Regarding the June 2 Washington Post article “Bhutto gave key nuclear data to Pyongyang” (which is based on conversations that London-based Indian journalist Shyam Bhatia claims to have had with former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2003): It is illogical to believe that an international leader of Bhutto’s stature and fame would have acknowledged (exchanging nuclear data for new missile technology to counter India’s missiles) to an obscure journalist like Bhatia. Bhutto after all was the architect of the “Benazir Nuclear Doctrine,” which prohibits the export of nuclear technology to any country.

In this connection, the absurdity of Bhatia’s claim was exposed in a public statement by PPP spokesman Sen. Farhatullah Babar a few weeks before Bhutto’s assassination last October. According to Babar, in an Oct. 7, 2007, e-mail, Bhatia had requested a 10-minute, face-to-face interview with Bhutto for a magazine cover story or, “most important, if we cannot talk, is to go over and take a picture of her.” Babar said Bhutto refused the face-to-face interview, declined to be photographed and did not even agree to a telephone interview because Bhatia’s standing and credentials did not warrant it.

“Instead Bhatia got replies to written questions that he was asked to send to the media office,” which did not field a single question about the nuclear issue on Bhutto’s behalf, the spokesman added. So, “what can we say of (Bhatia’s) claim that he was in regular contact with her?”

Bhatia’s cheap attempt to sell his book by exploiting the name of a very respectable and popular leader is deplorable.

muhammad abdul wahid khan