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Terrorists will never get close to N-weapons: Zardari

September 22, 2008 10:01 IST

Pakistan has an effective command and control system for its nuclear arsenal and terrorists can never get close to these weapons, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani [Images] said on Sunday.

Terrorists are resorting to acts such as the suicide bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad [Images] to highlight the presence of nuclear weapons in the country, he said.

Dramatic footage of suicide attack on Pak hotel released

Pakistan's effective command and control system for its nuclear weapons would ensure that the terrorists never come close to the atomic arsenal, he said.

The suicide attack on the Marriott was a 'big tragedy' aimed at destabilising democracy, damaging the country's economy and weakening Pakistan, Gilani said. Replying to a query, he said the government is dealing with militants with a strong hand and the attack could be an indication of the frustration among the terrorists.

Czech envoy among 60 killed in Pakistan blast

Fifty-three people, including Czech Ambassador Ivo Zdarek, were killed and 266 others injured in Saturday's devastating attack on the five-star hotel that was a favourite gathering spot for foreigners and the Pakistani elite.

Gilani also said the Prime Minister's House was the target of the terrorists as key figures of the country were present there to attend an iftaar dinner after a joint session of the parliament was addressed by President Asif Ali Zardari. But the terrorists could not strike there due to tight security arrangements, he said.

He said the residents of Pakistan's tribal areas are patriotic and none of them is a terrorist. Only a few foreigners are involved in terrorist acts in Pakistan, he added.

Dr Singh condemns Islamabad blast

The Pakistan government has framed a three-pronged policy to address the problems in the tribal areas. Poverty, illiteracy and lack of basic amenities are among the reasons behind extremism and the government has decided to launch a massive development programme in these areas, Gilani said.

Militants who laid down their weapons would not be questioned but the government cannot tolerate attacks on its infrastructure and the armed forces as well as those who challenge its writ, the premier said.

 Terror attack in Islamabad

Responding to another question, Gilani rejected the impression that Pakistan is fighting America's war on terror. He said that 99 per cent of people killed in terrorist incidents are Pakistanis and Pakistan is working on its indigenous policy.

An in-camera briefing will be given to parliamentarians to apprise them about the facts regarding the challenge of terrorism. "We need cooperation from all to cut the roots of terrorism, which is defaming the country around the world," he said.

Gilani urged political forces to play their role to discourage the use of Islam by terrorists, who had no religion.

© Copyright 2008 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.


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