US gravely concerned over Pak nukes falling into militants' hands: Holbrooke

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Washington, Feb.21 (ANI): The US special envoy to Afganistan and Pakstan, Richard Holbrooke has expressed concerns that Pakistan's nuclear armaments may fall into the hands of militants.

In an interview given to a private television channel, Holbrooke said there is a 'legitimate concern' about the issue, and the Obama administration has been nformed about the potential threat by intelligence agencies.

"We have been assured by the American intelligence community that this arsenal is under the control of the Pakistan military. But it's an issue of high concern and it can't be ignored," The Nation quoted Holbrooke, as saying.

Commenting on implementation of Islamic law in the Swat Valley, Holbrooke said he called Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to convey Washington's stance about the issue.

He said Zardari has assured him that the peace deal between the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government and the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) was only an 'interim arrangement' to stabilise the troubled region.

Zardari also agreed that people with whom the peace deal has been inked have a dangerous track record, and they pose threat to Pakistan, US and the whole region.

Holbrooke also expressed his fears that the so called 'peace deal' may turn into a surrender by Islamabad to the Taliban.

"I am concerned, and I know that Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is, and the President is, that this deal which is portrayed in the press as a truce does not turn into a surrender," he added.

Meanwhile, Deputy spokesperson of the US State Department Gordon Duguid , while commenting on the Swat deal, said : " It was a little too early to come to final conclusions about the outcome of the peace agreement."

"What we are is that these types of deals have happened before, and the direction of events in Swat valley are not in going in a positive way. What we do want to see is results," Duguid added.

Duguid reiterated that Washington and Islamabad were facing a common threat of militancy.

"We have spoken to the Pakistanis, the ambassador (Holbrooke) has spoken to the Pakistanis. They understand that the threat of terrorism is a threat to them as well as to us," he said. (ANI)

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