RAWALPINDI: Without naming PTI Chairman Imran Khan or referring his recent interview, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC) General Nadeem Raza on Monday said “unnecessary and unfounded views” on Pakistan’s nuclear programme should be avoided, adding that Pakistan is a responsible nuclear power.
According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), his comments came during a keynote address delivered at a seminar on “Regional Environment and Imperatives of Security” at the NUST Institute of Policy Studies (NIPS) in Islamabad.
The seminar was attended by students, academics and distinguished experts from different parts of the country, the ISPR said.
Commenting on the regional security environment, General Raza, who is also the deputy chairman of the National Command Authority (NCA), reiterated the significance of Pakistan’s nuclear capability as the guarantor of deterrence and defence of Pakistan.
“Pakistan’s nuclear programme enjoys across-the-board support of all political parties and the people of Pakistan. The NCA, with all its political and military leadership, stands firm for the strategic programme,” he said.
He asserted that national security is indivisible and assured that under no circumstances shall Pakistan allow a compromise on its nuclear program. “Pakistan is a confident and responsible nuclear power. It pursues the policy of full-spectrum deterrence within the precincts of credible minimum deterrence. Our national security and safety architecture meets all national and international obligations and caters for all kinds of scenarios.”
He went on to say that as a norm in other nuclear-capable nations, “unnecessary and unfounded views on the strategic program should be avoided”. “When necessary, NCA is the right forum to issue specific responses or views.”
The statement by the top military official comes after PTI Chairman Imran Khan had urged the military establishment to make the “right decisions”. In an interview with anchorperson Sami Abraham for Bol News programme ‘Tajzia’, the PTI chief had warned that if Pakistan were to lose its nuclear deterrence, it would fragment into “three pieces”.
Imran had gone on to say that the current political situation was a problem for the country as well as the establishment, which has consistently claimed it is neutral as the country goes through political upheaval since the filing of the no-confidence motion against the former premier on March 8.
“If the establishment doesn’t make the right decisions then I can assure [you] in writing that [before everyone else] they and the army will be destroyed because what will become of the country if it goes bankrupt,” he said.
“Pakistan is going towards a default. If that happens then which institution will be [worst] hit? The army. After it is hit, what concession will be taken from us? Denuclearisation,” Imran said. “If the right decisions aren’t made at this time then the country is going towards suicide,” he added.
Politicians from the ruling coalition had castigated Imran for his remarks while Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had accused him of “making naked threats against the country” and deeming him unfit for public office.