Islamabad, Jan 9: The Pakistan Government today rejected International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed El Baradei statement about safety of its nuclear assets, saying that they are as secure as that of any other nuclear weapons state.
Pakistan was in touch with IAEA over the matter and the Foreign Office has already approached to a senior official of the agency to express concern over the statement, The News quoted Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq, as saying. Sadiq further said that Baradei must remain within his mandate that is essentially concerned with the safeguarded facilities and not other issue.
He went on to say that Baradie"s remarks ignore the fact that the strategic assets of Pakistan are fully secure and under multi-layered safeguards and controls exercised by the National Command Authority. He said Pakistan is a responsible nuclear weapon state and statements expressing concern about their safety are unwarranted and irresponsible.
Baradei has expressed concern over the Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, saying it could fall into extremist hands. "I fear that chaos... or an extremist regime could take root in that country which has 30 to 40 warheads," ElBaradei told the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat in an interview.
He said that he was "worried that nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of an extremist group in Pakistan or in Afghanistan." Baradie further said that a war in the Middle East or in the Muslim world could have bad repercussions in Pakistan, more than in Iran.
Baradei also said that the chances of terror groups attempting to attack on a radioactive facility are growing. "Terror groups might try to attack a facility housing radioactive materials in a populated area or even in one (of the world's) capitals, which could lead to a wide area being infected with radiation and thousands of deaths," he said.
"We know the terror organisations would like to carry out such an attack and in fact they are more likely to succeed in that than they are in getting their hands of nuclear weapons," he added.