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Bhutto didn't participate in nuke black market: PPP
Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad | June 06, 2008 23:32 IST
The ruling Pakistan People's Party on Friday condemned as 'despicable' the claim by an Indian author -- that its late party chairperson Benazir Bhutto had confided to him -- that she participated in the nuclear black market.
London-based Indian journalist Shyam Bhatia has written in his book Goodbye Shahzadi that former premier Bhutto, who was assassinated in December last year, had told him that she smuggled CDs with critical data on making nuclear weapons to help facilitate a missile deal with North Korea.
In a statement, PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the claim that Bhutto had "made such an acknowledgement to an obscure journalist is a tasteless and cheap exploitation of her tragic assassination".
"It is a despicable attempt to sell books," he said.
Bhutto was the architect of the 'Benazir Nuclear Doctrine' that strictly forbade exports of nuclear technology to any country, Babar said.
"The accusation that she spoke of her role in the nuclear black market can either come from a diseased mind and sickly soul or from someone of a lowly station in life who is desperate to get some attention," he said.
The claims that Bhatia kept in regular touch with Bhutto are "preposterous and are made only to lend credibility to his false assertions and get some attention that has eluded him," Babar said.
He said that in October last year, Bhatia had wanted a 10-minute face-to-face interview with Bhutto for what he said was a cover story for a magazine. "Can you get me 10 minutes with her," Babar quoted Bhatia as saying in an e-mail dated October 7, 2007.
Bhutto had refused to grant a face-to-face interview, declined to be photographed and even did not accede to the request for a telephonic interview because Bhatia's "standing and credentials did not warrant it".
Instead, Bhatia was asked to send written questions to the PPP's media office and he subsequently got replies.
"There was not one question relating to the nuclear issue in the list of questions that were replied to on her behalf by the media office. So much for the claim of his being in regular contact with her," Babar said.
"Making such wild accusations at the expense of an international figure, who is no longer in this world, is most dishonourable," he added.