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Pak refuses access to nuclear arsenal

Source: PTI
April 16, 2008 22:00 IST
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Pakistan on Wednesday ruled out giving any foreign official access to the National Command Authority, which is responsible for controlling the country's nuclear arsenal.

Commenting on news reports that the United States had proposed to accredit an official deployed at the American embassy in Islamabad to the NCA, Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Sadiq said, "Delegations and individuals do meet the members of the NCA, but it is not possible to accredit an official to the NCA."

The NCA comprises the President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Defence Minister and top civil and military officials.

The Strategic Plans Division, which maintains the nuclear arsenal, functions as the secretariat of the NCA. Sadiq said that international cooperation by the SPD is limited to "learning best practices for the purpose of nuclear safety".

He added, "There is no question of allowing access to any outsider to the SPD for any other purpose." The SPD has briefed visiting foreign government officials and legislators as well as foreign media representatives on the safety of Pakistan's nuclear programme, he said.

Sadiq said no foreign government has made a request to accredit an official to the SPD and there is also no system to accept such accreditation.

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