The Vice Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Shah Mahmood Qureshi, on Sunday questioned Finance Minister Ishaq Dars statement on nuclear weapons in the Senate, demanding the Senator to clarify whether the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked Pakistan to give up its missile system, media reports said.
Addressing a press conference, Qureshi said that the Finance Minister is the ‘in-law’ of the ruling party and his statement on the floor of the Senate is important, Geo News reported .
“This statement has created a new crisis in the country,” said former Foreign Minister Qureshi, adding that the foreign office spokesperson had to clarify during her weekly press briefing, the report 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,” Qureshi questioned.
“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,” asked Qureshi, adding that no one has the right to ask us about our nuclear programme, Geo News reported.
“Our nuclear [weapons] are for our defence,” the PTI leader said, highlighting that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani has also asked Prime Minister (Shehbaz Sharif) to issue a policy statement on nuclear weapons.
Qureshi said that his successor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, should have issued a clarification.
Earlier this week, Dar had said in his address to the Senate that Pakistan would not compromise on its nuclear programme for reviving the stalled IMF loan facility, Geo News reported.
The Finance Minister’s comments came in response to Senator Rabbani’s concerns that he raised during a Senate session, wherein he asked whether the IMF programme was being delayed to force the government into resorting to moves that were against the state’s interests.
The Finance Minister said nobody has any right to dictate to “Pakistan what range of missiles and what nuclear weapons it can have.”
“We have to have our own deterrence,” he said, Geo News reported.