the diplomatic corps in Islamabad have been asked to adopt extra precautionary measures for their security. The spokesman said Swat accord is linked with peace. He said the agreement cannot be implemented if the militants do not fulfill their part of the accord. NNI

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Mubashar Nizam

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