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Pakistan has means to deliver nuclear strike: Musharraf

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    Pakistan has means to deliver nuclear strike: Musharraf

    General Pervez Musharraf has said that he did not know the size of his country's atomic arsenal, but that Pakistan had the means to deliver a nuclear strike.

    In an interview published here Tuesday in the Vremya Novostei daily, he also said he was unable to say firmly whether alleged terrorist Osama, now assumed to be hiding in Afghanistan, had in fact been the sponsor of a wave deadly attacks against Western targets.

    First asked about the nuclear potential of Pakistan, Musharraf strongly urged other countries to view his country as a powerful military power. "Personally, I do not know how many nuclear devices we have. I must check. Of course we have them, but I would not like to name figures that I do not know," Musharraf said.

    "We do have nuclear weapons," added Musharraf. "We are a nuclear state. We have rockets, we have nuclear warheads -- we are a nuclear power," Musharraf said. "We have the means to deliver nuclear warheads. There can be no doubt about that." Yet, he stressed that Pakistan had no intention "of attacking any country. "Islamabad conducted nuclear weapons tests in May 1998 in response to detonations by rival neighbour India. Both countries declared afterwards a moratorium on further testing.

    While there are no accurate estimates of the two countries' nuclear arsenals, a recent US Central Intelligence Agency report India has produced enough plutonium for 60 weapons, but that it only has around 35 actual bombs.

    Pakistan, the report said, has enough material for the roughly the same number of bombs. Both countries could deliver the nuclear bombs by aircraft or a combination of bombers and missiles. Meanwhile Musharraf, mentioning bin Laden, said he could do little to assist the West in its search for Osama.

    "Bin Laden is in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is an independent country. What can Pakistan do here," he asked. And asked whether he viewed bin Laden as a "terrorist," Musharraf replied: "To tell you the truth, I do not know ... I have no such proof, so I cannot comment."