Closing a wide-ranging trip to Washington, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry rejected speculation that his country could sell or transfer nuclear arms or advanced technology as “unfounded and baseless”.
“Pakistan is not talking to Saudi Arabia on nuclear issues,” Chaudhry insisted. The arsenal is focused only on Pakistan’s threat perception from “the East” Chaudhry said, a clear reference to long-standing rival and fellow nuclear power India.
Chaudhry said his country has significantly cracked down in recent years on proliferation, improving its export controls and providing UN nuclear monitors with all necessary information. Pakistan also won’t allow any weapons to reach terrorists, he said.
Pakistan detonated its first nuclear weapons in 1998, shortly after India did. At the same time, the man regarded as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, A Q Khan, was shopping advanced technology to many of the world’s most distrusted governments.
He sold centrifuges for enriching bomb-making material to the Iranians, Libyans and North Koreans, and also shared designs for fitting warheads on ballistic missiles. He was forced into retirement in 2001. Concerns now centre on how the governments of the Middle East will respond if the US and other governments clinch a nuclear deal with Iran by the end of the month.
Such questions inevitably lead to Pakistan, the only Muslim country in the nuclear club and one with historically close ties to Saudi Arabia. Saudi officials, for their part, have repeatedly refused to rule out any steps to protect their country, saying they will not negotiate their faith or their security.-AFP
Foreign Secretary meets US Defence and Treasury officials
Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry met US Defence and Treasury Undersecretaries Christine Wormuth and Adam J. Szubin, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
During the meeting, both sides discussed a wide range of issues related to bilateral defence cooperation. The Foreign Secretary expressed satisfaction that bilateral defence partnership has maintained robust momentum and remains on an upward trajectory. It was agreed to continue high level exchanges and regular dialogues between defence officials of Pakistan and the United States.
Both sides agreed that Pakistan and the US defence cooperation was a factor of security and stability in the region, the statement said.
The Foreign Secretary appreciated support by the United States in assisting Pakistan in its counter-terrorism campaign. He reiterated Pakistan’s strong resolve to defeat terrorist networks on its soil.
Both sides also reviewed developments in the region and agreed on the need to further strengthen mutually beneficial security cooperation.
Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary also met with the US Undersecretary for Treasury Adam J. Szubin. He briefed the US official various anti money laundering steps and the measures countering terrorist financing. He also brief about the Prime Minister’s National Action Plan, the Foreign Secretary highlighted the various implementation measures.
US Undersecretary lauded Pakistan’s efforts to combat terrorism in line with the priorities set out in the National Action Plan.
Reviewing their collaboration in combating terrorism at the bilateral and multilateral levels, the two sides agreed to further intensify their cooperation.