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Pakistan Ready To Test Bomb

There may be few moves left to stop Pakistan from testing a nuclear bomb. Public opinion in Pakistan in favor of a blast, is running high in the wake of the Group of Eight Summit that produced no sanctions against India.

Last week, India surprised the world by conducting five nuclear tests in the Rajasthan Desert. Using exclusive CBS Evening News satellite imagery, zoom-in to one of the nuclear blast craters near Pokhran, India. (Indian Government photograph of crater.)

Even as Pakistan has come under heavy international pressure not to respond to India's nuclear test with one of their own, the country's leaders are facing equally intense domestic pressure to detonate a nuclear device.

"The question now is, not if, but when," Pakistani Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan told CBS News Correspondent John Roberts. Khan said all the preparations are in place.

"It's like putting a key in a lock," Khan said. "That close."

It will take substantial incentives to pull Pakistan back from the brink. The government rejected America's offer, saying it was something the prime minister would have been ridiculed for accepting.

President Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair telephoned the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last night, offering political and economic benefits if he showed restraint.

"To move back from the brink would have to ensure our security interest," Khan said.

At the very least, the president's discussions with the prime minister may have bought some time. The Pakistani government will only make a decision to test after all its options have been weighed and it wants to see what President Clinton can come up with.