Why is Pakistan so quick to speak about nukes, Khawaja Asif?

Published: December 28, 2016

Does he, like other members of the government, not get briefed by security agencies?

Sitting in his jail cell secretly armed with a cellular phone, a British mobile SIM, and the contact details of world leaders, a murderous psychotic terrorist, in the hopes of killing countless, sat plotting nuclear war. His plans were so ludicrous that you’d think this was a work of fiction straight out of a bad spy novel, but I assure you that this incident was frighteningly real.

First, he called a nuclear-powered nation itching to retaliate to fresh terrorist attacks on its soil, pretending to be the head of state of a nation whose countrymen were allegedly responsible for the attack. Attempting to call the foreign minister, he was unable to get through the security protocols, and gave up after being promised a return call. Next, he called the secretary of state of the most powerful nation of the world, but was once again unable to pass the security of checks.

Finally, he tried his luck calling the president of the country that stood nervously accused of orchestrating a terrorist attack on its neighbours, and wouldn’t you know it, he got through to former president, Asif Ali Zardari.

Yes, it would be amusing if it weren’t so pitiful that according to reports, while sitting in his Hyderabad jail, British terrorist Omar Saeed Sheikh, linked to organisations such as Taliban, al Qaeda and others, convicted for the brutal kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl, was unable to get through to Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee or American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, yet had a conversation with the president of Pakistan.

And not only did he have a conversation, he also managed to convince the Pakistani leader that he was the Indian foreign minister threatening him with dire consequences. Here, the Pakistani leadership went into panic mode. What followed were phone calls between Zardari, former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, and eventually, between General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Chief Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

Eventually, cooler heads prevailed and the call was traced to Hyderabad, but for some time, the hoax calls drove India and Pakistan to brink of war.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like a change in administration has helped Pakistan. A few days ago, Pakistan once again became the laughing stock of the world, making headlines in India, Israel, the United States, and more, when Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif read a piece of fake news and responded to it in his official status on Twitter by threatening Israel with nuclear weapons.

Perhaps, if Asif was the minister of agriculture or minister of sports, his mistake could be forgiven, but for a defense minister to threaten another nation with nuclear power over a piece of fake news is unforgivable.

Where was our defense minister’s intelligence? Does he, like other members of the government, not get briefed by security agencies? Does he do his job based on what he reads on social media?

Also, why is Pakistan so quick to speak of nuclear weapons, like the stupid unemployed man who can’t feed his family or support himself, but boasts about how well-endowed he is? Our literacy rates are low, unemployment rates are high, our government is corrupt and consisting of unofficial citizens from Panama. We can’t protect our women, children, or minorities, yet we can surely bomb your country to regress to our levels.

We are so quick to mock Donald Trump even though we have a Trump on every street corner. No wonder Trump said “he loves Pakistan” in that viral video. After all, he has plenty in common with our own leadership.

Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He tweets as @Pugnate (twitter.com/Pugnate)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • wb

    Good blog. When I first heard the story of that call from Rauf Klasra, I was like What?!

    This goes to show that Pakistan is an extremely insecure and weak country. The bravado of the army is all hollow. And we have seen that in 1971, Kargil, 1965 and many times more.

    And then Pakistanis wonder why the world doesn’t give a nuclear deal to this utterly irresponsible and joke of a nuclear power.

    But then, the leaders are among you. So, it probably reflects the collective mindset of Pakistanis.Recommend

  • Gingerman78

    Pakistani politicians are immature and low quality rogues in expensive suits. They, like most Pakistanis, foolishly believe that their military, their non-state actors and their nukes are force multipliers which will help them attain their goals or keep imagined enemies at bay. Embattled Israel has has long been a nuclear power yet one never hears them threaten anyone while Pakistani politicians do that at the drop of a hat. You think that does not create an impression around the world?Recommend

  • Sleepless

    Probably trying to compensate for something…Recommend

  • Concard_007

    Normally no one talks about Nuclear weapons. Not only the great USA which used it on Japan, Russia, China, France, UK, India or Israel. No matter who is in power in these countries there was never ever a threat issued verbally by any these countries even during worst tensions that they will use Nuclear weapons on their enemies.

    On the other hand North Korea, Iran and Pakistan all have issued at some point statements from one of the government ministers lower or higher level that they will use Nukes directly or indirectly. Perhaps these countries aren’t aware that once you push the nuke button, no country on Earth will stop the other from fully annihilating the country which first used the nuke unless it effects them then they might try to stop it. Mature countries know their responsibilities and know how to wield power without showing off their destructive weapons.

