Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari has said there is a possibility that its nuclear arsenal could fall into the hands of Taliban if democracy “fails” in his country and the world doesn’t help.
“If democracy in this country fails, if the world doesn’t help democracy — then any eventuality is a possibility,” he said in an interview to German newspaper ‘Der Spiegel’ when asked whether he like his late wife Benazir Bhutto feared that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of Islamist extremists.
“But as long as democracy is there, there is no question of that situation arising. All important installations and weaponry are always under extra security,” Zardari said.
“Nuclear weapons are not Kalashnikovs — the technology is complicated, so it is not as if one little Taliban could come down and press a button,” he said.
“I want to assure the world that the nuclear capability of Pakistan is in safe hands,” he said, referring to growing concerns in the West over safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.
Asked why Pakistan is reluctant to shift some of its troop divisions from its eastern border with India to the Western frontier with Afghanistan, Zardari said: “both borders are of equal importance. The fact that the Indians recently increased their troop presence on the border creates a little concern. We react appropriately and we understand our country better than outsiders.”
Commenting on the military action in Swat Valley, he said, “it is a large-scale operation. Altogether, more than 100,000 Pakistani troops are operating in the region. Of course we also have a comprehensive strategy and a plan for reconstruction.”
Asked how Taliban managed to seize some districts NWFP, he said, the Taliban have superiority of numbers and arms and are more aggressive, so they sometimes overpower the local authority.”
On the possibility of a revolt by armed forces, Zardari: “I see no danger of a military coup.”
“It is a trustful working relationship and I am well enough informed. My party, the Pakistan People’s Party, and its allies have the majority and we will see things through,” he added.
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