Declassified US State Department report makes stunning revelations about Pakistan secret nuclear weapons programme
ISLAMABAD - A confidential State Department report, dated Aug 20, 1984, shows that by 1984 Washington knew Islamabad had acquired the capability to build nuclear weapons.
“Despite public and private assurances by President Zia (ul Haq) that Pakistan has neither the intention, means, nor capability to acquire nuclear explosives, we have extensive and convincing intelligence that the Pakistanis are pressing forward to perfect the design of a nuclear weapon, fabricate nuclear weapon components, and acquire the necessary nuclear material for such a device,” the report says.
“Recent progress in Pakistan’s uranium enrichment programme may … soon create a situation in which we could not rule out the possibility that Pakistan was taking all of the steps required to assemble a nuclear device, or even to stockpile nuclear weapons.”
The document notes that the development forced Washington to make “a stark choice” between: (1) Acquiescing in Pakistan’s nuclear activities and thus incurring almost certain Congressional action against US security assistance to Pakistan, the possibility of an Indian pre-emptive strike against the Pakistani nuclear facilities, and seriously undermining the credibility of US global non-proliferation policy.
(2) Terminating the US-Pakistan security relationship, thereby imperilling the Afghan resistance to Soviet occupation, doing grave and long-term harm to US political and security interests in Southwest Asia and with China, and convincing Pakistan it had nothing further to lose by building nuclear weapons or even conducting a nuclear test.