While trying to justify the restriction imposed on the foreign visit of ‘Dawn’ journalist Cyril Almeida, Pakistan Interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan seems to have inadvertently hinted that Islamabad might consider selling of ‘nuclear knowledge’ to overcome the financial crisis the country is faced with.
That Pakistan is facing a severe financial crisis is an open secret with some reports in the local media suggesting that the Nawaz Sharif government has decided to mortgage PTV and Radio Pakistan buildings, after motorways and airports, in order to secure loans.
Talking to media persons on Thursday, the Pakistani Interior minister said, “Someday I call one of you, my friend, and suppose tell you that a meeting has been conducted and it has been decided that Pakistan is under huge economic crunch and therefore, it will sell its nuclear knowledge. Now, you tell me, you are a journalist, but you are a Pakistani too, wouldn’t you be able to understand that what could be the implications for Pakistan if I publish this news?”
Pakistani government had put Cyril Almeida on the country's Exit Control List (ECL) prohibiting him from leaving Pakistan after he filed a report in ‘Dawn’ on October 6 revealing the rift between civil and military leadership over tackling 'terrorists' operating from the country.
The report revealed that after an acrimonious verbal confrontation between Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) General Rizwan Akhtar and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif during an all party meeting on October 3, the Pakistan government headed by Nawaz Sharif warned Pakistan Army to either act against militants operating from Pakistani soil or be ready to face international isolation.
Referring to Cyril Almeida’s report, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said, “An attempt has been made to adversely impact a critical national security paradigm, so there should be an inquiry… Indian media used the report, saying that publication of the story verifies the Indian narrative of Pakistani dealings with non-state actors.”