( dpa ) - Pakistan on Saturday said it had bolstered security for its nuclear weapons in recent months, but ruled out the possibility of Islamic militants or al-Qaeda terrorists getting them under their control.
"Around 10,000 well-trained soldiers are guarding our nuclear assets and we have a foolproof multi-tier security system," said Strategic Plan Division head Lieutenant General Khalid Ahmed Kidwai.
In a briefing to the foreign media in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, he admitted that al-Qaeda and pro-Taliban militants could try to target the country's nuclear facilities.
"We are conscious of the threat. The attacks have not taken place as yet but these cannot be ruled out," he said. "The state of alertness has gone up in recent months.
"We will pre-empt any attack but if we can't in terms of intelligence, we will minimize the damage," Kidwai said, adding such attacks could take place anywhere in the world, including the United States.
The general said even if the terrorists get hold of a nuclear weapon they would not be able to use it because the weapon had its own internal security system.
Those expressing concerns that the nuclear weapons could fall into "the so-called wrong hands" are not aware of the ground realities in Pakistan and lack information, said Kidwai in the briefing aimed at easing the worries of Western countries about the safety of Pakistan's non-conventional weapon systems.
He also dismissed the fears that current political turmoil and rising militancy could lead to a situation where the jihadi elements could take over the government and eventually country's around 50 atomic bombs.
"There is no conceivable scenario, political or violent in which the Pakistan will fall to the extremists of the al-Qaeda or Taliban type," he said.