Vice-Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday asked Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dhar if the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had placed any demand, asking the government to give up nuclear weapons, reported news agency IANS.
Qureshi said the government must clarify if the IMF has asked the government to get rid of its nuclear missile systems amid the ongoing talks between Pakistan and the IMF as a condition to secure an economic bailout from the acute financial crisis that the nation is facing.
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Earlier this week, Dar had informed the Senate that Pakistan would not compromise on its nuclear programme for reviving the stalled IMF loan facility, reported Geo News, as cited by IANS.
The Finance Minister was replying to Senator Rabbani’s concerns that he raised during a senate session. Rabbani had asked whether the IMF programme was being delayed to force the government into taking actions that were against the interest of Pakistan.
Reacting to his concerns, Dar said nobody has any right to dictate to “Pakistan what range of missiles and what nuclear weapons it can have”, reported IANS.
IANS quoted him as saying, “We have to have our own deterrence,”
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Former Foreign Minister Qureshi said, “This statement has created a new crisis in the country.”
He said, “The spokeswoman says that talks about nuclear power are not on the agenda of talks with any country or financial institution. Then why did Ishaq Dar make this statement on the Senate floor,” reported IANS.
Qureshi further asked, “Tell us if IMF asked you for a missile system, Ishaq Dar. Why did you make such a big statement on the floor of the House.”
He also said that no one has the right to talk to us about our nuclear programme.
“Our nuclear [weapons] are for our defence,” said Qureshi.
He also said that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani has also asked Prime Minister (Shehbaz Sharif) to issue a policy clarification on nuclear weapons and missile systems in Pakistan.