    But for North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan apart from their prized possessions that is nukes there is nothing of importance they can give to the world. So like spoiled children they resort to showing nuke buttons thinking the rest of the world will take them seriously.Recommend


    He is Defence Minister of Pakistan ? Being a cabinet minister how can he react to fake news
    We Indians are happy in the sense that this guy is more than enough to make Pakistan a NSG member and sad in the sense that he may press the nuclear button against Indians.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    As insecure as India. It must be something in our shared blood. But the difference is that the intellectual classes in Pakistan actually call a spade a spade.Recommend

  • Anon

    Why is Pakistan so quick to speak about nukes, Khawaja Asif?

    Because there is nothing else to speak about…..Recommend

  • ingeborg Malik

    What else should he speak of if not Nukes?Failing Textile IndustryPower Shortages,Water Problems?Literacy Problems??the list is long of failures the only Bright Spot for the Establishment is ,naturally…NUKESRecommend

  • Vish

    “Intellectual classes “, Seriously is there any such animal in Pakistan? I guess myth making and flawed analysis qualifies as ‘intellectual ‘ in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Because Khawaja is a two bit loofah politician.
    Put In Defense Minister position by his master
    the mega loofah,…SharifRecommend

  • vinsin

    Now I know why Israel never wanted Pakistan to have nukes. Recommend

  • vinsin

    Minorities are expected to be insecure, so that is natural for India.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    You’d need to have to the intellect to recognize them. Sorry.Recommend

  • wb

    Not really, dear Mr. Ansari. By the way, did you know that Ansari is a Mulims caste same as Kasai/Kasab/Kasav or Darvesh or other scheduled caste in India?
    Let’s stick to the point. India is not insecure. Intellectual class? !!!! Really, what is that? I never knew that intelligence was part of any class!!! I’m from an economic lowest class, classwise middle class, and intellectually the upper middle class. What the hell am I? I don’t know.

    My dear, it’s because…people like you have no power. People like you are immaterial. People like you are dust in the wind.Recommend

  • madhu

    russia split into 8 countries inspite of having a formidable nuclear arsenal- nukes are no security — in fact the less we talk about nuclear arms the better… it is cheap talk— and i wonder and object to all newspapers who always mention india and pakistan as being nuclear armed rivals whenever they are referring to our countries — but they never talk about nuclear armed rivals when reporting about usa-russia-china etc — why why????Recommend

  • ingeborg Malik

    He shall not get to see the light of the Day to press any Button or Buttons.Recommend

  • ingeborg Malik

    which “Intellectuall” classes do u mean??Maddrassa Origin Hafiz Saeed,JeM Masood Azhar,HuM Sallahudin??prof.Hoodbhoy is the only sane person or even Hassan Nisar could be included the rest you can conveniently forget.Bigotory is not being Intellectual,Hussain Haqani has been declared as a “Gaddar” since he speaks the truth and nothing but the truth.Recommend

  • ingeborg Malik

    for Frustration….leads to a situation where you become fidgety and BlabbermouthRecommend

  • Purna Tripathy

    Pakistan is unique. Why trying to drag India to which is your “glory”. Astonishing part is you still expect the world to treat Pakistan is a serious and responsible nuclear state.Recommend

  • Purna Tripathy
  • clap clap

    If ever another country uses the nuclear bomb, it will be Israel. And they don’t even call themselves a nuclear power! No wonder Jews are considered the smartest people on earth.Recommend

  • Tommy Gunn

    In India too there are many who call a spade a spade. If you recall, last year more than 50 writers & journalists returned their awards as a protest against Indian government’s policies. But as an Indian, I agree that there are indeed some brave intellectuals in Pakistan who are willing to speak up even against the military establishment risking their lives. Recommend

  • SRK

    Noman, go on a long visit to India. It will help both countries. I think all opinion writers and bloggers in both countries should be made to visit each others countries before they can out out any media articles.
    Just as the wild TV industry blasts out ‘news’ for viewer ship gains, the print media is doing it in a similar manner.

    It is not fair to form an opinion on India based on the 3 line smart ass jibes or the same old jaded comments from ‘dedicated’ trolls you read on ET or other places. Just like it is not fair to form an opinion on Americans based on Trump’s tweets or listening to some guys on fox news.

