Foreign Office on Friday admitted that the claim made by former President Pervez Musharraf regarding the transfer of two dozen centrifuges to North Korea in his book was not an easy job to defend as "we had already rejected the allegations."
Imtiaz Ahmad, Additional Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while responding to a question by Senator Farhatullah Babar during a meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, stated the "revelations" by the former president in his book, made it really tough for the Foreign Office to defend its earlier stance that no such thing ever happened.
Former President Pervez Musharraf claimed in his book"In the Line of Fire" that Pakistan's nuclear scientist "Dr AQ Khan transferred two dozen P-I and P-II centrifuges to North Korea. The issue was raised by Senator Farhatullah Babar, who stated that Musharraf wrote in his book that other equipment was also transferred along with two dozens centrifuges.
In his response, the senior official of Foreign Office said that it was unfortunate that the former president made the claims in his book, making it difficult for the Foreign Office to defend its earlier stance, as Pakistan had been repeatedly rejecting the allegations of transferring its nuclear technology and equipment to any other country.
"We are still committed to our principled stance that Pakistan being a responsible nuclear state will never transfer its nuclear technology to any other country," he said. He further said that North Korea has also rejected the allegations and never accepted any such claim.
Committee member Mushahid Hussain Saed said, "We should avoid raking up old wounds." He recalled that it was former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who established diplomatic relations with North Korea and Pakistan was among those countries to have recognized North Korea during Bhutto's tenure.
Briefing the committee on Pakistan's relations with South Korea and North Korea, the additional secretary said that Pakistan is among those countries that are enjoying good relations with both, South Korea and North Korea. He said that Pakistan is pursuing an independent foreign policy in its best national interest and enjoys good relations with both the countries.
However, he said that Pakistan has expressed concerns and also condemned the ballistic missiles and nuclear tests by North Korea. On the issue of North Korea, he said that Pakistan is supporting the six-party talks and wants that the issue is resolved peacefully through talks. "Our policy is that Pakistan wants a nuclear free zone in the Korean Peninsula and wants a peacefully resolution of the issue," he added.
With South Korea, he said that Pakistan enjoys a good relationship and there is cooperation in many fields between the two countries. Committee member Kareem Khawaja said that Pakistan is not a "satellite state" of China and "we should pursue our independent foreign policy towards the countries such as South Korea, North Korea and Japan."
However, Mushahid Hussain noted that Japan has critical stance on Pakistan's nuclear programme but is openly supporting a nuclear India. On the other hand, he added that China has always supported Pakistan at every international forum. While responding, the additional secretary said that Pakistan's relations with China, Japan and South Korea are based on its own national interests, adding Pakistan is not taking dictation from any other country in the region on establishing relations with another country.
On the South China Sea disputed, he said that Pakistan maintains that the resolution of the issue lies with the countries concerned, and the countries outside the region should respect the negotiations or the process through which the parties concerned want to resolve this issue.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2017