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Nawaz Sharif on Pakistan and India:
"We're not to blame"

Just hours after sending the army into Karachi and setting up military courts there for the speedy punishment of "terrorists and criminals," Mian Mohammed Nawaz Sharif spoke to TIME's Tim McGirk and Syed Talat Hussain. The Pakistani Prime Minister defended his crackdown in the nation's largest city and explained how relations with neighboring India might improve. Excerpts:

TIME: Why did you decide to send the army into Karachi?
Nawaz Sharif: The law and order situation was bad. My government did its best, but things went beyond control. The situation has improved since we imposed governor's rule. Many terrorists have been arrested. Why, just one of them alone killed 13 people. Under the normal system, justice takes a long time. These terrorists and criminals were threatening judges, policeman and witnesses.

TIME: How long will this "quasi-martial law" last?
Nawaz Sharif: As long as it has to. I'm very, very clear-headed as far as these matters are concerned. We have to put our house in order.

TIME: What will happen if Pakistan doesn't get its IMF loan? Will the country be forced to default?
Nawaz Sharif: Pakistan never defaulted on its payments. We wouldn't have this situation if the agreement between Pakistan and the IMF had been allowed to continue. As you know Pakistan was forced to conduct nuclear explosions and, as a consequence, sanctions were imposed and the IMF loan package was terminated. Now we have a balance of payments problem, but it's because of sanctions. Our economy is resilient. We're involved in serious negotiations with the IMF. I hope that these negotiations are successful. In a couple of days, we'll have results. The world has a stake in an economically strong Pakistan. It's also in the interests of regional stability.

TIME: Why did Pakistan detonate a nuclear device?
Nawaz Sharif: Pakistan was forced to conduct its nuclear tests, and Pakistan isn't to be blamed for tests. These detonations were forced on us. It was a question of our survival. Our security was in grave danger.

TIME: Is Pakistan going to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty?
Nawaz Sharif: We've already declared a unilateral moratorium [on nuclear weapons testing.

TIME: The U.S. is worried Pakistan might sell nuclear technology to other nations.
Nawaz Sharif: Pakistan isn't a rich country. We need resources, but we've never done this. Our record is impeccable. Pakistan scrupulously abides by its long-standing policy not to sell to a third country or entity. Our [nuclear] export controls are effective and we're tightening them even further.

PAGE 1  |  2


November 30, 1998

Six months after the subcontinent's two testy powers flexed their nuclear muscles, the explosions have given not stability but a new bitterness to the economically battered region

Half a century after partition, the beautiful land of Kashmir continues to haunt the subcontinent

Two men share more than a name

A pacifist defense minister defends the Bomb

Youth turn against the tests

Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif on the nuclear era

A skewed sense of security

Are India and Pakistan more or less likely to go to war with one another now that they have the bomb?

This edition's table of contents | TIME Asia home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

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