Pakistan’s nukes won’t fall to Taliban, assures Zardari

April 27th, 2009 - 6:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, April 27 (IANS) Pakistan asserted Monday there was no danger of the Taliban getting hold of its nuclear arsenal and said the country’s “nuclear capability was in safe hands”.
“I want to assure the world that the nuclear capability of Pakistan is under safe hands,” APP quoted President Asif Ali Zardari as telling a group of international journalists here.

Allaying fears of a threat to the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, Zardari said a strong command and control system was fully in place for its nuclear weapons.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had on Saturday voiced concerns over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

“One of our concerns, which we’ve raised with the Pakistani government and military is that if the worst, the unthinkable were to happen, and this advancing Taliban encouraged and supported by Al Qaeda and other extremists were to essentially topple the government for failure to beat them back - then they would have the keys to the nuclear arsenal of Pakistan,” Clinton told Fox News in an interview in Baghdad.

“We can’t even contemplate that. We cannot, you know, let this go on any further. Which is why we’re pushing so hard for the Pakistanis to come together around a strategy to take their country back,” she maintained.

Earlier this month, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he had received assurances that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were in safe hands but did not elaborate.

“We have been assured that their nuclear assets are in safe hands and I do not want to disbelieve that assurance,” Singh said in Guwahati April 19.

Zardari had ratified a controversial peace deal between the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government and the Taliban for imposing Sharia laws in Swat and six other districts of the province in return for the militants laying down their arms.

Instead, the Taliban advanced south into the Buner district that is just 100 km from Islamabad.

They later withdrew but the Pakistani Army Saturday moved against the Taliban in the Lower Dir district to the west of Swat, prompting radical cleric Sufi Mohammad who had brokered the peace deal to declare it was off.

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