Thursday, February 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Clinton may face threat in Pak

WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (UNI) — The US secret service fears President Bill Clinton’s life would be in danger if he visits Pakistan next month because the nation’s security service has been heavily infiltrated by anti-American militants, says the Washington Times quoting a senior US official.

National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger, Terrorism Adviser Dick Clark and other top officials are to meet today at the White House to consider whether Mr Clinton should include Pakistan in his visit to India and Bangladesh next month.

US officials also fear that information on procedures used to protect travelling presidents could be used by terrorists with a “global reach” to threaten the lives of future American leaders.

“The host government provides 95 per cent of the protection for a President on a visit,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Only the last five per cent is provided by our secret service people. “It’s where their security people interact with ours that they can learn about our methods, techniques and secrets,” said the official.

“This would endanger the life of President Clinton in Pakistan and on other trips. It also threatens future US Presidents. These terrorists are transnationals and operate around the world.”

The US official detailed other security concerns, including the threat that Islamic extremists from Afghanistan, who move easily across the border with Pakistan, could attack any airport used by Mr Clinton, the daily says.

“They have experience with long-range shelling,” said the official.

He said that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency had been working for years with anti-American groups such as the Harkat-ul Mujahideen, which was on the State Department’s list of terrorist groups. The group is suspected of hijacking an Indian Airlines jet last December. One of its leaders was freed from an Indian prison in exchange for the release of the passengers and crew.

Pakistan’s ISI also has dealt for years with known terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, believed to be responsible for the 1996 bombing of US army barracks in Saudi Arabia and the bombing of two US embassies in Africa in 1998.


USA may lift more sanctions against India

WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (PTI) — US President Bill Clinton may lift some of the post-Pokhran nuclear tests sanctions against India before his visit to New Delhi next month, The Washington Times reported today.

A senior Clinton administration official told the paper that the President might use his authority to waive some more of the punitive measures before his visit to India.

He also said India had expressed its desire to purchase weapons from the USA mainly laser-guided bombs, radar-controlled gun batteries, submarine periscopes and other equipments.

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