Pakistan on Thursday rejected reports that the country has planned to sell nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia.
The Sunday Times of London had claimed that Saudi Arabia had “taken the ‘strategic decision’ to acquire off-the-shelf atomic weapons from Pakistan,” citing unnamed American officials.
According to the report, the kingdom wants to get nuclear weapons to counter Iran after the recent nuclear deal it reached with the West.
The Pakistani foreign ministry rejected the report. “There has been an entirely baseless and mischievous campaign in the international media regarding Pakistan’s indigenous nuclear programme. The Sunday Times story appears to be part of that malevolent campaign and is utterly unfounded,” Xinhua quoted foreign office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah as saying.
He said that Pakistan has robust command and control structure and comprehensive export controls, adding Pakistan supports objectives of non-proliferation as well as nuclear safety and security.
“As a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan is fully aware of its responsibilities. Pakistan’s nuclear programme is purely for its own legitimate self-defence and maintenance of a credible minimum deterrence,” the spokesperson said.
Saudi Arabia has also dismissed the reports that it wants to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan as mere “speculation”.
A Saudi defence ministry official was quoted as saying that such reports are not new and that the ministry does not comment on rumours and speculation.