    India really does not seem to have an intellectual class which spends time commenting about geopolitical issues. Most of the intellectuals are busy in industry, commerce, technology and art … more focused on money and subject expertise recognition. Even when they venture of their core subjects, the other subjects tend to be more internal – demonetization, black money or women’s rights etc. Most of the commentator folks one sees in Indian media talking about geopolitical issues are the ‘runts’ – unable to hack it anywhere else – there is not much money/respect to be gained in that area.

    Most Indians are oblivious to what is happening in the neighborhood – no idea on what has been going between Nepal/India – how India strong armed its way in a thuggish manner; or the peace developments with Bangladesh etc. News and knowledge about Pakistan was pretty much the same – until a little before Kargil. Even now mostly it comes up only when the ‘militants’ strike the army bases in the Kashmir area.

    Good to read your articles and hear your point of view … I can even recall years back when you wrote about growing up in S Arabia ;)Recommend

  • khaja mohammad

    Low grade country and its politicians.Recommend

  • bogus

    Only two countries regularly talk about using nukes – N Korea and Pakistan. What’s sad is the N Korea, Iran, and Pakistan have been ranked at the bottom of the International “popularity poll” for many years with N Korea usually considered more popular than Pakistan. That should raise a few eyebrows in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Any examples of India’s insecurity please?

    You are smart enough to have put ” intellectual classes” before those whom you believe call a spade a spade in Pakistan thoughRecommend

  • Ahmar

    There is actually nothing wrong with the wording used by Khwaja Asif. He did not explicitly threaten Israel but softly reminded everyone that Pakistan too has nuclear weapons. So any “nuclear strike” against it will be responded in kind.

    He said this in response to what he believed was a statement from the Israeli minister which goes.

    “Israeli Defense Minister: If Pakistan send [sic] ground troops into Syria on any pretext, we will destroy this country with a nuclear attack.”

    Should he have checked the story more thoroughly? Yes! Of course! But what if the Israeli Minister’s statement had been true? Did he go overboard with this if it were true? Not really.Recommend

  • Shahid

    How can a government response be made on Twitter and that too without using his brains for a change…What a Dork; Even a non- political person like me can approach such news differently; Actually he could have asked USA to extend their foreign office (state dept) courtesy and ask Israel Government if this is correct and true, and is as reported and comment made by Israeli defense minister, and what has been reported and published….; The situation would then have necessitated foreign office or defence minister to respond appropriately. But in this case, as usual, the big mouth normally being used to release gas opened up and vomited.Recommend

  • Ali S

    The sad fact is that the overwhelming majority of people in any sphere of power in Pakistan – whether it be civilian, military (and I mean up to the highest levels) or religious/social – are far less intelligent than their fellow countrymen make them out to be. I don’t mean that they’re just lacking in vision or come up with harebrained schemes which often fall flat, yes, that happens too, but they are fundamentally not as smart or thoughtful as someone in their position should be. And our hapless population buys their empty rhetoric and satiates itself with it.Recommend

  • LS

    We don’t go out of our way to threaten, we only respond when threatened. We have been attacked 6 times in the past (4 times by pakistan and twice by china). So we better be safe than sorry. Mean while no one has ever attacked pakistan EVER! What is pakistan so insecure?Recommend

  • TahirUK

    I work in a major Investment Bank in London with a multi-national staff from throughout the world. When this story broke it was beyond embarrassing. I just wanted to crawl under the desk. There were peels of laugher as my work mates guffawed with pleasure. To them it confirmed their prejudices of the gullibility and stupidity of the “Pakis”.Recommend

  • Rohan

    Oh please stop comparing yourself and obsessing over India.And don’t you say you don’t share any blood with india as per your 2 nation theoryRecommend

  • Milind A

    As insecure as India – are you serious???. We’ve had our wars and a defeat with China, but have moved forward on that front, with relationship improving from ‘enemy’ to ‘collaborative partner/frenemy’.

