Islamabad, Apr 14 : In what is being described as a US' bid to "interfere" into Pakistan's sensitive areas, the US State Department has reportedly proposed to the Pakistan Government to place one official permanently at the US embassy in Islamabad to deal with Pakistan's nuclear issues, and also that the official would have direct access to Pakistan's National Command Authority (NCA) Secretariat.
The NCA is the organisation in Pakistan responsible for policy formulation, and exercises employment and development control over all strategic nuclear forces and strategic organizations in the country.
Taking a strong exception at the US' proposal, defence analysts in Pakistan described it as the "most dangerous effort at intruding into Pakistan's sensitive areas".
The latest proposal is over and above the 11 demands earlier sent by the US to Islamabad, which were politely refused by the latter's relevant ministries. Those demands wanted American citizens sent by the US government to be treated above Pakistan's national law, reported The News.
According to the paper, the latest US request was made public on April 9, but there was no reaction either from the home government or the US Embassy in Islamabad.
Commenting on the proposal made, US Embassy spokesperson Elizabeth Carlton said: "We are in touch with all elements of the Pakistan government all the time. But we do not publish or discuss details of our diplomatic discussions and assignments."
Dr Shireen M Mazari of the DG Institute of Strategic Studies said that the latest move by the US was perhaps the "most dangerous effort at intruding into Pakistan's sensitive areas" in the ongoing effort to gain direct access to nuclear-strategic matters. "Apparently, so far Pakistan has not given any response but it would be quite appropriate to be concerned about such a US move, especially since transparency is not available at our end on such issues," added Mazari.
Voicing a similar viewpoint, Lt Gen (R) Talat Masood, a defence analyst, said: "This is outright interference in Pakistan's affairs. On what basis does the US want direct access to the NCA? Does the US have any particular fears or apprehensions? The US laws do not allow any transfer of nuclear technology or assets to Pakistan, so why should there be any such officer in the US embassy in Islamabad? There would be very grave implications if such a proposal is given serious thought by our government."
Citing the example of Indo-US cooperation, he further said that the US and India were involved in a nuclear energy deal, but the US would not dare to demand direct access to India's nuclear command authority as they are hoping in the case of the NCA.