The U.S. has categorically told Pakistan that it would not get any atomic power plant or civilian nuclear deal on the lines of the one signed with India.
“The United States is working closely with Pakistan to help meet its growing needs. Nuclear power is not currently part of our discussions,” a senior administration official told PTI.
Leaders of Pakistan, who have been pitching hard for a nuclear power plant, have been told about in recently.
The senior administration official, preferring anonymity, said the U.S. has also told Pakistan that there is no way that they can get a civilian nuclear deal similar to the one the Obama Administration has signed with India.
The India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal is specific to India only and there is no thinking going on in the administration to create a template for it, the official said.
Moreover, given the past experiences that the U.S. had with Pakistan on nuclear proliferation issue and the episode of disgraced Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan accused of transferring sensitive technologies abroad, the official said both the top American lawmakers and those in the U.S. Government have serious concerns about the safety of Pakistani nuclear weapons.
Under these circumstances, it is quite difficult to consider “that (nuclear power)” option for Pakistan, the officials pointed out. At a Lahore reception on February 14 hosted by Salmaan Taseer, Governor of Punjab province in Pakistan, the country’s top diplomat to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, had said Islamabad had started negotiations with the U.S. for an agreement on nuclear technology.
“The U.S. is not sceptical about our nuclear programme. Talks between Pakistan and the U.S. for cooperation on atomic programmes are underway and we want the U.S. to have an agreement with us like the one it had with India on civil nuclear technology,” Mr. Haqqani was quoted as saying by The Dawn newspaper in Pakistan.
At a Congressional hearing on Thursday, a U.S. lawmaker had expressed concern over the safety of Pakistani nuclear weapons and also about the possibility of the Taliban getting hold of the country’s atomic arms and India taking preventive measures.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, spoke about the efforts of the Obama Administration about addressing Pakistani energy needs.
“We have committed to some large signature energy projects, because part of their economic challenge is keeping the power on and keeping those factories humming. And so I’ve ordered a redirection of our aid so that we produce results that are in line with the needs and aspirations of the Pakistani people,” Ms. Clinton had said.