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Pak lied to US about Nuclear programme, reveal papers

Newly declassified documents show the US chose to ignore Pakistan's clandestine nuclear programme in the 1980s, giving higher priority to evicting the USSR from Afghanistan.

world Updated: Apr 27, 2012 23:40 IST
Yashwant Raj

Newly declassified documents show the US chose to ignore Pakistan's clandestine nuclear programme in the 1980s, giving higher priority to evicting the USSR from Afghanistan.

A former CIA official sent to speak to then Pakistani president Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq reported back that either the leader knew nothing of the programme or he was lying.

Zia was the "most superb and patriotic liar", said the official, former CIA deputy director general Vernon Walter, according to declassified documents released on Friday.

Walters had been despatched by the Reagan administration to secretly meet Zia in 1982 after an upswing in intelligence about Pakistan's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons technology.

He told Zia that the US had "incontrovertible intelligence" about Pakistan's activities.

As per the declassified documents, Zia acknowledged that the information "must be true", but then denied everything, leading Walters to conclude that either Zia didn't know or was lying.