Pakistan happy as CENTCOM chief shows confidence on N-security

The Nation  |  Mar 21, 2023

 Pakistan happy as CENTCOM chief shows confidence on N-security
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.

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