Saturday, October 15, 2022
KARACHI: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said Saturday that Pakistan has decided to summon the US ambassador to the Foreign Office to give him a demarche over President Joe Biden’s controversial statement regarding the country’s nuclear arsenal safety.
“We are fully capable of safeguarding our nuclear weapons, and they meet every international standard in accordance with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) as far as security and safety is concerned,” Bilawal said addressing a news conference.
“Pakistan is adamant about ensuring its integrity and safety. Security questions, if any, should be raised on the nuclear weapons of India that recently fired a missile into Pakistani territory by accident."
FM Bilawal said he had discussed President Biden's statement with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in detail and hoped this incident would not affect Pakistan-US relations negatively.
“This is not only irresponsible and unsafe but raises serious concerns about the safety of nuclear-capable countries. Biden's remarks came as a surprise. I believe such misunderstandings are a result of a lack of engagement,” the foreign minister said.
"We will make sure our engagements with the US continue in the right direction," Bilawal said.
On the sensitivity of Biden's remarks, Bilawal, however, added it was not an official function and it wasn’t an address to the parliament or an interview.
“It was a fundraiser. It was an informal conversation in which this sentence was used so it should be [looked at] in this manner, I think we will look at this statement in this way,” he said.
However, he warned that at the same time the nation should avoid churning out conspiracy theories.
Bilawal's presser came hours after US President Biden said Pakistan may be “one of the most dangerous nations in the world” as the country has “nuclear weapons without any cohesion”.
The US president made the comments while addressing a Democratic congressional campaign committee reception on Thursday.
“And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion,” Biden was quoted as saying in a transcript of the address, published on the White House’s website.
Biden’s remarks were made with regard to the changing geopolitical situation globally, as he highlighted that the world was changing rapidly, and countries were rethinking their alliances.
“And the truth of the matter is — I genuinely believe this — that the world is looking to us. Not a joke. Even our enemies are looking to us to figure out how we figure this out, what we do,” he added.
In response to the remarks, PTI Chairman Imran Khan held the incumbent rulers responsible, saying it shows the total failure of the "imported government’s" foreign policy.
Terming the US president’s comments as an “unwarranted conclusion” of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, the former premier asked about the information Biden got to make such a statement on the country’s capability, and added: “….having been PM, I know we have one of the most secure nuclear command & control systems”.
“Unlike the US which has been involved in wars across the world, when has Pakistan shown aggression esp post-nuclearisation?” he further asked. “Is this the ‘reset’?”