Biden’s scathing remarks came at a private Democratic Party reception in Los Angeles in course of his assessment of the global geo-political situation in the context of US troubles with Russia and China.
“I’ve spent more time with Xi Jinping than any person in the world — 78 hours’ worth… I’ve traveled 17,000 miles with him….This is a guy who understands what he wants but has an enormous, enormous array of problems. How do we handle that? How do we handle that relative to what’s going on in Russia? And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion,” Biden said at a fundraiser for Congressional Democrats, according to a White House transcript.
Remarkably, Biden’s trenchant remarks highlighting Islamabad’s dodgy nukes came days after his administration okayed a $ 450 million refurbishing package for Pakistan’s F-16s, one of its nuclear weapons delivery options. The comments also followed a week of US-Pakistan engagement that involved the country’s top general Asif Bajwa and its foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto, both of whom were in Washington in an effort to reset ties with the US that have gone downhill over the past few years.
The US President’s remarks triggered a hysterical reaction in Pakistan with the country leaders, analysts, and TV anchors going ballistic about what they see as Washington’s war-mongering and Pakistan’s safe and secure nuclear arsenal.
“Let me reiterate unequivocally: Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and we are proud that our nuclear assets have the best safeguards as per IAEA requirements. We take these safety measures with the utmost seriousness. Let no one have any doubts,” Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif tweeted.
Let me reiterate unequivocally: Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and we are proud that our nuclear assets ha… https://t.co/8pkEzFc4y5
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) 1665839716000
In a separate press release, he said the real threat to international peace and security was posed by “ultra-nationalism, violation of human rights in regions that are struggling against illegal occupation, violation of global norms by some states, repeated nuclear security incidents, arms race among leading nuclear weapon states and introduction of new security constructs that disturb the regional balance.”
“Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state that is perfectly capable of safeguarding its national interest whilst respecting international law and practices. Our nuclear program is in no way a threat to any country. Like all independent states, Pakistan reserves the right to protect its autonomy, sovereign statehood and territorial integrity,” his brother Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister, tweeted.
It was not immediately clear if Biden’s observation came from any new US assessment about Pakistan’s stability and that of its nuclear weapons, or whether the lack of cohesion he referred to pertained to the country’s politics or its nuclear arsenal. The US President often makes discursive digressions at party gatherings, and his more recent unscripted critiques involve developments in Italy and Hungary where right-wing forces have come to the forefront.
But Pakistan’s political instability has become a headache for Washington, particularly after it was dragged into the power struggle between the Sharif brothers and Imran Khan, who feels he was deposed by the country’s military and the brothers working with the US.
Khan too lashed out at Biden’s remarks, but his reaction included a snide reference to Sharif’s “imported government,” that implied it was supported by Washington.
“I have 2 Qs on this (Biden’s remark): 1. On what info has@POTUS reached this unwarranted conclusion on our nuclear capability when, having been PM, I know we have one of the most secure nuclear command & control systems? 2. Unlike the US which has been involved in wars across the world, when has Pakistan shown aggression esp post-nuclearisation? Equally imp, this Biden statement shows total failure of Imported govt’s foreign policy & its claims of “reset of relations with US”? Is this the “reset”?This govt has broken all records for incompetence,” Khan tweeted.
Supporters of Sharif’s brothers and Imran Khan have brought their political scrap to literally to Washington’s doorstep. On a visit to Washington DC this week to cadge more money from the west, Pakistan’s finance minister Ishaq Dar was greeted at the airport with loud accusations of being a “liar” and a “thief,” ostensibly by a Khan supporter. While Dar responded by shouting “YOU are a thief,” one of his aides bellowed, “Don’t shout. I will f**k you, you motherf**ker! You don’t know who I am!”
The exchange scorched social media bringing more infamy to Pakistan, which has struggled to clean up its international image. There have been several instances of Pakistani officials and ministers being attacked abroad by their own countrymen of a different political affiliation.
Watch Biden calls Pakistan ‘most dangerous nation’, says it has nuclear weapons without any cohesion