Sunday, April 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak threatens to use nukes
H.S. Rao

London, April 6
Pakistan may use nuclear weapons against India as a last resort in the event of a war, President Pervez Musharraf has said.

“If the pressure on Pakistan becomes too great then as a last resort, the atom bomb is also possible (in the event of a war with India),” the military ruler warned in an interview to be published tomorrow in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine.

A gist of the interview given to the German daily was published in ‘The Guardian’ newspaper today.

According to the report Musharraf said India had a “super-power obsession” and was energetically arming itself. Both countries tested nuclear weapons in 1998, the first time Pakistan admitted its nuclear capability.

The General’s unusually aggressive comments came as he announced plans to hold a referendum in the first week of May to extend his presidency for the next five years.

After outlining the actions his regime had taken since the coup in October 1999, the General made it clear that he would remain in overall charge of the country, despite the elections planned for October. The constitution would be amended to support his plans, he said.

“I must carry on leading this country,” Musharraf told Der Spiegel.

“I am not power hungry, but I do not believe in power sharing... I believe in unity of command. There has to be one authority for good government.”

Musharraf said whoever was elected Prime Minister in the October polls would have their own powers but would “not dare” change the policies which Musharraf himself began. “There will be authority to govern but to govern well.”

But it is his words about nuclear weapons that will cause consternation in New Delhi, the report said. Since mid-December the two countries have remained on full military alert with hundreds of thousands of troops deployed along their borders and diplomatic ties cut to the minimum.

According to the report, Washington applied heavy pressure on India to stop its military from launching a punitive strike against Pakistan in retaliation for an attack on the Indian Parliament, which was blamed on militants based in Pakistan. PTIBack

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