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July 15, 1999
Speculation rife that Sharief has secretly signed CTBT
Has Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief already signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty on the independence day of the United States on July 4?
Sharief was in Washington on that day holding talks with President Bill Clinton on bailing him out from the mess he got in because of the infiltration into the Kargil sector by Pakistan supported militants.
The end product of this meeting came in the form of a joint statement which committed Sharief to withdraw these militants from the Indian side of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
While the joint statement has kicked off a bitter controversy in Pakistan, people are feverishly speculating on what really transpired at the three-hour meeting between the leaders of the two countries. For example, what made Clinton promise a ''personal interest'' in India-Pakistan talks?
Former spy master Hamid Gul says it is very likely that during this meeting Sharief could have been made to sign the CTBT. Lieutenant General (retd) Hamid Gul, ex-chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence is strongly opposed to Pakistan signing the CTBT even if India does so.
Pakistan had earlier hinted that it would sign it by September this year saying it will not tie its decision to that of India in this matter. But after the fall of the Vajpayee government in a vote of no-confidence Pakistan decided to delay the signing.
Hamid Gul, who was addressing the Lahore High Court Bar Association also said that the Clinton-Sharief statement had brought the possibility of war between India and Pakistan closer.
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