‘Support Musharraf because Pakistan a dangerous place’
* Armitage says Pak nukes are secure
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations, said here on Sunday that he would urge the US to continue to back Musharraf, because Pakistan had become a very dangerous place.
Interviewed on CNN, Bolton said Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile may be technically secure, but the issue is not whether the weapons are locked away. “It’s a political issue. If the military comes unstuck, if it divides, then the technical fixes won’t protect those weapons.” Musharraf is in a difficult spot, said. “Even the military is filled with Islamic fundamentalists.” Bolton urged US officials to consider more than whether is being ruled democratically. “I’d have to put securing those weapons at the top of our agenda.”
Senator , a Democratic presidential candidate, told CNN he considers the matter important but less pressing. “I’m very concerned about it - not immediately, but over the next year to two years,” he said. “They have 24 to 55 [nuclear] weapons. They have not only the bomb, the thermonuclear device, they have the missile that can couple with the bomb, and it can fly all the way to the Mediterranean.”
Armitage: Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, however, said Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were secure, and cautioned against overreacting. “That nuclear arsenal is, one, dispersed, and second, carefully guarded by the army,” he told CNN. “I think - in the short or even medium term - should things turn badly, we are not going to worry about nuclear weapons in the first instance.”