Pakistan trains 8,000 to protect its nukes
ISLAMABAD / WASHINGTON
Pakistani FM Hina Rabbani Khar speaks during a press conference in this file photo. Pakistan rejects US magazines’ claims as ‘pure fiction, baseless and motivated.’ AFP photoPakistan on Nov. 6 angrily rejected a report that it had been moving its nuclear weapons in unsafe
conditions, saying nobody should underestimate its capability to defend itself.
Two U.S. magazines reported Nov. 4 that Pakistan has begun moving its nuclear weapons in low-security vans on congested roads to hide them from U.S. spy agencies, making the weapons more vulnerable to theft by Islamist militants.
The Atlantic and the National Journal, in a joint report citing unnamed sources, wrote that the U.S. raid that killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in May at his Pakistani compound reinforced Islamabad’s longstanding fears that Washington could try to dismantle the country’s nuclear arsenal.
But in a statement, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the report was “pure fiction, baseless and motivated. It is part of a deliberate propaganda campaign meant to mislead opinion.” Pakistan has consistently rejected concerns over the safety of its nuclear arsenal and alluded to a smear campaign.
“The surfacing of such campaigns is not something new. It
is orchestrated by quarters that
are inimical to Pakistan,” said the statement.
The ministry said Pakistan was capable of defending itself. “No one should underestimate Pakistan’s will and capability to defend its sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interests.”
Meanwhile, ex-Pakistan leader Pervez Musharraf hit out Nov. 6 at Afghan President Hamid Karzai for forging a training alliance with India, saying Islamabad had offered him similar help but been rebuffed.
“We’ve opened up all our training institutions free of cost. Come to Pakistan and we’ll train you. Not one has come. What is his game?” Musharraf told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS program. Musharraf said he had been “bending backwards” for Karzai to send people to Islamabad instead of New Delhi. He said that a phased pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, which is due to be completed by 2014, had pushed Karzai closer to India.
Furthermore, a former town mayor, his son and bodyguard were killed and eight other people wounded yesterday when a
suicide bomber blew himself up in Pakistan’s northwest while a Spanish soldier was shot dead Nov. 6
in Afghanistan after suspected insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire, Spain’s defense ministry said.