Pakistan denies Saudi nuclear sale

By AFP
Published: June 5, 2015
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Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry. PHOTO: APP STOCK IMAGE

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry on Thursday hotly denied his country could sell Saudi Arabia an “off-the-shelf” nuclear weapon, after days of high-level talks in Washington.

After meetings at the White House, Pentagon and State Department, Chaudhry described the suggestions Pakistan could sell a weapon as “unfounded, baseless and untrue.”

“Pakistan’s nuclear program has nothing to do with any other country,” he told reporters.”This is a deterrence that we develop in response to a threat perception that we have from our east. That’s it,” he added.

“Pakistan is not talking to Saudi Arabia on nuclear issues, period.”

Gulf diplomats have suggested that Saudi Arabia and perhaps even the United Arab Emirates could buy a bomb from their staunch allies in Islamabad to safeguard against a nuclear Iran.

For decades Tehran has been building its nuclear capability, although it denies allegations from the west that the program is military-focused.

Arab largely Sunni Muslim Gulf states see Tehran as increasingly aggressive abroad, fueling conflicts and supporting terror groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia itself.

Anxiousness has peaked as President Barack Obama prepares to ink a nuclear deal with Iran.

While the planned agreement would curb Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran would retain significant capabilities with a short “breakout period” needed to weaponize.

Saudi Arabia also fears that resulting US sanctions relief would hand its Persian and Shiite arch foe tens of billions to spend on its military, while key elements of the nuclear program would remain intact.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s stance on non-proliferation has long been called into question.

Read: Saudi Arabia dismisses reports of ‘buying’ nukes from Pakistan

At the turn of the millennium it emerged that AQ Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, had been selling nuclear blueprints to Libya, North Korea and Iran.

The government has long denied his actions were officially sanctioned. Earlier Thursday, Chaudhry accused India of suspending a fragile peace process in recent months as relations between the two nuclear-armed South Asian rivals continue to fray, notably over Kashmir.

“Pakistan is open to continuing dialogue with India. The dialogue is suspended not because of us. It’s because of India. But we have made it clear that to us the only solution to move forward is through dialogue,” Chaudhry said at a US think tank.

“We want to have normalization with India. There is no doubt in our minds,” he said. “I don’t see that consensus on the Indian side, I’m afraid to say.”

The last high-level meetings between Islamabad and New Delhi date back to March when Chaudhry received India’s number two diplomat Subrahmanyan Jaishankar in the Pakistani capital.In May 2014, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the inauguration in New Delhi of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, relaunching relations between the perennial foes.

After an initial thaw, India cancelled a meeting of their foreign ministers scheduled for August in reaction to a meeting of Pakistani officials with separatist leaders from Indian Kashmir.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Char Latan
    Jun 5, 2015 - 9:29AM

    Of course not, Pakistan would never take money from a friend who has already gifted it more than a billion dollars,Recommend

  • Faizan Maqbool
    Jun 5, 2015 - 10:21AM

    @Char Latan: Pakistan ( meaning successive governments ) have been in bed with Saudi Arabia for the last 30 years. We are the mattress they sleep on.Recommend

  • harkol
    Jun 5, 2015 - 10:24AM

    This is a false news till such time incontrovertible evidence pops out.

    In such an eventuality Pakistan has already prepared a scapegoat (like AQ Khan) who would be doing this trade ‘all alone by himself’, who will then be promptly pardoned by president…

    ReputationRecommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Jun 5, 2015 - 11:03AM

    However, Abdul Khan’s network is looking to make the sale through “friends”! Recommend

  • Fahim
    Jun 5, 2015 - 11:16AM

    Why even he consider this question. Some Bikau journalists ask such question to make news that this can happen! Recommend

  • Pakistan
    Jun 5, 2015 - 12:35PM

    How did nuclear technology spread to most non Muslim countries? It is the right of any country to acquire technology. Sadly Nawaz Sharif purely out of his sneaky nature would ask a beaurocrat to deny and not himself or through some PML N minion.Recommend

  • Pakfraud
    Jun 5, 2015 - 12:53PM

    Pak has no credibility in the world when it comes to nuclear related issuesRecommend

  • Ghulaab
    Jun 5, 2015 - 3:16PM

    Pakistani nuclear program was financed by the Saudis. They can get nukes from us anytime they want to.Recommend

  • pansheeri
    Jun 5, 2015 - 3:37PM

    image proceeds Pakistan every where.Recommend

  • Whiskey Khan
    Jun 5, 2015 - 4:10PM

    Pakistan needs to show the world that the bomb is not for sale but for defence. Propaganda is being circulated to isolate Pakistans nuclear industries nuterlized like Iran. This is just the start to falsely blame Pakistan to destroy it. There are several volunteer for this purposeRecommend

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