ISLAMABAD - Pakistan received a much-needed support from the United States over the nuclear programme amid the delay in revival of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal and the looming economic crises. Yesterday, the United States Central Command, commonly known as the Centcom, commended the Pakistan Army leadership as well as the country’s nuclear program. In a meeting of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, US Centcom Commander General Michael E. Kurilla was questioned about Pakistan’s nuclear program and its stability. In response, the General spoke about his longstanding and close military relationship with Pakistan and army chief General Asim Munir. General Kurilla said Pakistan’s nuclear system was safe and the US was satisfied with it. The head of the US Central Command said he had confidence in the security procedures of Pakistan’s nuclear program. He mentioned his good relations with General Asim Munir. To a question from Senator Angus King about his assessment of the stability and long-term prospects of stability of Pakistan’s nuclear program, the general remarked that presently the budget of Pakistan, its financial conditions and the political situation are the concerns right now.
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A senior Pakistani diplomat said that although the nuclear programme was being unnecessarily linked to the IMF deal, the statement from the US at this time was encouraging. “The US confidence regarding the nuclear programme is a good response to India and company,” he said. Another diplomat said Pakistan was happy to note the Centcom chief’s statement. “This supports our position that nuclear programme is safe,” he added. Yesterday, Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar blamed “technical reasons” behind the delay in the stalled IMF programme’s revival, claiming that no strings were attached regarding the country’s nuclear programme to the loan. Senior Pakistan People’s Party leader Senator Raza Rabbani had raised concerns about whether the delay in the staff-level agreement with the Fund has anything to do with the country’s strategic assets, including the nuclear and missile programmes.
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In response to Rabbani’s concerns, Dar assured that the coalition government would not compromise on its nuclear programme for reviving the stalled IMF loan facility.