ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Wednesday conveyed its concern to Moscow over a Russian politician’s claim that Pakistani and Ukrainian experts discussed nuclear bomb making technology and sought an explanation on what was described as a “baseless” claim.

The concern was conveyed to Russian ambassador Danila Ganich in Islamabad, while Pakistan’s deputy head of mission in Moscow Rana Summar Javed visited the Russian foreign ministry on this issue.

Foreign Office spokesman Asim Iftikhar said “explanation had been sought” in the meetings in Islamabad and Moscow on the claim by Igor Morozov, a member of the defense committee of the Federation Council of Russia.

According to RIA Novosti, a state-run Russian newswire, Morozov claimed at a press conference in Moscow last week that Ukrainian and Pakistani experts had discussed the technology for making nuclear weapons during the latter’s trip to Pakistan.

Morozov’s statement came against the backdrop of Russian allegation that Ukraine was preparing to detonate a ‘dirty bomb’ laced with nuclear material.

Russia communicated its fears first through a letter to the United Nations on Monday and later took up the matter at a closed-door meeting of the Security Council. France, the United States and the United Kingdom immediately dismissed Russian suspicions as “transparently false”.

Morozov had at his presser said that the threat of Ukraine using dirty bomb as a provocation was real.

Mr Iftikhar, while rejecting Morozov’s claim about Pakistani experts sharing their experience with Ukrainian experts, said it was “unfounded and baseless” and “without any rationale.”

The Foreign Office usually avoids commenting on claims by politicians of other countries, but the spokesman said he chose to reject this assertion because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Pakistan has maintained its neutrality on Ukraine by abstaining from votes on the conflict at the United Nations. However, there have been multiple claims that Islamabad supplied artillery shells to Kyiv. Islamabad has maintained silence on the issue, saying it is committed to the objectives of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2022

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