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Pakistan `ready' to explode H-bomb

PAKISTAN is developing a hydrogen bomb, along with a new series of long and medium-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons, the head of Pakistan's missile programme said yesterday.

Samar Mobarik Mand said scientists were ready to conduct a test of its latest medium-range Shaheen (Falcon) missile, which has a range of 450 miles and is capable of carrying nuclear warheads. ``The missile is awaiting a go-ahead signal from the Government,'' he said.

It had already proved its accuracy in ground tests, said Dr Mand, who headed the team of scientists who monitored last week's six nuclear tests. According to senior Defence Ministry sources, the Shaheen missile is likely to be tested this week. The scientists said Pakistan is developing another long-range, nuclear-capable Shaheen 2 missile, which will have a range of 1,200 miles and be able to hit eastern Indian cities.

Pakistan appears to have accelerated its missile programme in a desperate attempt to establish superiority in the arms race with India. So far, international condemnation and economic sanctions do not seem to have had any deterrent effect.

Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, said: ``We have the nuclear weapons and they can be deployed within a few days.''

Dr Khan, who masterminded Pakistan's nuclear tests, said Pakistan was ready to test a hydrogen bomb.

While the top scientists continue to boast about their nuclear and missile prowess, the Government appears to be in disarray, lacking a cohesive policy on its nuclear weaponry. Islamabad has refused to declare a moratorium on nuclear tests, accusing India of planning another round of explosions.

The euphoria that swept Pakistan after the tests began to diminish yesterday as the Karachi stock market fell by 120 points, the biggest crash in a day in its history.

* INDIA has rejected an offer of mediation from the United Nations to ease tension with Pakistan caused by nuclear tests by the two countries, and Delhi said it was increasing defence spending by 14 per cent.

( Daily Telegraph London)

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