Washington | Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has expressed concern over the possibility of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into the hands of jihadists, which she said was “a threatening scenario”, according to a media report.
“Pakistan is running full speed to develop tactical nukes in their continuing hostility with India,” the former secretary of state told a close door fundraiser in Virginia in February, The New York Times reported, citing 50-minute audio audio being hacked from the Democratic Party’s computers.
“But we live in fear that they’re going to have a coup that jihadists are going to take over the government, they’re going to get access to nuclear weapons, and you’ll have suicide nuclear bombers. So, this could not be a more threatening scenario,” the daily quoted Clinton as saying in the audio that appeared on The Washington Free Beacon website.
During the fund raiser, responding to a question on modernisation of nuclear weapons, the daily said, Clinton went beyond the question to warn of an emerging nuclear arms race, naming Russia and China as well as Pakistan and India.
“This is one of the most dangerous developments imaginable,” Clinton said.
Such remarks from the former secretary of state gains significance in view of an interview of Pakistani Defence Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif to the local TV channel in which he threatened to unleash nukes against India.
“If our safety is threatened, we will annihilate them,” Asif had said.
The United States appears to have taken a strong note of Asif’s recent statements on use of nuclear weapons.
“Nuclear capable states have the responsibility to exercise restraint regarding nuclear weapons and missile capabilities,” a state department official told PTI when asked about the statements being made by the Pakistani leader.
Earlier, Defence Secretary Ashton Carter had said while India has generally shown responsible behaviour with nuclear technology, China conducts itself professionally, nuclear weapons in Pakistan are entangled in history of tensions.
Meanwhile, in an opinion ‘Consequences of Pakistani Terrorism: Raids signal that India won’t tolerate more attacks in Kashmir’, The Wall Street Journal warned that Pakistan increasingly risks becoming a “pariah state” if it continues with policies.
It said if Pakistan wants to prevent an escalation of violence it needs to shut down the terror groups it continues to support. “That should start with Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba, two major jihadist groups that operate openly in Pakistan and are prime suspects in these attacks,” it said.
“Both groups are supported by its military despite being on United Nations lists of terrorist organizations,” the daily said in the hard-hitting opinion piece, a day after India carried out surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir against terrorists planning to sneak into the country.
The Journal noted that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has consistently offered closer economic and diplomatic ties to Pakistan as long as it stops supporting terrorism.
Pakistan, it argued, needs a new vision centered on improving the lives of its people.