Musharraf assumes control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal as US drafts contingency takeover plan, then lifts emergency

President Pervez Musharraf’s powers diminished when he stepped down as army chief earlier this month. Friday, Dec. 14, he took formal control of Pakistan’s National Command Authority – NCA, which is responsible for the security of the country’s estimated 90 nuclear warheads. The step was taken to counter US concerns about their vulnerability to terrorist subversion amid reports that Washington was drafting contingency plans to seize Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal should its political crisis spin out of control. Pakistan’s military warned Tuesday that it would resist any international attempt to seize its nuclear arsenal by force.
Saturday, Dec. 15, he lifted the emergency which was condemned by Washington. But first, a presidential order issued in Islamabad said: The NCA has complete command and control over research, development, production and use of nuclear and space technologies.
An International Republic Institute poll, published in Washington Friday, shows 83 percent of Pakistanis opposed to emergency rule, which Musharraf declared on Nov. 3, and 67 percent want him to resign. An eight-member Institute mission in Pakistan prior to the poll claimed the government could not win the January 8 election “barring massive rigging.” And if it did, civil unrest could result.

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