The next global war could start with a fight on Twitter as our Minister of Defence very well proved on Sunday. Khawaja Asif has the unique distinction of being the only Minister of a state to try and start an actual war on Twitter, that too a nuclear one. His not-so-veiled threat of using nukes against Israel was the subject of ridicule at both home and abroad, making Pakistan headline across international media for all the wrong reasons. The worst part is that he based this ill-thought out tweet on a fake news item, and did not bother to check any alternative reports to verify what was going on. Khawaja Asif based his rancour on the former Defence Minister of Israel, and not the sitting one.

The armed forces’ reluctance in dealing with our colourful Defence Minister then, is not the least bit surprising. His off-the-cuff remarks, and his aggressive stance can be witnessed by a simple search online for news stories related to him. Terms such as ‘lashing out’ and ‘takes aim’ are common elements in all search results. ‘Loose cannon’ will be the next term associated with him (pun intended).

This is the government’s frontman on all matters of strategy, defence and war, and by the looks of it – not only based on this statement, but past occasions as well – lacks all the poise, stability and maturity expected from a federal minister.

Now that his error has been made public, the Pakistani state comes out looking extremely foolish. If we can’t temper our remarks against a very dangerous state like Israel, what scope do we have in resolving outstanding conflicts with India? An apology and retraction is essential now. Gaffes are made as a matter of course by all politicians, this is nothing new, but Khawaja Asif has been known to make one too many.

The government is not too bothered seemingly; the last time the country took issue with Khawaja Asif’s speeches against the army that surfaced, he was simply benched until things seemed calmer. Expect nothing more on this occasion, if anything.