'Frightened, exhausted' Sharif would not have gone for nuke test left to his own judgment'

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Islamabad, Oct.24 (ANI): Former US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott believed that former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would not have conducted the 'tit for tat' nuclear tests following India's test of its nuclear capability in 1998, had he to have taken the decision alone.

Sartaj Aziz, Finance Minister in the then Sharif cabinet, in his book, has revealed that Sharif agreed to give a green signal for the nuclear test under tremendous pressure from certain quarters within his cabinet and the military.

'Nawaz Sharif seemed nearly paralysed with exhaustion, anguish and fear... Left to his own judgment, he would not test," Aziz quoted Talbott, as saying in his book itled 'Between dreams and realities: Some milestones in Pakistan's history'.

"Talbott, who landed in Islamabad soon after India's nuclear tests, gathered an impression from his interactions with Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan and Army Chief Gen Jehangir Karamat that Pakistan would go for tests," the book states.

When enquired about his own opinion regarding conducting the nuclear test, Aziz said he was among the few politicians who had opposed the idea of replying to New Delhi's action.

Aziz believed that the nuke test would have serious repercussions on country's economy and that it would further deteriorate the already precarious situation.

"I emphasized that even a substantial package of economic and conventional military assistance package from the US would not address the country's long-term security concerns," The Dawn quoted Aziz, as saying.

Aziz said that he had stressed the need of seeking a security umbrella in addition to an economic package, however, the US was not prepared to provide a security umbrella, therefore Pakistan was left with no option but to go for the test. (ANI)

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