'Informal understanding' exits between Mullen, Kayani over Pak's nuke assets: Hersh

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Islamabad, Nov.11 (ANI): Renowned US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has clarified that his article in The New Yorker never claimed that there was any agreement between Pakistan and the US on the nuclear weapons issue, adding that an 'informal understanding' existed between the Chairman US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and Pakistan Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani over the safety of Pakistan's nuclear installations.

In an interview to Dawn TV, Hersh said he never talked about any formal agreement in his article, as he believed such remarks would be condemned widely.

Hersh's article created a huge furore in Pakistan, which saw Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit denouncing the report minutes after it was flashed across the world.

Pakistan's Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Tariq Majid also condemned the article, terming it as 'absurd and plain mischief'.

During the television interview, Hersh said the United States has a great deal of respect for the Pakistan Army and wanted the country to improve control over its nuclear arsenals.

He said the threat to nuclear weapons was not only from extremists, but possibly also from mutinous defence force personnel.

Hersh highlighted there were fears that 'extremists inside the Pakistan military could stage a coup' and take control of the nuke assets.

Hersh had claimed in his article that during meetings with current and former officials in Washington and Pakistan, he was told that the agreements would allow specially trained American units to provide added security for Pakistani nuclear arsenal in case of a crisis.

At the same time, the Pakistani military would be given money to equip and train Pakistani soldiers and improve their housing and facilities, his report said. (ANI)

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