`US persuaded Pak not to conduct nuke tests`

The US had made several attempts to restrict Pakistan from conducting nuclear tests in 1998.

Updated: Oct 04, 2009, 13:04 PM IST

Lahore: The United States had made several attempts to restrict the then Pakistan government from conducting nuclear tests in response to India’s nuke blasts in May 1998, former US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs prof Karl Inderfurth has said.

“We persuaded them to hold off on conducting the nuclear tests and offered to remove sanctions and provide economic assistance after approval from the Congress,” The Daily Times quoted Inderfurth, as saying.
Inderfurth said the then Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif had told then US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott that it would be impossible for him to refrain from conducting the nuclear tests.

“We could not get a clear response over the nuclear tests at the time but the body language indicated that Pakistan would conduct nuclear tests in response to Indian tests,” I think massive domestic pressure was behind the 1998 nuclear tests,” he added.
Inderfurth also disclosed that the US and Saudi Arabia had together saved Nawaz Sharif from being hanged following the 1998 military coup.

“Saudis are working behind the scenes and have a very active role in the region,” Inderfurth said.