Politicians hit back at Biden over off-the-cuff remarks

PML-N supremo says Pakistan’s nuclear programme is in no way a threat to any country


​ Our Correspondents October 15, 2022
Former premier Nawaz Sharif responds to US President Joe Biden. Photo: File

GUJRANWALA/ ISLAMABAD:

Responding to US President Joe Biden's statement on Pakistan possessing nuclear arms "without any cohesion", former prime minister Nawaz Sharif hit back saying the country was “perfectly capable of safeguarding its national interest whilst respecting international law".

In a tweet, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader - under whose premiership the country became a nuclear state in 1998 - said, “Our nuclear programme is in no way a threat to any country. Like all independent states, Pakistan reserves the right to protect its autonomy, sovereign statehood and territorial integrity.”

Biden, while addressing a Democratic congressional campaign committee on Thursday, had claimed Pakistan may be “one of the most dangerous nations in the world” as the country has “nuclear weapons without any cohesion”.
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.

Further, Federal Minister for Power Khurrum Dastgir said the command and control system of Pakistan was safe as international agencies had already acknowledged it.

Addressing a news conference at Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) office, he said the statement of US President Joe Biden about Pakistan was baseless.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister's Special Representative for Interfaith Harmony and Middle East Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi on Saturday termed the US president’s statement on Pakistan and its nuclear programme "irresponsible."

Ashrafi, who is also the chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC), told APP that Pakistan was a responsible country and its nuclear programme was safer than other countries in the world.

He said the PUC had expressed grave concerns on Biden's remarks regarding Pakistan and its nuclear programme, adding that such comments would not help in strengthening Pakistan-US relations.

He was of the view that the US president should retract his statement about Pakistan, immediately.

Ashrafi said the government's decision to summon the US ambassador to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was a step in the right direction, which was being supported and endorsed by the entire nation.

Hailing the decision to summon the US envoy at the Foreign Office, Ashrafi said, "This decision clearly demonstrates the message of Pakistan's independent and autonomous foreign and defence policies."

(With input from APP)

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