Pakistan proposes Asia peace plan

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The Independent Online
TWENTY-FOUR hours after exploding five nuclear bombs, Pakistan yesterday proposed that all countries of the world join to ensure peace in south Asia. As the United Nations Security Council reached agreement on a statement deploring Islamabad's nuclear tests and urging India and Pakistan not to conduct any more, Foreign Ministry secretary Shamshad Ahmad was briefing ambassadors and heads of foreign missions in terms clearly designed to counter the pariah status that both Pakistan and India are in danger of achieving.

Pakistan had crossed the nuclear threshold on Thursday, Mr Ahmad said, with a high sense of responsibility to restore a strategic balance after India's five nuclear tests earlier this month. "Our nuclear weapons capability is solely meant for national self-defence. It will never be used for offensive purposes," he insisted.

The Pakistani proposal was for the international community to address the implications of the nuclearisation of the region, by evolving "effective, non- discriminatory and verifiable measures to promote peace, stability and enhanced confidence in the Indian Ocean and adjacent regions".

The statements were in marked contrast to others made by the country's leaders. The Foreign Minister, Gohur Ayub Khan, declared that Pakistan was now a "nuclear weapons state," and vowed to repel any attack from India "with a vengeance".

Britain yesterday withdrew her High Commissioner in Islamabad, Sir David Dain. A similar action was taken when India conducted nuclear tests. The United States has imposed sanctions on both India and Pakistan that jeopardise billions of dollars in loans.

Pakistan's choice, page 16