    Relationships with neighbouring countries Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal had gone downhill and have now improved. Additionally, our Government doesn’t talk about military options at the drop of the hat, except now and that too only with Pakistan, after Pakistan refuses to mend its ways.Recommend

  • Rajiv

    Pakistanis are jokers.
    and their so called country is a joke for the world.Recommend

  • Vin P

    good articleRecommend

  • Rajiv

    Well said.Recommend

  • Kulbhushan yadav

    How did you even conclude India is insecure???? Another ” intellectual” guess I suppose.Recommend

  • JKhan

    Sheer lack of education.Recommend

  • Yogi Berra

    India is not complaining though. More such threats will prove India’s demand to the world community that nuclear weapons in country like Pakistan is a bad idea and they should be confiscated by UN body. Indians encourage Pakistani politicians to keep showing such bravado even in future.Recommend

  • antistatusquo

    @ Rajiv….your illusions are buried deep. no one can change your psyche only your own mirror will show you the truth one day.

    @concard 007…………..The world knows very well, who is threatening whom…..Pakistan is a country of 200 million people……engineers, doctors, scientists, intellectuals and many more…..
    you want to judge Pakistanis?? look at the Pakistani doctors in Europe and u.s.a and compare them to any nationality….you will find them superior to most in professionalism and also competence level.Even at very low skill level pakistanis are far better at works than any other…..

    stop defaming Pakistanis….it only defames your own face.


  • antistatusquo

    @Noaman Ansari…….sir these Indians will need 1000 years to reach to some kind of unbiased intellect levels……don’t waste your timeRecommend

  • Ahson

    Why are you dishonestly dragging Iran into this discussion?? Iran does not have nukes nor has it ever threatened to nuke Israel. Don’t spread disinformation.Recommend

  • Ahson

    because both India and Pakistan are looked down at by everyone. Nothing to be proud of.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Well,…see,…first there is the caste system, no escaping it.
    [make sure your shadow does not fall on a higher caste hindu]
    then, spending i/3 of your day looking for a toilet, plus 1200 years of Mughal Rule, [who brought civilization to Hindustan]
    Now that, is a triple whammy, any way you shake it.
    So it boils down to…Poor hindus… poor hindus…poor hindus.
    Hindustani intellectuals ? Sri Modiji comes to mind……karmaRecommend

  • Venkat Ramana

    Hi.this is the problem…when you respond to someone, dont be personal and provide facts , collaborated by an international source if possible. If not then keep quiet.Recommend

  • Ahson

    yeah and what about your country?Recommend

  • Ahson

    It is amazing how Indians absolutely swarm our news articles, forums and social media………lol………Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    why is Pakistan so quick to speak of nuclear weapons,

    Most people if not all from Pakistan are very emotinoal and used to thinking loud. But they are not the kind of trigger happy one finds in the Americas. Let us wait when the ” Mad dog ” defense minister of the Trump team of Zombies take over his seat in the Pantagon, the author will have to write another article to descriibe about the threats appearing on the witter..

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Abdul Wasi

    Recently the smugglers were arrested by your police trying to smuggle 9 kilos of depleted Uranium worth more than $3.5 million!! Isnt this enough?Recommend

  • ingeborg Malik

    they were MuslimsRecommend

  • Outsight

    I have a huge respect for Noman. He is a truth seeker and is a walking definition of an intellectual. Sadly I see better analysis and insight in Pakistani newspapers like ET and Dawn than in news papers like The Times of India. Unfortunately people of Noman’s caliber will never get the reigns of power in Pakistan. This is the cruel contradiction of Pakistan. It has great public intellectuals like Pervez Hoodbhoy but with a populace totally deaf and blind to their insights.Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)

    To understand the mentality and psychology of Indian society, one should watch “minutely” about 50 episodes of their daily reality serial, “Crime Patrol!”
    Likewise, to understand the mentality and psychology of Pakistani men, my Indian brothers should watch and study the gangster culture of Punjab, particularly
    the gangsters of Gawalmandi, Lahore. It is the locality where the supreme Don of Pakistan, the Sharif bros. were born and brought up! I am sure, your holes shall squeeze very tightly!

    The most used and magical word, used by men in Pakistan and India is “bund” or “gaand!” Or “unki maa ki, unki behn ki!” Such beloved expressions reflect the common consciousness and common heritage of Indians and Pakistanis. In vulgarity they till today stand united!!!

