Military rebuffs US concerns over safety, security of Pakistan’s nukes


Reposes full confidence in nuclear command and control mechanism | COAS reiterates resolve to defend motherland against all threats
The Pakistan Army’s Corps Commanders have expressed full confidence in country’s robust nuclear command control mechanism, saying Islamabad has taken all steps necessary to buttress its nuclear atomic regime.
This was the outcome of the 252nd Corps Commanders’ Conference which was held at General Headquarters (GHQ) with Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in the chair.
According to a readout of the meeting released by the military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military high command undertook a comprehensive review of the prevailing internal and external security situation and operational preparedness of the army.
The forum was apprised of Army’s assistance to civil administration for relief and rehabilitation efforts in the flood-affected areas and post-flood situation particularly in Sindh and Balochistan.
While expressing satisfaction over operational preparedness of the formations, the COAS reiterated Pakistan Army’s resolve to defend the motherland against all threats. The forum reposed full confidence in Pakistan’s robust nuclear command and control structure and security arrangements related to country’s strategic assets.
As a responsible nuclear weapon state, Pakistan has taken all measures necessary to strengthen its nuclear security regime, at par with international best practices, the forum was informed. The COAS lauded formations’ operational readiness and sustained efforts during flood relief duties.
The reassurance about the nuclear safety system came after US President Joe Biden remarks about Pakistan’s atomic weapons. The United States, however, had said that it had confidence in Pakistan’s ability to control its nuclear arsenal after President Joe Biden expressed alarm, leading Islamabad to summon the US ambassador.
“The United States is confident of Pakistan’s commitment and its ability to secure its nuclear assets,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.
“The US has always viewed a secure and prosperous Pakistan as critical to US interests and, more broadly, the US values our long-standing cooperation with Pakistan,” he said.
Earlier, President Joe Biden made the off-the-cuff remarks on Pakistan’s nuclear program while at a private Democratic Party fundraiser in California where he began to discuss challenges facing President Xi Jinping of China, a close ally of Pakistan.
“And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion,” Biden said, according to a White House transcript. Pakistan — proud to be the only declared nuclear power in the Islamic world — summoned US Ambassador Donald Blome to lodge a protest.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif tweeted that Pakistan was a “responsible nuclear state” and that it takes safety measures “with the utmost seriousness.” US officials have long privately voiced alarm about nuclear safety if the political situation changes in Pakistan, whose military and intelligence apparatus has assisted Afghanistan’s Taliban.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that Biden’s remarks should not hurt relations, noting that the president was not speaking at an official function. But Bhutto Zardari, who recently visited Washington, called for more interaction, with Biden showing little interest in personally engaging his Pakistani counterparts.
Patel noted, however, that USAID chief Samantha Power and State Department Counsellor Derek Chollet have both visited since devastating floods hit Pakistan. “This is a relationship we view as important and it’s something that we’re going to continue to remain deeply engaged in,” he said. =DNA