Islamabad: Pakistan possessed up to 110 nuclear weapons and spent a whopping USD 2.2 billion on its atomic arsenal last year, claims a report by an international NGO, prompting Islamabad to call it "highly exaggerated".
In the report titled "Don't bank on the bomb", the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) said that Pakistan had between 90 and 110 nuclear weapons. "Its arsenal has grown substantially in recent years, from 60 to 80 nuclear weapons in 2008," it said.
The report, issued this week, quoted sources as saying that Pakistan intended to double its arsenal in the next five to 10 years with the goal of having up to 350 weapons of varying yield.
It further said Pakistan spent an estimated USD 2.2 billion on its nuclear weapons programme last year, up from USD 1.8 billion in 2010.
"Expenditure is projected to increase substantially due to maintenance costs for its new plutonium infrastructure," the report said.
Reacting to the report, Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said it was "highly exaggerated and part of an insidious propaganda campaign."
"Pakistan's strategic programme was modest (and) aimed at maintaining a credible minimum deterrence to ensure national security," Mr Basit said.
He said Pakistan's primary focus was on economic development and the welfare of its people.
"Pakistan was opposed to an arms race in South Asian or in any other part of the world," he said.
Story first published:
March 07, 2012 18:46 IST