    Therefore the despicable statements of Khawaja Asif´s or BJP leader Subramanian (India should drop Atom Bomb on Pakistan – BJP Leader Subramanian) are mentality-wise and temperamental, higher education has no influence on them or us!!!Recommend

  • cautious

    Average IQ in Pakistan is 84 – average IQ in India is about 80 – Worldwide it’s a little less than 100. Probably not something that gets discussed much in either Pakistan or India.Recommend

  • wb

    Oh Patwari, patwari, patwari…you see.. Then spending whole day looking to escape the Qutbas.
    Oh my dear Patwari…it’s all a result of ethm…yes dear patwariRecommend

  • Lalit

    The Defense Minister didn’t say anything the world doesn’t already know. Pakistan developed nuclear weapons to defend itself after India converted a Canadian aid gifted nuclear Candu reactor and started its atomic program in the 1970s. Because India started the nuclear arms competition in South Asia, no one begrudges Pakistan’s nuclear weapons although Israel and India worry about Pakistan’s ability to maintain them. Routinely there is false news in the US and West and as long as leaders respond in a neutral matter of fact way, no harm comes. It happens in the US all the time. In this instance Pakistan’s Defense Minister just stated the obvious and made no threats so no one in Israel or the world took it in a bad way. As for Pakistan, it is probably the only stable Muslim democratic state in the world which is why Trump and Western countries don’t mind.Recommend

  • Lalit

    Such statements only help in calling their nuclear bluffs…..Recommend

  • Rohan

    Those poor Hindus are still a million times better off than their jealous cousins in fail-istanRecommend

  • fitemoo

    The whole world knows that Iran does not have nukes and so could not have threatened another country including Israel with it. North Korea has been heavily sanctioned by the US for many years due to which its economy is in shambles. Thus, it threatens the US and S. Korea but no other country.

    Pakistan, on the other hand, has no issues with Israel.

  • Ahson

    90% of Indians also belong to lower castes. How does it feel now?Recommend

  • Yogi Berra

    Cite credible report to prove average IQ of Pakistanis is 84. Or was it typo – 74 instead of 84? Pakistanis are worst performing people not only in south Asia but also in UK, US and Canada in terms of educational and financial attainment. You can find many articles in Pak news papers on this topic. Even on TV. While you do it also find time to research on Indian diaspora across the globe and achievement of (Indian) Indians in high tech domain.Recommend

  • vinsin

    Pakistan nuclear program started before India. India herself supported Pakistan Nuclear program.Recommend

  • vinsin

    What about TNT? Then Why Pakistani come to India for medical treatment?Recommend

  • Ahson

    Everyone knows the deplorable IQ’s in both India/ Pakistan. Or you want to take the included IQ test? https://iq-research.info/en/page/average-iq-by-countryRecommend

  • antistatusquo

    @ vinsin …..Yes Pakistanis go to India for treatment…Its mostly liver transplant type treatment which is comparatively many times cheaper in India.. REMEMBER WHAT EVER medical procedures and techniques practiced in India are ALSO PRACTICED IN PAKISTAN………….in India its cheap while its costly in Pakistan……………so in the field of medicine both are parallel( Indian population is 7 times compared to Pakistan , so 1 Pakistan transplant surgeon is having 8 transplant surgeons on the other side of the border….and so are the proportion of treatment facilities)……yes in manufacturing machines in different sectors India is ahead BCZ OF MASSIVE HELP AND TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY FROM WEST……..but its not the point of differences……if someone is good at something its an honor to praise it the way it deserves.

    My point is “don’t ridicule a country of 200 million people”……you don’t know anything about Pakistan except the negative propaganda propagated by your media and its point scoring anchors and analysts……..PAKISTANIS are very open minded open heart loving and forgiving people , ……..YOU WANT PROOF….OK ASK YOUR FELLOW NRI (OVERSEAS) INDIANS WHO HAVE WORKED WITH PAKISTANIS ABROAD AND YOU WILL GET THE ANSWER …………Recommend

  • antistatusquo

    Sir whats the problem??respond to someone????to whom? to you ,or you represent someone?…..you first say something and get my answer and only then can you expect some facts and their collaboration with standard links……….Recommend

  • LS

    He is quoting a stupid data aggregator website with a questionable study that tries to average out the IQ which in itself does not mean anything… Mensa came and calculated the average IQ of street children in New Delhi… with a scores of 145…


    While their leaders have IQ of exactly a naught.Recommend

  • Yogi Berra

    My argument is very clear. If Pakistanis are that clever then they would elect good leaders and not trust others to run their country. The fact is they do that indicates that they cannot think or decide. That is not a sign of high intelligence. Pakistan is slightly better than sub saharan Africa on most human development parameters. That says all.Recommend

  • gp65

    The difference is Subramanian is not a minister while Khwaja Asif is a defense ministerRecommend