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Rediff.com  » News » Scribe defends article on US-Pak deal on nuke safety

Scribe defends article on US-Pak deal on nuke safety

November 11, 2009 10:52 IST

Renowned United States investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has clarified that his article in The New Yorker never claimed that there was any agreement between Pakistan and the US over nuclear weapons, adding that an 'informal understanding' existed between the Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, over the safety of Pakistan's nuclear installations.

In an interview to Dawn TV, Hersh claimed he never talked about any formal agreement in his article, as he believed such remarks would be condemned widely.

Hersh's article created a huge furore in Pakistan, and Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit denounced the report minutes after it was flashed across the world.

Pakistan's Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Tariq Majid also condemned the article, terming it as 'absurd and plain mischief'.

During the television interview, Hersh said the United States has a great deal of respect for the Pakistan army and wanted the country to improve its control over its nuclear arsenal.

He said the threat to nuclear weapons was not only from extremists, but possibly also from mutinous defence force personnel.

Hersh highlighted there were fears that 'extremists inside the Pakistan military could stage a coup' and take control of the nuke assets.

Hersh had claimed in his article that during meetings with current and former officials in Washington and Pakistan, he was told that the agreements would allow specially trained American units to provide added security for Pakistani nuclear arsenal, in case of a crisis.

At the same time, the Pakistani military would be given money to equip and train Pakistani soldiers and improve their housing and other facilities, his report said. 

Source: ANI