Pak links nuke tech transfer with US ties: Report

Islamabad: Pakistan is expected to link its future relationship with the US to the transfer of civil nuclear technology by America to help it overcome a crippling energy shortfall.

The Parliamentary Committee on National Security, which has been tasked by the Prime Minister to recommend new "terms of engagement" with the US, has "declared that the basis of the new relationship should be conditional on the agreement to transfer civil nuclear technology to Pakistan," The News daily quoted its sources as saying.

Pakistan has been pressing the US to give it access to civilian nuclear technology ever since Washington concluded a landmark civil nuclear deal with India. The committee`s Chairman, Raza Rabbani, yesterday said the panel was close to finalising its recommendations for resetting the troubled Pakistan-US relationship.

Though Rabbani did not give details of the recommendations, The News reported that the committee had declared that Pakistani products should be given greater access to US and European markets.

The committee also sought a complete halt to US drone attacks, steps to ensure respect for Pakistan`s sovereignty and territorial integrity and a guarantee of the non-transgression of Pakistan`s frontiers in future.

The draft recommendations also sought a complete ban on transporting supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan via Pakistan and said that the bilateral relationship should be organised at an equal level.

Rabbani told the media on Wednesday that the committee had finalised its draft recommendations through consensus. The committee will complete the task of finalising its recommendations after a few more meetings, he said.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani asked the Parliamentary committee to draft recommendations for new terms of engagement with the US after a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November. Following the attack, Pakistan closed all NATO supply routes and forced the US to vacate Shamsi airbase, which was used by CIA-operated drones.