Pakistan denied Saturday as baseless and malicious a U.S. news report it tried to buy sophisticated furnaces for use in making nuclear weapons.

The Foreign Ministry said no Pakistani agency has contacted any U.S. firm for such purpose and no orders have been placed.The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Pakistan tried at least three times this year through intermediaries in Europe and North America to purchase high-temperature furnaces that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.

The newspaper said it obtained documents that were furnished to Bush administration officials and congressional investigators that showed Pakistan tried to purchase two high temperature furnaces, which are made by the Consarc Corp. of Rancocas, N.J.

The Foreign Ministry blamed elements and groups in the United States who were trying to create and foster doubts about Pakistan's peaceful nuclear program.

Pakistan has long been suspected of trying to acquire nuclear weapons technology to maintain a balance of power with India, its foe in three wars. India exploded a nuclear device in 1974.

Islamabad has denied reports it is using a nuclear enrichment facility at Kahuta, about 25 miles east of the capital, to build a nuclear bomb but it has refused to allow internationalinspection of the plant.

There are proposals in the U.S. Congress to cut off about $600 million in annual aconomic and military aid to enforce U.S. policies against nuclear weapons proliferation.