- London (PTI) - Pakistan is under pressure to move all
or part of its nuclear weapons to China for safekeeping from fundamentalists
and it is apprehensive of pre-emptive strikes on its nuclear sites by America,
India or Israel to prevent the weapons falling into fundamentalist hands,
media report said today quoting Pakistani sources.
- The threat to weapons widely regarded as the Pakistan
military's "crown jewels" has forced Islamabad "to consider
removing warheads to China, Pakistan's closest strategic ally in the region,"
the Sunday Times reported.
- The prospect that loose warheads might be loaded onto
helicopters or moved around a region foaming with fundamentalist turmoil
is adding to fears in Washington that the war in Afghanistan might provoke
a nuclear crisis.
- According to the report, Abdul Sattar, the Pakistani
foreign minister, insisted last week the arsenal was secure. But Washington
officials have expressed mounting alarm that any coup attempt against General
Pervez Musharraf, the military President, might put Pakistan's nuclear
arsenal at risk.
- Pakistani generals were appalled by one authoritative
American report last week that an elite Pentagon undercover unit, trained
to disarm nuclear weapons, was exploring plans for a mission inside Pakistan.
- "Every paranoid fear they have had over the past
20 years about people coming to get our missiles is suddenly coming to
the force," Zia Mian, a Pakistani physicist and authority on the nuclear
- China' nuclear relations with Pakistan have long been
the focus of controversy. Chinese scientists are believed to have played
a key role in developing Pakistan's nuclear programme in the early 1980s.
The two countries share a mistrust of India, which has also developed nuclear
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