EDITORIAL: The way Imran Khan commented on Pakistan nuclear assets in his recent interview with a TV channel didn’t sit well with a number of informed circles, particularly with the National Command Authority (NCA), which is the custodian of country’s nuclear assets as a weapon of deterrence and peace in the region.

The National Assembly also passed a resolution against the former prime minister, condemning the contents of his interview and urged the government to move the Supreme Court against him. The National Assembly is of the view that political rivalries should not be allowed to undermine national security by vested interest and ill-informed agencies and individuals. A strong exception to Khan’s unwarranted comment has been taken by the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) Gen Nadeem Raza, who is also deputy chairman of the NCA.

It is unthinkable that a person, who was prime minister of the country for almost four years and wants to be in that position again, is so unkindly to the country’s armed forces, doubts their determination to remain neutral in the ongoing political power struggle and questions its essential duty to ensure safety and security of Pakistan’s most potent war assets.

In his interview he said if the establishment — an expression that stands for military high command — did not “take the right decisions” then “take it from me in writing that country would break into three parts”. He also warned that once the country’s economy was harmed, it would default and the world powers would ask Pakistan to move towards denuclearization, which, he added, was the case with Ukraine in 1990s.

And, Imran Khan was utterly wrong both in expressing fear that foreign powers would force Pakistan’s denuclearization by exerting economic pressure and also in believing that the National Command Authority is amenable to pressures by the country’s political masters. Gen Raza was unequivocal in asserting that country’s nuclear programme is not in public domain for political positions for and against it.

People should know that “National Security is indivisible. Pakistan will not compromise on its nuclear programme”. And its safety mechanism is in line with national and international standards. He also informed his audience at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) that “Pakistan’s policy is full spectrum which is within the scope of reliable nuclear balance”.

Imran Khan also wrongly believed and said that Ukraine opted for denuclearization as it came under immense economic pressures. That was not the case. When Ukraine became independent in 1991 following disintegration of the Soviet Union into 15 states there were thousands of former Soviet nuclear warheads as well as hundreds of intercontinental ballistic missiles and bombers on its territory. Ukraine never possessed operational control of these weapons nor did it ever have an independent weapons arsenal but agreed to remove former Soviet weapons from its territory.

The process of transferring former Soviet arsenal began after Ukraine joined Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In 1992, Ukraine had signed the Lisbon Protocol. In those days a pervasive fear surrounding the collapse of the Soviet Union was the uncertain fate of its nuclear arsenal. By 2001, all nuclear weapons had been transferred to Russia to be dismantled and all launch silos decommissioned. By creating doubts about safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear programme the PTI chairman would be playing into the hands of countries like the United States who keep pestering Pakistan with a demand: denuclearize before the nuclear arsenal falls “into the hands of terrorists”.

Interestingly, Imran Khan’s approach to historic events is a curious blend of sheer enthusiasm and naivety. He must stop conducting himself in a way that shows a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgement.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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Dawood Jun 09, 2022 08:08pm
X PM Imran Khan is concerned with Economic collapse under new regime combination of 16 opposition parties with personal programmes to get relief out of their cases in NAB and making footing for next General Election by changing public constituencies as being discussed on social media.
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