ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar promised on Thursday that there would be no compromise on the country’s nuclear and missile programme.
He was responding to Senator Raza Rabbani’s questions in the Senate about delay in signing of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Rabbani regretted that the upper House of the Parliament had “neither before nor today been taken into confidence on what are the conditionalities of the IMF” for extending the loan facility to Pakistan. He termed the delay “absolutely out of the ordinary, extraordinary” saying: “The question arises […] if the delay is being made because of some sort of pressure to be exerted on Pakistan’s nuclear [programme].”
Rabbani called the events in Lahore a mockery of the Constitution and the rule of law and wanted the parliament to show its reaction to it. “If the delay in the IMF agreement is due to pressure on Pakistan’s nuclear or Pakistan’s strategic relationship with China or if an imperialist power wants its presence in the region,” he asked.
He regretted that the parliament remained silent as the judiciary interfered in its internal proceedings. “Today, I will not talk about the establishment but follow Chairman Mao’s policy of internal criticism. We have made the parliament redundant by our actions. Why did we pass the Military Courts Act and became a rubber stamp for TTP talks?” he contended.
Rabbani criticised the recent statement by Zalmay Khalilzad, the former US special envoy for Afghanistan, and told him “to mind your own business”. Zalmay had emphasised the need for strategic and thoughtful actions to address Pakistan’s political, economic and security issues.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told the special session in categorical terms that there would be no compromise on the country’s nuclear and missile programmes. “Let me assure you that nobody is going to compromise anything on the nuclear or the missile programme of Pakistan… no way,” he added. The minister promised the moment the staff-level agreement and EFFP (Extended Fund Facility programme) was finalised, it would be placed on the website of the finance ministry. He made it clear that nobody had any right to tell Pakistan what range of missiles it could have and what nuclear weapons it could possess. “We have to have our own deterrence, as we represent the people of Pakistan and we have to guard our national interests,” he added.
Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif termed misleading speculations about Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programme very unfortunate. Taking to his twitter handle, he said: “Stringent, foolproof and multi-layered security safeguards, duly testified by the International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA), are in place.” He said Pakistan’s nuclear programme represented unwavering consensus of the nation and was for deterrence. Separately, a statement issued by the media wing of Prime Minister’s Office said that in the wake of recent statements, press releases, queries and various assertions regarding Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programme, being circulated on the social and print media, even a traditional routine visit of DG IAEA Rafael Mariano Grossi for peaceful nuclear programme was portrayed in negative spotlight. The statement emphasized that Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programme was a national asset, which is jealously guarded by the state. Complete programme is totally secure, foolproof and under no stress or pressure, whatsoever. “It continues to fully serve the purpose for which this capability was developed,” the statement added.