Washington: A US Congressional report has
warned that despite assurances given by Pakistan, the continued instability in that country poses a threat to its nuclear weapons which could fall into the hands of radicals.
"While US and Pakistani officials continue to express
confidence in controls over Pakistan`s nuclear weapons,
continued instability in the country could impact these
safeguards," the bipartisan and independent Congressional
Research Service has told US lawmakers in its latest report.
Instability in Pakistan has called the extent and
durability of these reforms into question, the CRS said.
It said some observers fear radical takeover of a
government that possesses a nuclear bomb, or proliferation by
radical sympathisers within Pakistan`s nuclear complex in case
of a breakdown of controls.
Pakistan`s nuclear arsenal consists of approximately
60 nuclear warheads, although it could be larger, said the
Islamabad is producing fissile material, adding to
related production facilities and deploying additional
delivery vehicles. These steps will enable Pakistan to
undertake both quantitative and qualitative improvements to
its nuclear arsenal.
Although separate storage may provide a layer of
protection against accidental launch or prevent theft of an
assembled weapon, it may be easier for unauthorised people to
remove a weapon`s fissile material core if it is not assembled, the CRS said.
Dispersal of the assets may also create more potential
access points for acquisition and may increase the risk of
diversion, it noted.