China provided Pakistan with a “do-it-yourself” kit and weapons grade uranium for making two nuclear bombs in 1982, a leading American daily said on Friday, quoting notes made by disgraced Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan.
The Washington Post said the deliberate act of proliferation was part of a secret nuclear deal struck in 1976 between Chinese leader Mao Zedong and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
“Upon my personal request, the Chinese Minister... had gifted us 50 kg [kilograms] of weapon-grade enriched uranium, enough for two weapons,” Mr. Khan wrote in a previously undisclosed 11-page narrative of the Pakistani bomb programme.
The Post said it obtained Mr. Khan’s detailed accounts from Simon Henderson, a former journalist at the Financial Times, who is now a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and who has corresponded with Mr. Khan.
According to Mr. Khan, the daily said, the uranium cargo came with a blueprint for a simple weapon that China had already tested, supplying a virtual do-it-yourself kit that significantly speeded Pakistan’s bomb effort.
Pakistan rejects report
Pakistan, however, dismissed the media report and described it as an effort to divert attention from the support being extended by “some states” to India’s nuclear programme.
Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit described the allegations made in the article as “baseless.”