Pakistan reassures nuclear assets in safe hands

Published Aug 16, 2012 12:54pm

A file photo of the Chashma nuclear power plant. The Foreign Office on Thursday Pakistans strategic nuclear assets are safe under a robust command and control system.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani Foreign Office on Thursday has once again maintained that its strategic nuclear assets are safe under a robust command and control system.

Commenting on remarks made by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that Pakistan’s nuclear assets could fall into the hands of extremists, spokesman Moazzam Ahmad Khan in a weekly Foreign Office briefing on Thursday said the world should not have concerns for the safety of the country’s nuclear assets. He said elaborate measures are in place to secure the nuclear weapons.

The spokesman’s comments the same day a brazen attack was launched by Islamic militants on a key military airbase in Kamra, leading to an almost fire hour-long gun battle between the attackers and military commandos.

The assault by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) renewed questions over security at key Pakistani military installations. The Taliban, who claimed in a statement they launched the attack to “to avenge the deaths of Osama bin Laden” and the Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud, said they would continue to target security installations “until the establishment of a true Islamic state in Pakistan.”

‘No foreign troops on Pakistani territory’

Referring to reports of possible military action in North Waziristan with the cooperation of the US, the Foreign Office spokesman said Pakistan will not compromise on its sovereignty, adding that no foreign troops will be allowed to conduct operation into its territory.

He said: “This is a question of Pakistan’s sovereignty and we have made it clear from the day one that fighting extremism and terrorism on our territory remains Pakistan’s responsibility.”

The spokesman added: “We are quite active on handling the situation on our own.”

He, however, said Pakistan is cooperating with the world in terms of intelligence sharing in this war against terrorism.

Replying to a question, the spokesman said Pakistan and the United States continue engagement on various fronts including economic, security and political.

“It has been desired on both sides to cooperate in these areas to their mutual benefit,” he added.

On the question of cross-border incursions on Pakistan- Afghanistan border, he said, both countries are engaging each other on the issue and Pakistan is also engaging the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) on the issue.

He hoped that appropriate measures will be taken to address this issue.

Answering a question, he said that the Ministry of Interior and other concern departments have already contradicted a news report regarding meeting of Afghan officials with detained Taliban leader Mullah Baradar.

Syrian crisis

Regarding Syrian crisis, the spokesman said Pakistan has taken a principled stand on the issue.

He said the deteriorating situation in Syria is a matter of concern for Pakistan and it feels that bloodshed must stop immediately.

Replying to a question about the decision of extra-ordinary Summit of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to suspend the membership of Syria to OIC, the spokesman said it’s a decision of OIC taken with majority. He however said Pakistan also supported the six point formula presented by former Secretary General of United Nations Kofi Annan to resolve Syrian issue.

The spokesman said Pakistan also feels that there could be only peaceful and political solution of Syrian crisis based on the principle of non-interference and non-intervention and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria.

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