- ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (UPI)
- Father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb warned India Wednesday his country
had enough nuclear bombs to destroy major Indian cities several times over.
- "India should not underestimate Pakistan. We have
enough bombs and missiles to destroy major Indian cities thrice,"
said Dr. Abdul Quadeer Khan, the man who is credited as the pioneer of
Islamabad's nuclear program.
- According to the Pakistani newspapers, Khan made the
remarks while addressing an award distribution ceremony for local scientists
in the Pakistani capital. Made amid mounting tensions between India and
Pakistan, Khan's remarks received prominent coverage on the front pages
of the Urdu language newspapers. About a dozen English language newspapers,
which generally advocate better relations between the two rival nations,
down-played the remarks.
- Otherwise prohibited by his government to make such statements,
Khan's speech is seen as diplomatic observers in Islamabad as a calculated
warning to India.
- Simmering tensions in the Himalayan valley of Kashmir,
divided between the two and claimed by both, have stirred fears of another
war between India and Pakistan. They have already fought three wars since
their independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over Kashmir.
- More than 35,000 people have died in Kashmir in clashes
between Indian troops and Kashmiri militants since 1989 when the current
separatist campaign began.
- Pakistanis fear that to control the separatist movement,
Indian troops may cross over into the Pakistani one-fourth of Kashmir,
hence the warming.
- Pakistan conducted nuclear weapons tests in May 1998
in a matching response to earlier tests by India. The two countries have
also developed an array of missiles.
- Khan said the nuclear capability had given the nation
self-confidence and ability to defend itself against any aggression.
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