Pakistan to summon US Ambassador, issue demarche over Biden’s remarks

KARACHI — Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Saturday that Pakistan has summoned US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome for an official demarche following US President Joe Biden’s remarks about the country’s nuclear assets, media reports said.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi, he said: “I have discussed it with the Prime Minister and we have summoned the Ambassador of the United States to Pakistan Donald Blome to the Foreign Office of Pakistan for an official demarche,” Express Tribune reported.

“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 added.

Citing India’s accidental firing of a missile into Pakistan on March 9, the Pak Foreign Minister said: “As far as I’m concerned in our neighbourhood, if there is any question as to nuclear safety and security then those questions should be directed to our neighbour India who very recently, accidentally, fired a missile into Pakistani territory. That is not only irresponsible, that is not only unsafe but raises genuine concerns about the safety of nuclear-capable countries.”

“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. Luckily, we have embarked on a journey of engagement. We have just marked the 75th anniversary of our bilateral relations in a very engaging manner at the State Department, and the at level of Secretary of State and the Foreign Minister of Pakistan. If this was such a concern, I imagine that it would have been raised in that meeting with me,” he added, Express Tribune reported.

The statement by the Foreign Minister comes after President Biden said earlier that Pakistan may be “one of the most dangerous nations in the world” as the country has “nuclear weapons without any cohesion”, it was reported on Saturday.

The US President made the comments while addressing a Democratic congressional campaign committee reception on Thursday.

“And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion,” Biden was quoted as saying in a transcript of the address, published on the White House’s website. — (IANS)