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Pakistan’s nuclear assets in safe hands: PM Sharif

Published Sep 05, 2013 03:02pm
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif - File Photo
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif - File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The National Command Authority session, chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, took place at the Prime Minister House on Thursday, DawnNews reported.

The meeting, which took place after media disclosure that the United States had intensified its surveillance of Pakistan’s nuclear programs based on documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden, was aimed at examining Pakistan’s nuclear assets.

The NCA is the principal forum responsible for command and control of the country’s nuclear arsenal. It also looks after the security and safety of nuclear installations.

The session was also called to find solutions for the tense situation at the Line of Control, and to explore the effects of a possible US-led strike on Syria.

It was attended by the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Khalid Shamim Wynne, the three services chiefs along with Foreign Affairs and National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali, Finance Minister Ishaq Khan and Lt-Gen (retd) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, the chief of the Strategic Plans Division.

Kidwai, while briefing the meeting regarding Pakistan’s nuclear assets, said: “Doubts regarding the safety of the nuclear facilities are groundless.”

He added that an “effective command and control system is in place for the security of the nuclear installations.”

The security measures were thoroughly examined during the session, after which the prime minister expressed satisfaction over the close scrutiny under which the assets are being kept.

The document on US intelligence ‘black budget’ leaked by Snowden claimed that US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had declined to certify that Pakistan’s nuclear safeguards were enough.

The US is primarily concerned about the possibility of nuclear facilities being attacked by militants, much like attacks on other security installations, and prospects of extremists having infiltrated military and intelligence ranks.

Referring to the reported concerns, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif refuted the possibility of any such attacks or prospects.

“Our nuclear facilities are in safe hands,” the Pakistani prime minister reassured.