Pakistan in 2011 directed $2.2 billion in funding toward its nuclear weapons activities, a $400 million increase from the prior year, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons said in an assessment published this week (see GSN, March 5).
The South Asian state holds at least 90 nuclear armaments and might have as many as 110, the Press Trust of India quoted the independent organization as saying in the document.
"Its arsenal has grown substantially in recent years, from 60 to 80 nuclear weapons in 2008," the assessment states.
Pakistan might plan within five to 10 years to increase its nuclear stockpile by twofold, producing an arsenal of as many as 350 armaments with different levels of explosive power, the document's authors wrote.
"Expenditure is projected to increase substantially due to maintenance costs for its new plutonium infrastructure," the report says.
Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said the assessment was "highly exaggerated and part of an insidious propaganda campaign."
"Pakistan's strategic program was modest (and) aimed at maintaining a credible minimum deterrence to ensure national security," the official asserted (Press Trust of India/Hindustan Times, March 7).
The group also found that in excess of 300 financial entities across the planet conduct business with companies that produce or sustain nuclear weapons and their delivery systems, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.
"Banks and other financial institutions should be called upon to do the right thing ... by divesting from the immoral nuclear arms industry," former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu said in an introduction to the report (Emily Alpert, Los Angeles Times, March 7).