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UPDATED: 14:27, June 25, 2004
Pakistan's nuclear program non-negotiable: Musharraf
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Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf Wednesday stressed the country's firm position on developing of nuclear program, saying Pakistan's nuclear program is non-negotiable.

"It was there to stay and urged the nation to develop maturity, self-confidence and self-belief as a responsible nuclear power," Musharraf told the scientists, engineers, technicians and other staff of Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) during a visit to the country's premier nuclear facility at Kahuta Wednesday.

The President highlighted the monumental achievements of KRL's proud work force and said that Pakistan owed a debt of gratitude to its national heroes for strengthening national security and making the country's defense impregnable.

He said that his frequent visits to Kahuta were indicative of the high esteem in which he and the nation held the KRL.

Musharraf reiterated Pakistan's resolve to further strengthen its minimum deterrence needs. He said there were no pressures on Pakistan with regard to its nuclear program and the government would not brook any pressures in future as well, a statement issued here by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

Earlier, Musharraf traced the background of the recent proliferation episode and said that Pakistan was in the front line in the international fight against both terrorism and nuclear proliferation. He said that Pakistan had developed its nuclear capability solely for the purpose of deterrence of aggression and defense of Pakistan's sovereignty at great sacrifice. No government had ever been involved in any kind of proliferation activities, he said.

The President explained to the scientists and engineers of KRL the rationale for the decisions taken in the recent past both at the time of ordering investigations into allegations of proliferation against senior Pakistani scientists, as well as at the time of emergence of concrete evidences consequent to the investigations.

He said that his decisions were always guided by supreme national interest and in the proliferation episode too, time has shown that the decisions taken were correct and served national interests. Musharraf asked the scientists not to be misled by petty politics of vested interests and cynics, according to the statement.

Musharraf concluded by saying that the key fundamental decision of the government was that the nuclear program would have only one direction - a forward one, said the statement.

He also reiterated the government's commitment to non-proliferation saying that Pakistan's strategic assets are under strict custodial controls and "we have a robust command and Control System".

Source: Xinhua

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