The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Saturday handed a “strong” demarche to US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome following President Joe Biden’s “misleading” remarks over Islamabad’s nuclear programme.

Acting Foreign Secretary Jauhar Saleem called in the US ambassador to deliver the demarche, the ministry said, adding that Pakistan’s disappointment and concern were conveyed to the US envoy on the unwarranted remarks.

The remarks, a statement from the ministry mentioned, were not based on ground reality or facts. 

The secretary made it clear that Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and its impeccable stewardship of the nuclear program and adherence to global standards and international best practices was well acknowledged, including by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“It was essential to maintain the positive trajectory of Pakistan-US relations and the close cooperation between the two sides to build regional and global peace,” the ministry added.

The development comes after Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly protested against Biden’s controversial remarks.

The prime minister, in a statement earlier today, said: “Pakistan rejects the remarks reportedly made by the US President, which are factually incorrect and misleading.” 

PM Shehbaz said over the past decades, Pakistan has proven to be the most responsible nuclear state, wherein its nuclear programme is managed through a technically sound and foolproof command and control system.

He added that Pakistan has also consistently demonstrated responsible stewardship of its nuclear-weapons capability, marked by a very strong commitment to global standards, including those of the IAEA on non-proliferation, safety, and security.

The prime minister said that the real threat to international peace and security is posed by ultra-nationalism, violation of human rights in regions that are struggling against illegal occupation, violation of global norms by some states, and repeated nuclear security incidents.

Arms race among leading nuclear weapon states and the introduction of new security constructs that disturb the regional balance also pose a threat to peace, he said.

PM Shehbaz said that Pakistan and the US have a long history of a friendly and mutually beneficial relationship and it was imperative that the ties remain unhindered.

“At a time, when the world is confronted by huge global challenges, it is critically important that genuine and durable efforts are made to recognize the real potential of the Pakistan-US relationship while avoiding unnecessary comments,” he said.

The prime minister said that it was Pakistan’s sincere desire to cooperate with the US to promote regional peace and security.

BILAWAL: Hours before the prime minister’s statement, FM Bilawal confirmed that Pakistan would summon the US ambassador to the Foreign Office and give him a demarche.

“We are fully capable of safeguarding our nuclear weapons, and they meet every international standard in accordance with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) as far as security and safety is concerned,” Bilawal said.

“Pakistan is adamant about ensuring its integrity and safety. Security questions, if any, should be raised on the nuclear weapons of India that recently fired a missile into Pakistani territory by accident.”

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