|HOME | NEWS | REPORT|
|September 16, 1998||
A Q Khan favours signing the CTBT
Top Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan has made a strong case for Islamabad signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, saying the country cannot now be forced to roll back its nuclear programme.
Briefing members of the National Assembly on the consequences of the proposed move, Dr Khan said Pakistan had ample stock of enriched uranium. ''In case India undertakes further tests there will be no ban on Pakistan doing so,'' he argued.
Dr Khan also claimed that signing the CTBT would not make it mandatory for Pakistan to allow inspection of its nuclear facilities.
His address to the parliamentarians was part of the Nawaz Sharief government's efforts to convince the Opposition of the sagacity of its move to sign the CTBT, irrespective of India's stand. The members were earlier briefed by Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz.
But the Opposition parties, which have made a hue and cry over the proposal, rejected the move. They argued that since the government has already made up its mind to sign the treaty, they did not want to be a mere rubber stamp and endorse it.
But with hardly any sting left in the Opposition's criticism, the only obstacle that now remains is for the government to negotiate a package deal with the West, particularly the United States. Pakistan wants the deal to include lifting of economic sanctions, delivery of the long-held-up F-16 aircraft, a huge loan from the Asian Development Bank, and an assurance by the international community to help resolve the Kashmir dispute.
Nawaz Sharief, who had a meeting with members of his parliamentary party on Monday evening, appeared confident of winning the support of the House on the issue.
Sources said the government was likely to announce its readiness to sign the treaty next week or in any case by September 30.
The government, meanwhile, decided to lay before the National Assembly a draft resolution seeking its approval to take a decision on the issue.
According to the draft, the assembly will "authorise the government to take a decision on CTBT in the best national interests while fully safeguarding the nuclear capability of the country".
The draft resolution calls upon the US and other members of the G-7 to remove the "'unjust and discriminatory sanctions against Pakistan".
It also urges the international community to "take urgent steps to promote a just settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute".
SHOPPING & RESERVATIONS | TRAVEL | LIFE/STYLE | FREEDOM | FEEDBACK