Asserting that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are “200% safe” despite a series of terror attacks on military installations, interior minister Rehman Malik said the country has strong monitoring and control mechanisms in place to protect its atomic programme.
Though the recent attack on the PNS Mehran Naval airbase in Karachi and detection of Osama bin Laden in the garrison city of Abbottabad triggered fears that there could be rogue elements in Pakistani military, Malik told Newsweek magazine that the country’s “nuclear weapons are 200% safe”.
“The assets are well protected and tightly monitored. The [International Atomic Energy Agency] agrees with us. We should be wary of the disinformation being spread against our nuclear programme, including the suggestion that the US may move to denuclearise Pakistan,” Malik said.
Top US Senator John Kerry, during a recent visit to Pakistan, addressed this “misperception and categorically denied any intention on the part of the US” to take any step against the country’s nuclear assets, Malik said.
He also said that some retired military officers or relatives of armed forces personnel may have been involved in the May 22 terrorist raid on the Naval airbase that killed 10 people and destroyed two surveillance aircraft. Malik admitted that “things have heated up” in Pakistan since bin Laden’s killing in a US raid and the country “must brace for the worst”.
Seven killed, 10 hurt in Pak blast
At least seven people were killed and 10 injured when a bomb planted in a van went off at a bus stop on the outskirts of Peshawar in northwest Pakistan on Sunday. Officials said they had received four bodies, including those of two children and a woman. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.