Pakistan demanded the United States give it civilian nuclear technology on Thursday, after American lawmakers voted to overturn a three decade-ban on atomic trade with rival India.
Pakistan, which like India has a nuclear arsenal, has long opposed efforts by U.S. President George W. Bush to push through the deal, which opponents say could risk an atomic arms race in Asia. "Now Pakistan also has the right to demand a civilian nuclear agreement with America," Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani told reporters. "We want there to be no discrimination. Pakistan will also strive for a nuclear deal and we think they will have to accommodate us."
The United States is unlikely to agree to the demand from Pakistan, whose nuclear architect Abdul Qadeer Khan leaked atomic secrets to countries including Iran and Libya.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947. Pakistan became a nuclear power in 1998 by testing devices in response to the underground tests done by India.
The U.S.-India deal, which now goes to President Bush for his signature, allows American businesses to sell nuclear fuel, technology and reactors to India in exchange for safeguards and U.N. inspections at India's civilian, but not military, nuclear plants.