Qureshi asks Ishaq Dar to clarify his missile statement

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, while criticizing Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for his utterance on the country’s missile programme on the floor of the house, demanded that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif should issue a policy statement on the matter.

Last week, finance minister while brifing the Senate on talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), mentioned Pakistan’s long-range nuclear missile programme and said nobody has right to demand for abandoning or dictate us on our defence strategy.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, Qureshi said that if it was not possible for the prime minister to give a policy statement, an in-camera session could be held to discuss the issue.

Former foreign minister Qureshi wondered why a deal with IMF could not be finalised despite the fact that Pakistan has fulfilled all the demands of the lender.

“No one has the right to tell us what kind of nuclear programme we should have and missiles of which range we should have. We have our atomic arsenal South Asia-specific and to ensure our defence,” he said.

“There is national consensus on the atomic assets and we will protect them no matter which government is in power,” he added.

Qureshi further said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan would never allow anyone to dictate Pakistan on nuclear assets.

He castigated Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari for keeping mum over this sensitive issue and wanted him to issue a statement on Pakistan’s nuclear assets immediately.

If the foreign minister is busy with some other assignment, the prime minister should issue a policy statement without any delay, Qureshi demanded.

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