WASHINGTON (Mar. 24)
Pakistan’s interest in obtaining nuclear weapons poses a threat to Israel’s existence and Congress should consider halting military aid, Sen. John Glenn (D. Ohio) said Monday.
Glenn, testifying before the Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Near East and South Asian Affairs, said there is strong evidence indicating that Pakistan is “manufacturing and testing components for nuclear weaponry.” He proposed eliminating military aid to Pakistan unless it can be certified that it has no nuclear materials.
Glenn, noting that former Pakistan President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto said he was building an “Islamic bomb,” said the weapon is “the ultimate threat to Israel’s existence. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons production will sooner or later. . . result in a wider frontier of nuclear weapons technology to countries in the Middle East. The flash point for nuclear war will be lowered through the combination of religiously-based conflict with the means for mass destruction.” The Reagan Administration is seeking continuation of a $4.02 billion six-year package to Pakistan that was approved by Congress last year. Supporters of the assistance assert that refusal to grant aid would induce Pakistan to develop nuclear weapons.
“Development of a close and reliable security partnership with Pakistan gives Pakistan an alternative to nuclear weapons to meet its legitimate security needs and strengthens our influence on Pakistan’s nuclear decision-making,” said Richard Murphy, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs.
With the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan is also perceived as a critical bulwark against Soviet influence.
“Pakistan today is directly threatened by the Soviet Union. Indeed were it not for Pakistan, by now Moscow would have succeeded in its brutal efforts to drag bleeding Afghanistan into the Soviet Empire,” said Sen. Gordon Humphrey (R.NH).