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KARACHI: Leaders condemn US sanctions on Kahuta

April 03, 2003

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KARACHI, April 2: The US sanctions on Kahuta Research Laboratories have been deplored by the leaders of public opinion who demanded withdrawal of facilities accorded to the US military as Washington was not a reliable ally.

Political leaders said that despite Pakistan’s support to the US-led operations in Afghanistan and despite the fact that Pakistan played the role of a frontline state, Washington’s policies vis-a-vis Pakistan were not dependable.

They asked General Pervez Musharraf and his military colleagues to reconsider the policy of providing military facilities to the US-led forces operating in Afghanistan.

Deploring the US sanction, Mairaj Mohammad Khan, secretary general of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, said it represented Washington’s neo-colonial designs.

He said that in its desperation, the US had falsely accused the Abdul Qadeer Khan Laboratories which was an integral part of the country’s deterrent capability, of exporting nuclear technology and threatened Syria and Iran with dire consequences.

The US had thus exposed its criminal intention of expanding the war to the entire region,” he said.

Mr Khan also believed that the imposition of sanctions could be a tool to pressure Pakistan so that it was deterred from taking a position on the Iraq crisis.

He said Pakistan’s nuclear programme was well-protected and the Americans who themselves had a vast stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, had no right to dictate what an independent country should do.

He was of the view that the Americans were not friends of Pakistan. They have made a list of the possible targets. He said that in view of the valiant defiance by the Iraqi people, the Americans were trying to spread the war to other countries, like Syria and Iran.

He said that in view of this, Pakistan should reverse its foreign policy, and FBI and other US military operatives be immediately asked to leave the country.

Mr Khan said that the presence of the US military personal on Pakistan’s soil had virtually created a no-fly zone in our own country and there was a serious threat to the country’s security and independence.

He believed that when the chips were down and Pakistan’s territorial integrity was threatened, these facilities would be used against us, and not for us.

The Sindh secretary general of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), Mamnoon Hussain, condemning the US warning over the Kahuta Laboratories, said the Jamali government should take a firm stand on the issue and tell the Americans that “we are their friends and not slaves that we follow each of their commands”.

The former Sindh governor said if General Pervez Musharraf had not given in to George Bush’s threats on the Afghanistan issue, the situation would have been a little better.

“It’s deplorable that despite Pakistan’s whole-hearted support to the United States’ socalled anti-terrorism plans, it is suspecting our country’s intentions,” said Mr Hussain, adding: “There is still time that the prime minister and the president come out with a strong policy statement against the US warning.”

PPP’s information secretary Taj Haider claimed the Americans were not reliable friends.

Nevertheless, he believed that there was a need to aggressively project the peaceful intent of Pakistan’s nuclear programme.

“We must look East and develop trade relations with the West and there is a need for revamping our foreign policy which should be in the hands of public representatives and not the agencies”, he said.

Mr Haider said the US wanted to improve relations with India as Indo-American axis was already in existence.

He, too, demanded that the US military personnel and equipment be pulled out of Pakistan immediately because their presence here had tarnished the country’s image as a sovereign country.

The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal has already deplored the US policies and condemned its latest attack on Pakistan’s nuclear capability and freedom.

They warned the regime against being pursuing the present foreign policy.