October 1999 News

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Pak rules out army pullout from LoC

19 October 1999
Daily Excelsior

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan today firmly ruled out any possibility of a troops pull-back from the Line of Control in Kashmir saying that the situation there was volatile and it would not be prudent to lower our guard and regretted that India’s response to Army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf’s talks offer was not positive.

We all know (that) the situation regarding the LoC is qualitatively different, Pakistani Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed told reporters here adding that the LoC had always been volatile with heavy concentration of troops across it.

Under the present circumstances of shelling and indiscriminate firing by Indian troops, it is not prudent to lower our guards, Ahmed said, in his first press briefing since the army takeover on October 12.

He was reacting to a demand by the US that Pakistan expand Musharraf’s proposed unilateral de-escalation of forces along its international border with India to include forces along the Line of Control in Kashmir to lessen tension between the two neighbours.

Musharraf had in his first televised address on Sunday to the country after the October 12 coup offered to hold an unconditional and result-oriented dialogue with India and announced a unilateral de-escalation of troops along its international border with India.

Speaking in New Delhi, hours after Musharraf’s offer to reduce troops, National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, noted that the withdrawal was along the international border and not the LoC in Kashmir as agreed between DGMOs of the two countries in Attari in July. Army chief V P Malik also dismissed the offer as not amounting to much militarily.

Ahmed said it was unfortunate that India had not responded positively to Musharraf’s offer for an unconditional and result-oriented dialogue. Musharraf’s offer was an important initiative In terms of confidence-building, and was made in good faith, he said.

The responsibility for creating the requisite atmosphere lies with India, he said. Mishra had made it clear on Sunday that New Delhi would talk to any regime in Pakistan provided cross-border terrorism was stopped.


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