ISLAMABAD  - Central Information Secretary Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf, MNA Dr Shireen Mazari, has criticised the new US media campaign launched, once again, against Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

She said the US media, playing its supportive role to the US government, periodically begins a mala fide campaign against Pakistan's nuclear weapons on flimsy and false grounds of safety. The latest attack has come from the Centre for the National Interest's magazine "The National Interest" which lacks credibility but for some reason has been widely reprinted in our media.

She said when General Kidwai was heading SPD, the US criticised him and now that he has been replaced as a normal course, his departure is being seen as one reason to assume Pakistan's nukes are unsafe. Mazari said this was absurd as safety is dependent on a system not an individual and Pakistan has over the years evolved a strong nuclear safety structure. That the US has been unable to penetrate this is one reason for their ire.

Ironically the US nuclear weapons safety record has been a major source of concern in recent times for the rest of the world. Not only has there been revelations of nuclear material going missing - some of it finding its way to Israel - but there was the horrifying incident in August 2007 of a US B52 bomber flying across the US carrying 6 live nuclear-armed cruise missiles each with a W80 nuclear warhead (each therefore having destructive power of 10 Hiroshima-type bombs!). Mazari pointed out that while the US is hysterical about imagined "loose nukes" in Pakistan, it had a real case of loose nukes on its own territory from its own Air Force.

Mazari also termed as deliberately misleading the claim by the report that Pakistan was developing battlefield nuclear weapons in the form of the Nasr missile and that somehow this would make them less secure and more vulnerable. She said despite repeated explanations that Nasr was not a battlefield weapon but a counter force weapon that could be deployed along the border to deter "rapid deployment" conventional attacks as envisaged by India's adventurist ColdStart doctrine. Perhaps the US media needs to understand Pakistan's geography better.

Mazari said all countries are continuously upgrading their weapon systems to sustain credibility of their deterrence and she pointed out that it was the US that was developing mini nukes for battlefield use and is suspected of having used depleted uranium weapons in Afghanistan. Mazari said it is unacceptable to have the US media and government periodically raise the bogey of the safety of Pakistan's nuclear weapons when it is the US that needs to bolster safety of its nuclear arsenal which presently stands exposed as dangerously vulnerable.

It is also time the government of Pakistan give a clear message to the US to stop intruding in what are strictly Pakistan's internal state matters such as civil and military postings, transfers and retirements. Such unchecked intrusions reflect the mindset of slavery that the PTI is committed to overturning.