ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday reiterated that it has acquired nuclear deterrence in the interest of peace, security and stability of the region and its strategic assets are completely safe and secure. Reacting to a book published from London titled “Biggest Threat to World Peace,” Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said at the weekly news briefing here that the book contains baseless and malicious allegations.
She firmly rejected the allegations and said contents of the book are re-hash of often repeated assertions prompted by biased motives. She said certain people still find it difficult to accept that Pakistan has acquired nuclear deterrence.The spokesperson pointed out that these people refuse to recognize that Pakistan was not the first to introduce nuclear weapons in South Asia. The strategic balanced in the region was disturbed by Indian nuclear test in 1974.
She said outlandish behaviour of such elements only brings into sharp focus their prejudice against Pakistan. She said in their hostility the authors of the book have gone beyond the issue of proliferation to malign Pakistan and its leadership. Such people need to know that Pakistan is a progressive, moderate and vibrant society with expanding economy and it is anchor of stability in the region. With reference to threat of terrorism, she said, the authors should know that in addressing this contemporary challenge Pakistan is playing an active role. In this regard Pakistan has same concerns and objectives as the rest of the world.
The spokesperson rejected speculations about the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Pakistan’s strategic assets are completely safe and secure and highest level of institutional protection is accorded to them. Pakistan’s strategic assets are under strong multi-layered decision-making, organisational, administrative and command and control structure. Pakistan also has in place export control that conform to the most stringent international standards. To a question she said Pakistan’s principal concerned is to keep its defence strong and un-assailable. Without getting into arms race, Pakistan will take all steps required to maintain credible deterrence and strong defence capability.
Asked to comment on remarks of former CIA chief about Dr. A.Q. Khan, the spokesperson said if an individual is being condemned for contributing to Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence, then there are many people in many countries who are guilty of this crime. She said there are people who see nuclear weapons as a threat to the civilization and if we agree with them then Pakistan has not committed the original sin. To a question she said Pakistan not only want Jammu and Kashmir to be nuclear weapons free zone but also a de-militarized zone.
Responding to a question about progress made in the composite dialogue p;rocess, the spokesperson said presently fourth round of talks are underway. The two countries expect a review meeting of the Foreign Secretaries followed by Foreign Ministers meeting. She said Kashmir is not just being discussed in the context of composite dialogue process but also at various other levels. About reports that the Foreign Minister would be leading Pakistan’s delegation to the UN General Assembly, she said there is election season in Pakistan and there is no event in New York that particularly requires the presence of the head of the state or the government.
To a question the spokesperson said Pakistan is in touch with the OIC over the issue of publication of a blasphemous caricature by a Swedish newspaper. She said Pakistan condemns this in strongest possible terms and the Swedish Charge d’Affaires was summoned to the Foreign Office to lodge a strong protest. He was asked to make sure that this is not repeated. She pointed out that the Swedish Prime Minister has offered regrets though these are short of apology.
She said Pakistan doesn’t accept the argument that people are free to express their views. She said freedom of expression doesn’t mean injuring sentiments of others. She told a questioner that Pakistan is in touch with the Canadian Government to seek reinstallation of the Quaid’s monument in Toronto, which was vandalized. To another question about the need to engage Taliban, she said a sub-committee was formed by the joint peace jirga of Pakistan and Afghanistan and it is for the committee to decide who to engage. The spokesperson welcomed progress in talks between Iran and IAEA and said Pakistan has always been emphasizing the need for diplomatic and negotiated settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue. Pakistan is gratified that IAEA and Iran are engaged and are making progress.-SANAA