ISLAMABAD, March 8,Reuter: The Pakistani government pledged today to continue its controversial nuclear program, even if it meant losing foreign aid.

“We shall neither be browbeaten, nor cajoled”, acting Foreign Minister Zain Noorani told Parliament.

“I promise the people of Pakistan on behalf of the government, that no power on earth can deter us from pursuing our peaceful nuclear program”.

The government is President Mohammad ZiaulHaq has repeatedly denied allegations from independent researchers and its regional rival, India, that it is building a nuclear bomb. It says the research program is entirely for energy purposes. It is significant that he made a defiant statement as the U.S. Congress was considering a 4.02 billion dollar aid program for Pakistan, which under U.S. law would be halted if the Moslem country were to build nuclear arms.

Pakistani officials have expressed fears that recent studies published in the United States, and news Reports quoting a top Pakistani Nuclear Scientist, might lead Congress to suspend the aid.

Foreign Office Minister of State Noorani, standing in for the absent Foreign Minister Sahabzada Yaqub Khan, said Pakistan was not prepared to accept restrictions on its sovereignty from outside.

Pakistan had foreign aid in 1979 in asserting its right to acquire nuclear technology. he said. “Pakistan’s peaceful nuclear program shall go on, no matter what difficulties we may have to face and what sacrifices we have to undergo”, he said.

Noorani, who was answering a motion from opposition deputies, said reports that the United States had asked Pakistan to stop the program were incorrect. “No threat has been held out to us”, he said.

He reiterated Islamabad’s offer to sign any measure restricting the spread of nuclear weapons as long as it was signed by other countries in the region.

Pakistan says it will sign the nonproliferation treaty if India, which exploded a nuclear device in 1974, does so too. The two former British colonies have fought three wars since independence in 1947.

The departing U.S. Abmassador Deane R. Hinton said in a speech last month that Washington saw some developments in Pakistani nuclear research as incompatible with a purely peaceful program.

He warned that a “miscalculation” by either country would lead to a halt to military and economic aid.

But many legislators in Washington say that despite its concern over the Pakistani research, Congress is unlikely to halt the aid program because of Islamabad’s role in channeling U.S. help to Afghan rebels.


The Pakistani government has been embarrassed in recent days by remarks attributed by a prominent Indian journalist to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the country’s top nuclear scientist.

Khan was quoted as saying Pakistan had the bomb and would use it as a weapon of last resort. But he later described the reports as fabricated and denied having had more than an informal chat with the journalist, Kuldip Nayar.

But a well-known Pakistani journalist, who had arranged! The meeting between Nayar and Khan, has since been forced to resign as Editor of the Islamabad daily the Muslim.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 13, 1987