LAHORE: Responding to the Indian army chief’s ‘nuclear bluff’ assertion, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said that the statement proves that “India is an irresponsible nuclear state”.
Earlier, India’s Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had said the force was ready to call Pakistan’s “nuclear bluff” and cross the border to carry out any operation if asked by the New Delhi government.
“We will call the [nuclear] bluff of Pakistan. If we will have to really confront the Pakistanis, and a task is given to us, we are not going to say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons. We will have to call their nuclear bluff,” he had added.
Ahsan Iqbal, while speaking to media in Lahore on Sunday, said that nuclear powers across the world show responsible behaviour but the statement proves that India is an “irresponsible nuclear power”.
“Nuclear weapons are not pistols or slingshots, they are weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, people expect nuclear powers to behave responsibly,” he said.
Iqbal raised questions over the possibility of Indian inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, given the “irresponsible” statements made.
“What do the Indian army chief and [US President Donald] Trump’s statements indicate?” he asked. “That external attempts are being made to pressure Pakistan.”
In the face of such attempts, it is necessary that there is internal unity, Iqbal stressed.
He further said the country couldn’t make progress without enduring peace and stability.
The minister said the government was making every possible effort to not let anyone play havoc with democratic polity, stressing that holding the elections of the Senate on the dot was the requirement of democracy and part of democratic process.
Commenting on the Kasur incident, Iqbal said efforts were being made to bring the culprit involved in the rape and murder of the minor girl to book.
He lamented that some politicians were using the incident for political gains and urged them not to do politics over the issue.
Earlier on Saturday, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor, responding to the Indian army chief’s statement, had said that such irresponsible statements from a person of a responsible stature are deplorable.
Speaking to a news channel, the DG ISPR had said, “We believe COAS is a very responsible appointment, and four-star is a rank with age-long experience and maturity.”
The Foreign Office had also responded to the Indian army chief’s statement, saying Gen Rawat’s “threatening” remark is “representative of a sinister mindset that has taken hold of India”.
“These are not issues to be taken lightly. There must not be any misadventure based on [a] miscalculation,” FO spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal had said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif had said that India may test Pakistan’s resolve if that is what it wishes to do.
“Very irresponsible statement by Indian Army Chief, not befitting his office. [This] amounts to an invitation for a nuclear encounter,” he tweeted. “If that is what they desire, they are welcome to test our resolve. The general’s doubt would swiftly be removed, inshallah.”