US wants its permanent official in Pak's NCA

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Islamabad, Apr 14 (UNI) The US State Department has sent a proposal to Pakistan that it would like to place a permanent official at the US Embassy in Islamabad to deal with Pakistan's nuclear issues, and that this official would have direct access to the National Command Authority (NCA) Secretariat.

This request comes after a set of 11 demands earlier sent by the US to Islamabad were politely refused by the relevant ministries, local daily The News said today.

The paper said all these requests wanted American citizens sent by the US government to be treated above Pakistan's national law.

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.

This 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.

Interestingly, this US request comes at a time when senior US officials who recently visited Pakistan had expressed satisfaction over safety and security of Pakistan's nuclear assets.

When contacted for comments, the spokesperson at the US Embassy, Elizabeth Colton did not outrightly reject this US proposal but 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 But we do not publish or discuss details of our diplomatic discussions and assignments.'' The paper said this proposal was put through verbal contact via an assistant secretary level official of the section concerned.

UNI XC ARB GC1332

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