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Deliberate Disinformation by Reuters India: No Changes in Pakistan’s Nuclear Policy

Foreign Office of Pakistan issued a clarification on the wrongly quoted statements published by Reuters India, claiming that Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistan will not use its nuclear weapons first. The FO clarified that the premier made no references to the use of nuclear weapons

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The Foreign Office of Pakistan clarified that there have been no changes in Pakistan’s nuclear policy, shortly after a foreign news agency misquoted Prime Minister Imran Khan as saying that Pakistan will never use its nuclear arsenal first.

A statement issued by Dr. Mohammad Faisal, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated, “Prime Minister’s comments on Pakistan’s approach towards conflict between two nuclear-armed states are being taken out of context.”

Dr. Faisal added, “While conflict should not take place between two nuclear states, there’s no change in Pakistan’s nuclear policy.

Nothing to do with NFU

Prime Minister Imran Khan, while addressing the concluding session of the International Sikh Convention, held in Lahore on Monday, said, “Pakistan will never initiate a war.” Reuters India wrongly quoted Imran Khan’s statement as saying, “There will be no first use from our side ever.”

Pakistan is not bound by any commitments on the strategic use of its nuclear arsenal in the event of escalated military tensions with India. Shireen Mazari, the Federal Minister for Human Rights, strongly condemned the irresponsible reportage of Reuters India on such a sensitive issue that threatens the peace and stability of South Asia and its inhabitants.

Tensions between Pakistan and India rapidly escalated after New Delhi’s unlawful and unconstitutional move of revoking the autonomy of Indian-occupied Kashmir

Taking to Twitter, Shireen Mazari said, “Seriously some of our journalists should stop believing whatever Indian media says – PM stated categorically that Pakistan and India were both nuclear-armed states & a couple of sentences later he said Pakistan would NEVER START A WAR with India. Nothing to do with NFU at all!”

The Federal Minister for Human Rights added, “So where is the nuclear saber-rattling? In fact, his whole statement was to the contrary! Unfortunate how wrong conclusions are jumped to – especially when they are premised on Indian deliberate disinformation!”

Condemning the “deliberate disinformation” printed by Reuters India, Mazari went onto say, “The PM was crystal clear in what he said. It was Reuters India that deliberately distorted his words – or maybe they translated – but this is dangerous and irresponsible of Reuters India on such a serious issue. They need to apologize and accept their error.”

The debate on the No First Use (NFU) nuclear policy was stirred by Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who had issued a veiled nuclear threat as the UN Security Council met for a “closed-door” meeting to discuss the Kashmir issue after 50 years of silence.

Rajnath Singh had tweeted, “Pokhran is the area which witnessed Atal Ji’s firm resolve to make India a nuclear power and yet remain firmly committed to the doctrine of ‘No First Use’. India has strictly adhered to this doctrine. What happens in the future depends on the circumstances.”

Read more: Shifts in India’s No-First Use Nuclear Declaration poses Grave Threats for Pakistan

Earlier in August, Rajnath Singh had tweeted veiled references targeting Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. On one occasion, the Indian Defence Minister tweeted, “Some people believe that there should be talk with Pakistan, but there will be no talk unless Pakistan stops supporting terrorism. Even if it comes to Pakistan, it will be on POK.”

Tensions between Pakistan and India rapidly escalated after New Delhi’s unlawful and unconstitutional move of revoking the autonomy of Indian-occupied Kashmir, and the unprecedented security lockdown that has turned the disputed Himalayan valley into a concentration camp for Kashmiri Muslims.

The valley has entered the 30th day of an unexampled curfew and communications lockdown, while Kashmiri protestors and Hurriyat leaders have been placed under house arrest or detention centers, Kashmiri journalists are being harassed and detained across the occupied valley.

Ahmer Khan, a multimedia journalist writing for the Guardian and NY Times, tweeted a statement of the Kashmir Press Club, stating, “At least three senior Kashmiri journalists Aijaz Hussain, Fayaz Bukhari & Nazir Masoodi were asked to vacate the government accommodations as soon as possible, which is nothing but harassment aimed at coercing journalists to toe a particular line.”

Nicola Careem, BBC South Asia Bureau Chief, who has extensively covered conflict areas across South Asia and the Middle East, commented on the “unusual” restrictions imposed on Kashmiri journalists, barring them from reporting ground realities.

Careem tweeted, “I have covered conflict in Syria, Gaza, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq & Yemen. Managed to tell stories from all sides – sometimes with great difficulty. But the total inability of non-Indian journalists to report from Indian Administered Kashmir is highly unusual.”

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