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US paid Pak $100m for N-security

world Updated: Dec 08, 2008 01:33 IST
Amit Baruah
Amit Baruah
Hindustan Times
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The US has given Pakistan around $100 million since 9/11 to improve security for its nuclear weapons, reports WMD Insights, a publication sponsored by the Pentagon’s Defence Threat Reduction Agency. This, perhaps, is the first time that confirmation has been made available of something that has been speculated for a long time: that Washington has now an entry point into Pakistan’s nuclear weapons’ programme.

After the nuclear Wal-Mart headed by Abdul Qadeer Khan was busted in 2004, the US was reported to have gained access to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons for not prosecuting Khan and sparing top army generals.

“The scope of the (US-Pakistan) talks reportedly includes export and commodity controls, personnel reliability programmes, nuclear material protection, control and accounting, transportation security, sharing of best practices, training of security personnel and the provision of equipment,” the October issue of the journal revealed, pointing to the nature of the cooperation.

There are, however, concerns of the "future" of such cooperation now that the chief American ally since 9/11, Pervez Musharraf, is no longer on the scene.

Given that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons have been under the army’s charge, there is concern that there could be friction between civilian president Asif Ali Zardari and the military.

Pakistan has four nuclear facilities — the Karachi and Chashma-1 power reactors and the Pakistan Atomic Research Reactors I and II in Rawalpindi — and they are under international safeguards.