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Pakistan has N-capable missile, scientist says

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The scientist who conducted Pakistan's nuclear test program said in remarks aimed at arch-foe India on Monday that the nation had a new missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Samar Mobarik Mand's remarks were published in the Nation newspaper 48 hours after Pakistan said it had carried out its sixth and last of a series of tests to demonstrate its nuclear capability against perceived Indian "threats."Mand said Shaheen-1, a 438-mile-range missile based on solid fuel and that could carry nuclear weapons, was ready for testing.

"It has been mounted on the launching pad and awaits a go-ahead from the government," Mand said. "We have ground tested the missile, which shows maximum accuracy," Mand added.

The interview was published as Pakistan's key Karachi stock exchange fell by almost 10 percent to hit an all-time low out of fear that sanctions imposed because of the tests would drive away foreign investors.

Dealers said a slide in prices of Pakistani Global Depositary Receipts were probably the first sign of a flight from Pakistan of foreign cash - a response to fears that that the region was now in an arms race and a major risk.

Investors were anxiously awaiting details of a promised austerity program by the government and pledges to boost agricultural and other output to counter sanctions.

By midday the KSE-100 index was down by more than 9 percent and falling, dealers said, to unplumbed depths. The index, which was around 1,400 in October, was below 1,000 points.

Dealers said the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan had raised the specter of a costly arms race in the region with the likelihood that development spending would suffer and that economic growth was bound to slow.

Mand said a 1,250-mile-range missile Shaheen-2 was being developed and would be ready for testing within a year.

Pakistan has yet to officially release data on its tests, but Mand told The News the first five nuclear blasts were in the range of 40 to 45 kilotons and the sixth on Saturday was between 15 and 18 kilotons.

"These devices were advanced and sophisticated with minimum size and weight," he added.

India has cast doubt about the number of tests carried out by Pakistan, saying that at most three took place. Pakistani officials point out that the prime minister said there were five and a sixth was officially announced by the Foreign Ministry.

According to foreign media reports, Pakistan had only three devices to test and tested all of them.