The US president said Pakistan is one of the “most dangerous” nations to have “nuclear weapons without cohesion.”
Pakistan’s foreign minister says the US ambassador to the country has been summoned after President Joe Biden said Pakistan “may be one of the more dangerous” countries of the world that had “nuclear weapons without any cohesion”.
Biden, 79, made the comments in a speech at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reception on Thursday, in which he also touched on the war in Ukraine, China and domestic affairs.
Speaking in the context of China and his relationship with President Xi Jinping, Biden said: “This is a guy [Xi Jinping] who understands what he wants but has a huge, huge variety of problems. How do we handle that? How do we handle that in relation to what’s going on in Russia? And what I think is perhaps one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion”.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said during a news conference in the southern port city of Karachi on Saturday that he was “shocked” by Biden’s statement. “I think this is exactly the kind of misunderstanding that is created when there is a lack of commitment,” he added.
“If there is any doubt about nuclear safety, then they should turn to our neighbor India, which very recently accidentally fired a missile at Pakistani territory,” Bhutto-Zardari said, citing the launch of a supersonic missile at Pakistan on March 9. .
The 34-year-old said he did not believe the decision to summon Ambassador Donald Blome would negatively affect Islamabad’s relations with the United States.
“We will continue with the positive trajectory of commitments that we are having so far,” he said.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also rejected Biden’s comments, saying his country was a “responsible nuclear state.”
“We are proud that our nuclear assets have the best safeguards according to IAEA requirements. We take these security measures with the utmost seriousness. Let no one have any doubts,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, when asked about Biden’s comments, said the president “believes a secure and prosperous Pakistan to be critical to the interests of the United States.” ”.
The controversy came just over a week after Pakistan’s military chief, General Qamar Bajwa, made a trip to the US and held high-level meetings with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. , and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
Additionally, last month, Sharif thanked Biden for standing up and urging the international community to help the South Asian nation recover from devastating floods that have affected an estimated 30 million people.
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday condemned Biden’s comments, saying the US president had reached an “unwarranted conclusion.”
“[H]Having been prime minister, I know we have one of the most secure nuclear command and control systems,” he tweeted.
“Unlike the United States, which has been involved in wars around the world, when has Pakistan shown aggression, especially after nuclearization?”
I have 2 questions about this: 1. What information does @POTUS come to this unwarranted conclusion about our nuclear capabilities when, having been Prime Minister, I know that we have one of the most secure nuclear command and control systems? 2. Unlike the US, which has been involved in wars. https://t.co/nkIrlekBxQ
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 15, 2022
Khan said Biden’s statement showed that the current Pakistani government, led by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, was a “total failure” in foreign policy and “its claims of ‘restoring relations with the United States’.”
Sharif’s brother and former prime minister also criticized the US president’s remarks, calling Pakistan a “responsible nuclear state.”
“Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state that is perfectly capable of safeguarding its national interest by abiding by international law and practice,” Nawaz Sharif said on Twitter.
Over the past decade, Pakistan has steadily turned to its regional ally China for its defense and economic needs, resulting in a gradual cooling of its relationship with Washington.
The relationship between the two nuclear-armed nations worsened when Washington accused Islamabad of harboring Taliban leaders. Pakistan has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Khan was ousted from power in April after an opposition alliance tabled a no-confidence motion against his government. The former cricketer-turned-politician has accused the United States of colluding with the opposition.