Pakistan Nuclear Stockpiles –Wikileaks

In one of the latest cables to be released by Wikileaks, senior UK Foreign Office official Mariot Leslie told US diplomats in September 2009 that Britain had "deep concerns about the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons".

In another cable seven months earlier, then-US ambassador Anne Patterson told Washington: "Our major concern is not having an Islamic militant steal an entire weapon but rather the chance someone working in the government of Pakistan facilities could gradually smuggle enough material out to eventually make a weapon."

Another cable concerning a US intelligence briefing in 2008 said: "Despite pending economic catastrophe, Pakistan is producing nuclear weapons at a faster rate than any other country in the world."

Pakistan foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit told Agence France-Presse news agency the fears expressed in the leaks "were misplaced and doubtless fall in the realm of condescension". He said they reflected "historical biases against Pakistan".

In the leaked material, Ms Patterson also said there was "no chance" of Pakistan "abandoning support for [militant] groups". The Pakistan government, she added, saw militant groups "as an important part of its national security apparatus against India". The US also expressed concern about tensions between the powerful Pakistani army and Mr Zardari.

In material from March 2009, US cables noted that army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani might "however reluctantly" put pressure on President Zardari to step down, although he "distrusted [opposition leader] Nawaz [Sharif] even more". The BBC’s Aleem Maqbool in Islamabad says military officials here believe the Wikileaks disclosures are being used as a stick with which to bully Pakistan into giving up its nuclear programme.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is in Kazakhstan for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit, said she had raised the issue with the leaders she had met and none had expressed any concerns about continuing diplomatic work with the US. The communications between the US state department and its embassies and consulates around the world were sent between 1966 and 2010.

Meanwhile, Interpol has issued arrest warrant for Julian Assange in a rape case filed in Denmark. However Ecuador offered him asylum for lifetime.

Source: BBC News


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