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'Surprised', Pakistan summons US envoy for official demarche over Biden's remarks on nuclear assets

Pak summons US envoy: After a hiatus of a few years, Pakistan and the US have started to re-engage. Over the past few weeks, Bilawal met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa met with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

PTI Reported By: PTI New Delhi Published on: October 15, 2022 19:42 IST
US President Joe Biden said Pakistan is the most dangerous
Image Source : PTI US President Joe Biden said Pakistan is the most dangerous nation in the world to have nuclear assets

Pakistan summons US envoy: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday said Pakistan is "surprised" by the remarks of US President Joe Biden's on the country's nuclear assets and summoned America's Ambassador Donald Blome for an official demarche.

Addressing a Democratic Party congressional campaign committee reception on Thursday in Washington, US President Joe Biden has said that Pakistan is “one of the most dangerous nations in the world” as it has “nuclear weapons without cohesion”. He made the remarks in the context of the changing geopolitical situation globally.

Rejecting Biden's comments, Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal at a press conference here said that Pakistan was following global standards.

“As far as the safety and security of Pakistan's nuclear assets are concerned, we meet all, each and every international standard in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” he said.

Bilawal said he discussed the issue of Biden's statement with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and "we have summoned the Ambassador of the United States to Pakistan Donald Blome to the Foreign Office of Pakistan for an official demarche”.

The foreign minister who visited the US last month and held several high-level meetings expressed surprise at Biden's statement, which he said, could be due to lack of communication between the two sides due to strain in the ties in the near past.

“I am surprised by the remarks of President Biden. I believe this is exactly the sort of misunderstanding that is created when there is a lack of engagement," Bilawal said. He said Pakistan has embarked on a “journey of engagement” and just marked the 75th anniversary of bilateral engagements with the US.

“If this was such a concern, I imagine it would've been raised in that meeting with me," he said. Bilawal also said that questions should be raised about the security of Indian nukes, which accidentally fired a missile into Pakistan on March 9 this year.

Biden's remarks came amidst an apparent warmth in ties as the US and Pakistan have held several high level exchanges since the new government led by Sharif took over in April after the ouster of Imran Khan.

A formerly warm relationship between the US and Pakistan frayed due to Pakistan’s support for the Taliban in Afghanistan and the presence of large numbers of Jihadi militants on its soil. Americans have been particularly upset with Pakistan since 2011, after al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was found and killed there.

After a hiatus of a few years, Pakistan and the US have started to re-engage. Over the past few weeks, Bilawal met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa met with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Khan, who blamed the US for his ouster, wasted no time in blasting Washington and also holding the Shehbaz Sharif government responsible for Biden’s controversial statement. “I have 2 Qs on this: 1. On what info has @POTUS reached this unwarranted conclusion on our nuclear capability when, having been PM, I know we have one of the most secure nuclear command & control systems? 2. Unlike the US which has been involved in wars across the world, when has Pakistan shown aggression esp post-nuclearisation?,” he tweeted.

“Equally imp, this Biden statement shows total failure of the Imported govt's foreign policy & its claims of ‘reset of relations with US’? Is this the ‘reset’? This govt has broken all records for incompetence,” he added. He said the new government would not only destroy the economy but also compromise the security of the country.

Also Read: Joe Biden calls Pakistan 'most dangerous nation in world'; says it holds nuclear weapons without cohesion

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