Pakistan not a banana republic says Musharraf

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Paris, Jan 23: Reiterating that Pakistan's nuclear assets are in safe hands and there is a "zero percent chance" of the al-Qaeda getting hold of it, President Pervez Musharraf has said that his country is not a banana republic. "I can assure you that nothing will happen in Pakistan. We are not a banana republic," said Musharraf, adding, "There is a zero percent chance of either one of them (nuclear weapons), they (weapons) cannot fall into any wrong hands."

He further said that militants could gain access to the country's nuclear arsenal only if the al-Qaeda or the Taliban defeat the Pakistani army entirely or extremist religious groups win the February 18 elections. "We don't think it is possible that this al-Qaeda or Taliban can take over in Pakistan. We cannot be defeated like this," the BBC quoted Musharraf, as saying.

While addressing a gathering at a French foreign policy institute, Musharraf said he believed the parliamentary elections would be free and fair.

Boasting the success of the Pakistani Army in Waziristan, he said: "We are succeeding reasonably," in securing the border with Afghanistan, adding that there had been a 42 per cent reduction in movement across the frontier after the creation of 1,000 checkpoints.

Talking about recent violence by pro-Taliban militants in North and South Waziristan, Musharraf said: "There is no Taliban offensive... being launched."

"These are pinpricks that they keep doing - and we have to manage all of that," he added.

ANI

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