Kashmir key to Pak's nuclear programme: Rashid
24 May 2003
The Hindustan Times
Islamabad: Pakistan Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said his country's nuclear programme depended on the resolution of Kashmir issue. He said, 'if Kashmir issue is resolved, we don't need nuclear arms more than a minimum deterrence.' While denying to totally abandon nuclear programme, the Pakistani minister said, 'we are ready for disarmament to some extent, which does not pose threat to our security.' This,he said, was his country's stand in reply to Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's recent statement saying India's nuclear programme was 'not Pakistan specific.' A report in The News quoted Rashid as saying that line of control (LoC) would not be accepted as a permanent border with India. He said Pakistan would never keep the Kashmir issue on thebackburner. He said, 'it would be better for India's economy and international environment if the issue is resolved at the earliest'. The minister said the proposed Indo-Pak dialogue process should not be attached with any pre-condition, and that talks should be held in a conducive atmosphere. Stating that Pakistan was a key US' ally in the ongoing 'struggle against terrorism', Rashid claimed that his country had done the 'maximum' in this regard. 'No country did provide such a good results like Pakistan in this regard. Pakistan arrested nearly four or five hundred operatives of the Al-Qaeda network, which speaks of President Musharraf's commitment regarding struggle on terrorism,' he added.