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Tuesday June 25, 2024

Pakistan to demarche US ambassador over Biden’s remark on nuclear assets

"If questions are to be raised then they should be over Indian nuclear weapons," Foreign Minister Bilawal says

By Web Desk
October 15, 2022

Pakistans Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari speaks during a press conference in Karachi on October 15, 2022. — AFP/File
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari speaks during a press conference in Karachi on October 15, 2022. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said Saturday that Pakistan has decided to summon the United States ambassador and hand him a demarche over President Joe Biden’s statement on Islamabad’s nuclear assets.

In a press conference, the foreign minister said: “We know how to safeguard our nuclear arsenal and they meet each and every international standard in accordance with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) as far as security and safety are concerned."

“Pakistan is adamant about ensuring its integrity and safety. If questions are to be raised then they should be over Indian nuclear weapons," the foreign minister said while calling out the Biden administration's dual standards.

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.

Pakistan may be 'one of the most dangerous nations'

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.

Imran Khan slams govt

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’?”