“Pakistan under General Ziaul Haq’s rule in the 1980s broke its promise to the United States on uranium enrichment”, a series of newly declassified US documents have revealed.
The documents released by US National Security Archive show that the general had assured then US President Ronald Reagan that Pakistan would not enrich uranium above five per cent and in return had received huge amounts of financial aid and modern military assistance.
“I appreciate the assurances you gave Ambassador Hinton that Pakistan would not enrich uranium above the five percent level,” Reagan wrote in a letter to Zia on September 12, 1984.
In the letter, the US president had also expressed concern over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme. “I must candidly state that enrichment of uranium above five per cent would be of the same significance as those nuclear activities, such as unsafeguarded reprocessing, which I personally discussed with you in December 1982 and would have the same implications for our security programme and relationship.”
“I have personally discussed with you my concerns about stemming nuclear proliferation, and my administration remains fully committed on this issue,” he continued.
Regan had also warned Pakistan that other countries in the region may take untoward action against the country, referring to the CIA assessment that India was planning to carry out strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear facilities.
“Concern is also growing in Congress and among the public about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme. I am mindful that other countries in the region might use this issue as a pretext for untoward action towards Pakistan,” Regan said.
A talking point memo ahead of the letter also referred to Washington’s ‘judgement’ that it is “likely that at some point India will take military action to pre-empt your military programme.”
Further, the talking points also offered an inducement for Pakistan to adopt safeguards on its nuclear facilities, in light of the threats that Pakistan faced, “we would be prepared to act promptly to discourage or help deter such action as you move toward safeguards.”
The declassification of documents comes after a Washington Post report claiming the US is considering a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan.