US will not support a military coup in Pakistan, says Holbrooke

May 6th, 2009 - 1:49 pm ICT by ANI  

Richard Holbrooke Washington, May 6 (ANI): The United States on Tuesday quashed all speculations of a military takeover in Pakistan, saying that it would be terrible if it happened.

US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke touched on a number of sensitive issues in his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Our goal must be unambiguously to support and help stabilise a democratic Pakistan headed by its elected president, Asif Ali Zardari. We have the highest strategic interests in supporting this government,” he said.

Asked how Washington would react if the military toppled an elected government in Pakistan, The Dawn quoted Holbrooke as saying: “We are strongly opposed to that … it will be terrible.”

He revealed that Pakistan had used F-16s for bombing extremist targets in Bajaur and Swat.

He opposed linking US aid to allowing access to Dr A.Q. Khan and indicated that the US might be working on a program with Pakistan to block FM radio broadcasts by pro-Taliban clerics.

Holbrooke also used his testimony to convey a message of support for Pakistan, its government and the military.

“Pakistan’s of such immense importance to the United States, strategically and politically. We do not think Pakistan is a failed state,” he said.

The US envoy insisted it was important for the US lawmakers also to understand that while Pakistan was under ‘tremendous social, political and economic stress’, and it was wrong to describe it as a failed state.

On the issue of nuclear proliferation, Holbrooke refused to browbeat Pakistan.

When a lawmaker suggested that the US aid to Pakistan should be linked to allowing American lawmakers to question Dr Khan, Mr Holbrooke said it would be a mistake to do so.

“I have raised this issue with the government of Pakistan and they told me that it happened during the previous government,” he said.

Holbrooke said that while he supported seeking further assurances from Pakistan on this issue, “linking it to US aid will not help”. (ANI)

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