June 1999 News

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A propaganda disaster for Pakistan

13 June 1999
Hindustan Times

Opinion among members of Congress, think tank specialists and US corporate institutions is increasingly turning against Pakistan with regard to the Kargil crisis. What Pakistan obviously considered a strategic coup is rapidly turning into a foreign policy and propaganda disaster.

A news advisory from the Henry L. Stimson Center, a well respected nonpartisan organisation, pointed out yesterday that "the scope of the current military operations to seize the heights overlooking Kargil and other towns and to disrupt the road India uses to resupply Ladakh, as well as the equipment, logistics, artillery, and communications support necessary to carry out such an offensive, all suggest the direct involvement of the Government of Pakistan, the army, and the intelligence services."

The Stimson Center also debunks the Pakistani claim that the Line of Control(LoC) around Kargil is not clearly defined. It points out that annexes to the Simla Agreement, initialled by Indian and Pakistani representatives, include detailed maps which delineate the LoC in all sectors except for the Siachen Glacier area. The Center also expresses some concern about the future of Pakistan. "The more Pakistan supports lawless elements across the LoC, the more lawlessness will grow within Pakistan itself," it states.

The Stimson advisory warns that Pakistan is at a crossroads: It can either follow up the Lahore Declaration seeking a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute and improved relations with India, or become mired in a never ending insurgency against its neighbour.

"One choice leads towards a more secure democracy, better relations with the West, and a better life for ordinary Pakistanis. The other choice leads towards the Talibanization of Pakistan." Meanwhile, Congressman Bill McCollum, Florida Republican, came out strongly against Pakistan in the House of Representatives yesterday.

"The current crisis apparently began when a heavily armed, and considerably large force comprising Islamic terrorists and Pakistani regulars, including some of Osama bin Ladenís followers, crossed the Line of Control into India, occupying Indian military positions that had been temporarily abandoned for the winter season," the Congressman said.

"There should be no doubt that this operation could not have taken place without the direct support from, and authorisation of, the highest levels of government in Islamabad." McCollum pointed out that it was certainly in the US interest to ensure stability in the region. "India is important to our national security in an increasingly dangerous area," he said. "India and the United States share common bonds in fighting terrorism. We also share growing concerns with China too. India is justified in taking action to remove these terrorists from within its borders. If these infiltrators are allowed in with no action to expel them, it will only embolden others to take their place."

Dean R. OíHare, Chairman of the US India Business Council and Chairman and CEO of the Chubb Corporation, also issued a statement yesterday welcoming a US Senate resolution suspending for five years the law requiring the US government to impose broad punitive economic sanctions against India and Pakistan.

OíHare made pointed reference to the fact that the legislation included language that made it clear that the flexibility of waiver authority given to the President was not to be used for "any party that initiates or supports activities that jeopardise peace and security in Jammu and Kashmir."

OíHare maintained that given the evidence that had emerged concerning Pakistanís role in attempting to destabilise Kashmir, "the language reflects a strong Senate view that trouble makers must not be rewarded for their dangerous activities."

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