We are somewhat disappointed that your esteemed newspaper has encouraged Indian professor Harsh V. Pant to write negatively about Pakistan’s nuclear assets and to question their security in the wake of alleged Talibanization in Pakistan. The Nov. 15 article “Embedded malcontents of nuclear Pakistan” — besides distorting facts and ignoring the reality on the ground — smacks of anti-Pakistan bias.

Contrary to the distortions made, Pakistan is a strong country with 170 million resolute people who are defeating the militants. The recent suicide bombings are in reaction to the militants’ imminent defeat and destruction. Instead of acknowledging these successes, the effective functioning of state security institutions and the dynamism of civil society, Pant paints an alarming picture. The article reflects the frustration of the likes of Pant who have been at pains to portray Pakistan as a failing state and are disappointed that due to the strong resilience of Pakistanis, the nefarious designs of those sponsoring terrorism have been checkmated.

I would reiterate that the government of Pakistan has dismantled the nuclear black market network in Pakistan and that no individual associated with it, including A.Q. Khan, enjoys any official status or has access to any of our strategic facilities.

Pakistan remains committed to nonproliferation. We have put in place necessary legislative, regulatory and administrative measures to ensure effective export controls and to prevent the possibility of proliferation.

Pakistan is fully cognizant of its responsibilities as a nuclear weapons state and has taken all requisite steps to ensure the safety and security of its strategic assets and of nuclear materials and facilities. A National Command Authority was established in February 2000 to ensure safe custodial controls of all strategic assets, under strong, multilayered organizational and administrative structures.

Pakistan’s strategic priority is socioeconomic development, for which it requires a peaceful domestic and external environment. We expect The Japan Times to understand the realities in Pakistan, to help us with strengthening our counterterrorism capacity, enhanced trade and sustainable market access, and to support our development agenda.

jan alam afridi