Ready to ensure security of strategic assets: Pak

Lt Gen Tariq Nadeem Gilani, head of the Army Strategic Force Command, was the chief guest at the ceremony.

Updated: Oct 18, 2012, 22:00 PM IST

Islamabad: A batch of 450 personnel from a new force raised to protect Pakistan`s nuclear arsenal passed out of a training facility on Thursday, with authorities saying that a comprehensive plan has been put in place to guard the country`s strategic assets.

The soldiers of the security force of the Strategic Plans Division, which controls the nuclear arsenal, passed out from the Frontier Force Regimental Centre at Abbotabad.

Lt Gen Tariq Nadeem Gilani, head of the Army Strategic Force Command, was the chief guest at the ceremony.

A statement issued by the military said another batch of 450 personnel had passed out of the Baloch Regimental Centre yesterday.

The SPD has "undertaken a comprehensive plan to significantly augment the capacity of its force to ensure foolproof security of strategic assets," the statement said.

"Nuclear security is a special focus area and efforts to inculcate a nuclear security culture are deeply rooted in the nuclear establishment," the statement said.

Addressing the passing out parade, Lt Gen Gilani highlighted the responsibilities and challenges ahead and highlighted the significance of the security division of the SPD.

He said the organization had made valuable contributions to the security of strategic installations.

The security force had "attained international standards in a short span of time", Gilani was quoted as saying.

Earlier this year, the Pakistani military said it had raised a 20,000-strong force to provide foolproof security to its nuclear weapons and strategic assets.

The security force was raised against the backdrop of concerns expressed by politicians about Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal being targeted by the US to prevent it from falling into the hands of extremists.

The Pakistani military has dismissed such concerns, saying it has multi-layered foolproof measures in place to protect its strategic assets.
Last month, authorities deployed large contingents of soldiers and policemen at one of Pakistan’s largest nuclear facilities at Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab province following threats from the local Taliban.

At the time, media reports said that the Inter-Services Intelligence agency had intercepted a phone call during which militants were heard discussing an attack on the nuclear facility.