The John Major government did not declare it openly but confidential documents reveal that in 1993 it had evidence that Pakistan’s nuclear programme was not ‘peaceful’, as the then Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, often claimed. Sharif wrote to Major on February 17, 1993, on the eve of the latter’s visit to the United States, harping on Islamabad’s long-standing claim that its nuclear programme is “entirely peaceful”, declassified documents released by National Archives on Friday show. However, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office rejected the claim five days later in a note to 10, Downing Street, stating that Sharif’s three-page letter to Major “contains nothing new”.

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Published: 31 December 2018