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Pakistani Leaders Criticize U.S.

May 13, 1998

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ Pakistani leaders alleged today that the United States and other Western powers ignored India’s nuclear ambitions and set the Asian subcontinent on a deadly nuclear arms race.

Pakistan also blasted India, which was reported today to have conducted two more underground nuclear tests.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif slammed the United States for accepting Indian promises that it would not explode a nuclear device _ even as India’s new Hindu nationalist government prepared to cross the nuclear threshold.

``While dismissing India’s officially proclaimed nuclear designs, the world community not only ignored our concerns but also spoke of the assurance given by India that no changes in its nuclear policy were in the offing,″ Sharif said.

Sharif’s comments came before local news agencies, quoting an official announcement, said two test blasts were conducted at the same desert range southwest of the capital where the nuclear explosions were set off Monday.

``Pakistan condemns the latest explosion,″ Foreign Ministry spokesman Nadeem Kiyani said.

Pakistan is demanding that the United States and other industrialized countries cut off aid and impose further sanctions on India. Pakistan has been under U.S. sanctions since 1990, when the U.S. administration cut off all military and humanitarian aid to because it believed that Islamabad had a nuclear bomb.

Pakistani political leaders claim the West is biased against Pakistan, an Islamic state.

``We will now see whether the Western powers continue to apply double standards to India and Pakistan or not,″ Former President Farooq Leghari said Tuesday.

Leghari accused the West of ``emboldening″ India. Not only did the West fail to prevent the building weapons of mass destruction, Leghari said it ``even helped India in the effort by transferring sensitive technology in one form or another.″

Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan’s secret service, warned against relying on the United States to guarantee Pakistan’s security.

``We cannot depend on America. ... First of all they are very undependable,″ Gul said. ``Unless Pakistan now comes up with a response, the deterrence value will disappear which could push us toward war.″

India and Pakistan have fought three wars in the past half-century, when Britain gave the Asian subcontinent its independence and created Pakistan for the Muslims of the region.

Sharif met today with the Defense Committee of his Cabinet apparently to plot Pakistan’s response to the nuclear tests by India. Pakistan already has said it is capable of carrying out a test.

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