Situation dangerous in Pakistan, says US special envoy
The US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, warned on April 19 that no other place in the world today faced a more dangerous situation than Pakistan,. In an interview to CNN, Holbrooke said Pakistan also faced a "very difficult economic situation" and needed immediate help. "This is a really dangerous situation in Pakistan today and we are focussed on this very heavily," said Holbrooke. Asked if the terrorist threat could cause Pakistan to collapse, the US envoy said that President Asif Ali Zardari and other Pakistani leaders too conceded that it was a very dangerous situation. "Swat is not in the tribal areas. It is only 100 miles from Islamabad … it is like East Hampton and Manhattan … people from Islamabad went to Swat for holidays … it is really an extraordinary situation." Ambassador Holbrooke termed the current situation in Pakistan as ‘very perilous’ and claimed that the militants operating from Swat and FATA had already increased their reach to Punjab. "There can be more terrorist attacks in cities like Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi," he warned.
He opined the Swat truce always seemed like a confused deal to him. The Pakistani military, he said, felt that it was ‘stretched thin’ and that’s why it concluded this deal. Holbrooke pointed out that if the Pakistani military wanted to persuade the militants to lay down their arms by concluding this deal, it did not succeed in doing so. The chief spokesman for the Swat Taliban "publicly renounced the part of the deal that requires the militants to lay down arms", he said, adding "You cannot deal with these people by giving away territory. They are now getting closer and closer to Islamabad and Punjab."