Pakistani government on Wednesday rejected a New York Times report challenging the safety of its nuclear program and said that the country carries out the best nuclear safety practices.
The NYT report said that President Barack Obama may be forced to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the year, and such risk had set off concerns inside the U.S. intelligence agencies which worried about losing their air bases used for drone strikes against al-Qaeda in Pakistan and responding to a nuclear crisis in the region.
Commenting on the NYT story entitled “Afghanistan Exit Is Seen as Peril to C.I.A. Drone Mission”, the spokesperson of Pakistani Foreign Ministry Tasnim Aslam expressed regret at the story which was another manifestation of a cliche theme made up of baseless scenarios.
“Pakistan follows the best practices and standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency. It has an impeccable record of safely operating nuclear power plants for over forty years,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
She said the timing of this story, purportedly based on briefings by anonymous U.S. officials, was rather intriguing, coming, as it did, on the eve of the ministerial level review of the strategic dialogue between Pakistan and the United States in Washington.
“The contents and drift of the story contradict the expression of desire by senior members of the U.S. administration to develop an enduring partnership with Pakistan on the basis of mutual trust and mutual respect,” she said.
The spokesperson said such tendentious reporting is also at variance with the confidence expressed by the U.S. leaders and officials in the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.
She underscored the fact that Pakistan has both the will and the capacity to thwart all threats to its nuclear assets.
“This clarity of purpose is underpinned by national consensus on the indispensability of a credible minimum nuclear deterrent to the strategic calculus of Pakistan,” the spokesperson said.