May 2002 News

Bid to enter PoK may lead to war: Pak.

19 May 2002
The Hindu
B Muralidhar Reddy

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has said that any attempt by India to cross into Pakistan- occupied Kashmir (PoK) could lead to a war. The press secretary to the Pakistan President and the Director General of Inter Services Public Relations, Rashid Quereshi, at the same time argued that it would not be easy for India to cross into PoK. He told reporters in Lahore that due to the difficult terrain and mountainous region, India was not in a position to make a ''thrust'' into PoK, where aircraft and tanks could not be used like occupied Palestine where Israelis were using such weapons freely. Maj. Gen. Quereshi claimed that Pakistan had made ''full military preparations to the extent required'' to meet any war imposed by India. He asserted that India would have to think a hundred times before launching a full-scale war against Pakistan. ''I think India will not launch a full-scale war, but there is a danger of an Indian attack on Azad Kashmir and the working boundary,'' he said. He alleged that the Indian forces at the Line of Control had resumed artillery fire, which had stopped during the past one year, and it was now hitting the civilian population. Maj. Gen. Quereshi alleged that the Indian Government''s actions in the last few days, including the directive to the Pakistan High Commissioner, Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, to leave the country within a week, clearly indicated that India wanted to aggravate the situation. ''India must remember that Pakistan is not Palestine which can be easily attacked,'' he said. Referring to the Jammu incident, he debunked the charges against Pakistan as Indian propaganda. He wanted to know why Pakistan should commit an action that would cause harm to it and benefit India. He said India had no proof of Pakistanis'' involvement in the incident. Recovery of mere chocolate wraps bearing ''made in Pakistan'' could not be a valid proof. How could terrorists carry with them their identity symbols? he asked. Why would they fire on a passenger bus when they were on a mission to attack a military camp and why would they kill women and children? He was of the view that the bus had been hit by the firing of the Indian troops.


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