Pak can never get civilian reactors from West until military controls its nukes

August 28th, 2008 - 3:23 pm ICT by ANI  

Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad , Aug 28 (ANI): Pakistan would not be able to get civilian reactors from the West, which would in fact bring along nuclear acceptance from the World community, until its Army controlled its nuclear arms, said a report in the Financial Times on the basis of opinion of a host of Western diplomats.

According to the paper, the Western diplomats warn that the Pakistan military must help with the creation of oversight mechanisms involving elected politicians to improve future prospects in areas such as securing civilian reactors from the western world.

These western diplomats opinion assumes significance in the wake of Pakistan seeking a deal with the US similar to India s ambitious initiative to secure a supply of US nuclear reactors.

So far, US officials have denied Islamabad s requests, citing the risk of technology leakages to other countries. Even if the military is firmly in charge of Pakistan s nuclear programme, where is the civilian component in decision-making? the paper quoted one senior US official as saying.

He added: Ultimately, there will have to be evidence of a strong civilian oversight for the world to accept that we are moving in to a new and more reassuring phase. Maybe after President Musharraf, politicians gain enough clout in time that they become full partners in managing and securing the nuclear programme.

Analysts say that former Pakistan president Pervez Musharrafs downfall has had no impact on control of Pakistan s nuclear programme, which still remains firmly with the military. There is no indication that the military does not exercise full control over Pakistan s nuclear assets, says Tanvir Ahmed Khan, a former Pakistani diplomat and head of the government-run Islamabad Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS).

While the arrangement falls short of the civilian control generally held up by western states as best practice, Khan says: Responsibility is with an institution, which is reassuring.

The recent turmoil in Pakistan has further heightened western anxiety over the countrys nuclear weapons programme. (ANI)

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