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White House Oks Weaponry For Pakistan

Thu., March 21, 1996

The Clinton administration is to deliver $368 million worth of military hardware to Pakistan, overriding its own concerns that Pakistan’s leaders are building nuclear weapons, members of Congress said Wednesday.

The weaponry, which Pakistan has paid for, was held up by a 1990 law barring the sales in light of Pakistan’s nuclear-weapons program.

The CIA says Pakistan has built several bombs and has bought nuclear-weapons technology and medium-range missiles from China.

“We don’t have a non-proliferation policy anymore,” the chief sponsor of that law, Sen. Larry Pressler, R-S.D., said in an interview Wednesday. “We have an arms bazaar. It’s strange that an administration supposedly devoted to non-proliferation made this decision.”

Congress opened the door for the delivery last year by passing a waiver to the Pressler amendment, which bars military sales unless the president certifies that Pakistan is not developing nuclear weapons.

The CIA says Pakistan has bought from China 5,000 ring magnets used to enrich uranium for weapons use.

Senators and congressional aides who received a briefing on the sales from administration officials Tuesday said the weaponry includes naval patrol aircraft, missiles and other weapons. The administration argued that Pakistan would be a better ally if the weapons were delivered.

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