After meetings at the White House, Pentagon and State Department, Chaudhry described the suggestions Pakistan could sell a weapon as “unfounded, baseless and untrue.”
“Pakistan’s nuclear program has nothing to do with any other country,” he told reporters.”This is a deterrence that we develop in response to a threat perception that we have from our east. That’s it,” he added.
“Pakistan is not talking to Saudi Arabia on nuclear issues, period.”
Gulf diplomats have suggested that Saudi Arabia, and perhaps even the United Arab Emirates, could buy a bomb from their staunch allies in Islamabad to safeguard against a nuclear Iran.
Anxiousness has peaked as President Barack Obama prepares to ink a nuclear deal with Iran.
While the planned agreement would curb Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran would retain significant capabilities with a short “breakout period” needed to weaponize.
Saudi Arabia also fears that resulting US sanctions relief would hand its Persian arch foe tens of billions to spend on its military, while key elements of the nuclear program would remain intact.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s stance on non-proliferation has long been called into question. At the turn of the millennium it emerged that AQ Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, had been selling nuclear blueprints to Libya, North Korea and Iran.
Last month, days after a report surfaced which claimed Saudi Arabia wanted to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan, a Saudi defense official dismissed it as mere “speculation”, CNN reported.
The Sunday Times of London had published a report which claimed that Saudi Arabia had “taken the ‘strategic decision’ to acquire ‘off-the-shelf’ atomic weapons from Pakistan,” citing unnamed American officials, in a bid to counter Iran after the recent nuclear deal it reached with the West.
A Saudi Defense Ministry official said that such reports were not new. “I don’t understand what the story is. This has been in the news for 18 years and will continue to be for the next 15 years.”
Source: AFP; CNN; The Sunday Times