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Trump may mount pressure to limit Pak nuclear programme

By Ansar Abbasi
November 10, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The already pro-India America under Donald Trump is expected to pressurize Pakistan to limit its nuclear and strategic missile programme, which has been the urge of the Obama administration but it failed to achieve it because of Islamabad’s plain and unambiguous “No”.

During his pre-election campaign, Trump had spoken, a few times, negatively about Pakistan’s nuclear programme. Once he said that he would want US forces to stay in Afghanistan to ensure that Pak nukes do not go into the hands of extremists.

In an interview in April this year, Trump had termed Pakistan "a vital problem" for the United States (US) "because they have a thing called nuclear weapons", adding, "They have to get a better hold of the situation." Trump also hinted at seeking help from India and other nations to address the “problem” of nuclear-armed Pakistan.

What Trump had said about Pakistan’s nuclear and strategic programme, is already the policy of US administration which under Obama had pressed Pakistan to limit its nuclear and strategic missile programme. With Trump getting into the Oval Office, this pressure is expected to mount on Pakistan.

Sources said that during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s last year official visit to the United States, President Obama had asked the premier to limit its strategic defence programme. Nawaz Sharif was told that in case Pakistan cooperates and limits its strategic programme, Washington would consider recognizing Islamabad as a nuclear-weapon state. But it was not acceptable to Islamabad.

As already reported by this newspaper last year, the issue was bone of contention between the two countries even before the PM had landed in US. Such was the pressure that Pakistan had told the US administration of the possible cancellation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the US to counter Washington’s intent to seriously dent Islamabad’s nuclear and defence strategic programme.

Washington’s draft joint statement for the said visit which was shared with Islamabad for consent, days before the departure of the prime minister to the US, was found offensive by the Pakistani authorities. was also a need to send a message across the globe that Pakistan was a far better country in terms of economic activities and investment. Marriyum said that the PML-N government had crushed the menace of a terrorism to a great extent.

The minister substantiated her contention by pointing out that in 2013 alone, there had been 2,480 suicide attacks and terrorist hits, whereas these had now been reduced to 246 in 2016. She said that the energy crisis was about to end and power loadshedding had also been reduced by half and national economy was stable now. She said a safe, healthy and well-educated Pakistan was the incumbent government’s top priorities.

The minister said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam was also working while remaining close to her father and her politics was a manifestation of her maturity.

She said that special attention was being given to sharing details of CPEC with masses. She added it had also been decided to persistently impart training to employees of the state-owned entities and journalists. She insisted there was a need that journalists should abide by the code of conduct and noted in this context the academy of the ministry was being made active.

Earlier, she had exchange of views on various matters with journalists belonging to Jang and The News in a frank manner. Geo's Hamid Mir and PIO Rao Tehsin were also present on the occasion, besides senior officials from her ministry. She lauded provision of modern facilities to journalists of Jang and The News by the Jang Group.

The minister acknowledged the fact the Jang Group had set high standards of journalism. Tahir Khalil and Tariq Butt of The News apprised her of the performance of their respective organisations. 

Umar Cheema, Pervaiz Shaukat, Ayub Nasir, Mohi Shah, Waqar Gilani, Fakhar Durrani, Asim Javed, Tanvir Hashmi, Bilal Dar, Atif Sherazi, Asim Yasin, Muhammad Anis, Mumtaz Alvi, Sohail Khan, Khalid Mustafa, Usman Manzoor and Israr Khan were also present on the occasion.