LONDON (Aug. 5)
Diplomatic concern is mounting over reports that Saudi Arabia is financing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program as a way of acquiring its own nuclear capability.
Suspicions about Saudi unclear ambitions have been raised in diplomatic circles after revelations that Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz visited Pakistan’s secret nuclear facilities in May.
An unnamed British official told the London Guardian that the prince visited the Kahuta uranium-enrichment plant and missile factory with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He was reportedly briefed by A.Q. Khan, the “father of Pakistan’s atom bomb.”
The Kahuta site is said to be so sensitive that Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistani prime minister, was refused permission to visit the facility during her term of office.
India has expressed concern that Pakistan is developing an “Islamic bomb,” a term referring to the possibility that Pakistan could share its nuclear technology with other Muslim nations.
Diplomatic sources in London were quoted as saying there was concern that Saudi Arabia might have agreed to finance the Pakistani effort and might try to buy missiles and nuclear know-how.
“Proliferation has got to be pushed up the agenda in the interests of everyone,” the official said. “What is happening is very serious.”