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'Clinton offered $5 bn for not testing N-bomb'

Nawaz Sharif claims he was offered 5 billion dollars by then US president to not conduct nuclear tests in retaliation to India's atomic blasts in 1998.

world Updated: Apr 20, 2007 17:55 IST

Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif has claimed he was offered 5 billion dollars by then US president Bill Clinton to not conduct nuclear tests in retaliation to India's atomic blasts in 1998.

"President Clinton telephoned me five times and offered five billion dollars for not testing the nuclear weapons. I refused the offer for the integrity and security of Pakistan," he said in an interview to ARY television.

The exiled Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief also claimed that President Pervez Musharraf had "fabricated" the story about the hijacking of a plane in which the general was returning to Pakistan "to hide his own mistakes".

Sharif said he did not block the runway to prevent Musharraf's plane from landing in October 1999, just before the military coup in which the latter took power.

He said he had refused to sign the documents of his resignation and "suspension" of Parliament. "I was also asked to sign a document expressing my failure as prime minister and making an apology to the nation and Gen Musharraf," Sharif said.

"I will not like to become the second Shaukat Aziz," he said referring to the incumbent prime minister, adding that those who left him would not be accepted in his party.

"It would be like selling my conscience," Daily Times quoted Sharif as saying.

Sharif, however, said the Pakistani government might have struck a deal with its Saudi Arabian counterpart for his exile. He said he was kept in a small cell for 14 months and treated like a "war prisoner".

"I was in the Attock prison when a Suadi man came and told me that a deal had been reached between the Saudi and Pakistani governments for my exile," he said.