PAK CAUTIONS INDIA
‘Misadventure Would Lead To Terrible Catastrophe’
REZAUL H LASKAR/PTI
Islamabad, May 5: Pakistan army and the government Thursday reacted sharply warning India against any Abbottabad-like "misadventure", saying it would be responded to "very strongly" that could lead to a "terrible catastrophe".
The warning came after a meeting of the Corps Commanders chaired by Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani which decided to reduce the level of US military personnel in Pakistan and threatened to review intelligence cooperation with it, if a repeat of "violation of sovereignty" like on Monday occurred.
Reacting to statements by Army Chief Gen V K Singh and Air Chief Air Marshal P V Naik that India has the capacity to carry out an operation similar to US forces eliminating Osama bin Laden, first Pakistan Foreign Secretary told a press conference that any country that attempts to "mimic" the unilateral act of the US will find it has made a "basic miscalculation".
"We see a lot of bravado in our own region. There have been statements that have come from across (the border), by senior people from the military and air force, which state that this can be repeated. We feel that sort of misadventure or miscalculation would result in a terrible catastrophe," he said in his opening remarks.
Later, the military issued a statement after the Corps Commanders meeting, saying, "The forum, taking serious note of the assertions made by Indian military leadership about conducting similar operations, made it very clear that any misadventure of this kind will be responded to very strongly. There should be no doubt about it."
The meeting held at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi issued the warning after reviewing the operation in which bin Laden was killed on Monday.
Referring to the US raid, Kayani "made it very clear that any similar action, violating the sovereignty of Pakistan, will warrant a review on the level of military (and) intelligence cooperation with the United States."
The Corps Commanders were also informed about a decision "to reduce the strength of US military personnel in Pakistan to the minimum essential." The statement did not say how many US military personnel would be asked to leave Pakistan.
In the face of continuing media reports that the US has plans to secure Pakistan's nuclear assets in the event of a takeover by extremists, the army's top commanders made it clear that targeting the atomic arsenal would not be as simple as hitting bin Laden's compound.
"As regards the possibility of similar hostile action against our strategic assets, the forum reaffirmed that, unlike an undefended civilian compound, our strategic assets are well protected and an elaborate defensive mechanism is in place," the statement said.
OFFICIALS, ARMY TRYING TO SUBVERT PM AGENDA
Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said accused Indian establishment and its armed forces of trying to subvert Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's agenda by making statements which were a "matter of grave concern".
"I only see them (statements) as symptomatic of trends and tendencies within Indian establishment and their armed forces to subvert the agenda of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. I don't think Indian leadership would really subscribe to this," Bashir said in a press briefing here.
Prime Minister Singh has been keen on having normal ties with Pakistan by bridging trust deficit between the two countries and recently India agreed to hold comprehensive talks on all bilateral issues, more than two years after New Delhi suspended talks with Islamabad following 2008 Mumbai attacks.
CHINA STANDS BY PAK
China Thursday strongly came to its rescue, saying the global community should "understand and support" Islamabad's anti-terrorism efforts.
"Pakistan is at the forefront of international counter terrorism efforts. As for question, the international community should understand and support Pakistan," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said.
She was replying to a question about US criticism on Pakistan's anti-terrorism efforts in the light of the discovery of bin Laden residing close to a military academy and calls for Washington's aid to Islamabad.
"We support Pakistan's position and understand and support Pakistan formulating and implementing counter- terrorism strategy based on it national conditions," she said, reiterating her stand two days ago extending firm backing for Islamabad in the face international criticism after Osama was spotted and killed by US forces in Abbottabad.
Jiang said China also appreciated "Pakistan's active participation in international counter-terrorism efforts".
Lastupdate on : Thu, 5 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 5 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 6 May 2011 00:00:00 IST
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