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No one can dictate terms to us: Musharraf

Friday 4 July 2003

Article paru dans le Times of India, ?dition du 4 juillet 2003.

ISLAMABAD: Scotching "rumours and assumptions" that Pakistan is transfering nuclear technology to other countries, President Pervez Musharraf asserted that his country’s "nuclear missile programmes are our strength".

Musharraf, who is on an official visit to France, said on Thursday that he had been "hearing, time and again, the talk of having a deal on nuclear programme and wanted to avail of this opportunity to shun all such speculations, rumours and assumptions", Pakistani daily The News quoted him as saying in Paris.

Claiming that there was no question of any such deal, Musharraf said, "Our nuclear and missile programmes are our strength. No one can even think of entering into any deal on such national honours."

Referring to the international concerns on Pakistan’s possible transfer of nuclear technology to North Korea, he said, "I expressed my agreement with their apprehensions by saying that Pakistan does not wish or plan to transfer nuclear technology to anyone."

He also ruled out any pressure on him from the world community or its leadership while addressing huge gathering of overseas Pakistanis in France and those living in adjoining European countries.

"Only a traitor could imagine of any sell-out on national achievements and country’s honour. No one could dictate his terms to us and no coercion would be allowed," he, categorically, stated.

About the peace-talks, he said Pakistan would enter into dialogue with Indian only on the basis of sovereign equality, because "if India is a big country, Pakistan is also a state of 150 million people".

Musharraf said if he was achieving national objectives, including assistance and financial benefit from the leading countries, it was the result of his effective diplomacy and not any compromise. "It is victory of our diplomatic skill," he added.

Talking about political situation in Pakistan, the president said there has been lot of talk about his uniform. In this connection, he said, he wished to state in clear terms that he would not put off his uniform for the time being and added that it was not possible to give any firm date in this regard, The News reported.

"I have been in uniform for 40 years. I have never commanded for taking salutes only. I wish people should have respect in their heart for me. Being in uniform is not an issue of my ego," he added.

He said he was aware of the fact that he should take off his uniform. "You should leave this matter to me and once I am sure that the country has stability, I would not stay in uniform for a single moment...", he was quoted by the paper as saying.

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