Thursday, September 21, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Army supplies for Pak via UAE
From T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Sept 20 — Beleaguered by crisis-ridden economy and virtual isolation by the major western powers, Pakistan’s chief executive, General Pervez Musharraf, is trying to bolster his image by acquiring military supplies by using the United Arab Emirates as conduit.

In a clandestine bid to beat the arms embargo against Pakistan by the big powers, Islamabad is clandestinely tapping the UAE for its direly required military needs. This has caused consternation in western circles as the UAE has not only close relations with Pakistan but also with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

The British Intelligence Service, MI6, has in a secret report to the foreign office in London drawn attention about Islamabad’s covert deal with the UAE to meet its depleting arsenal of armaments.

Defence sources, according to a report in a Pakistani newspaper, said the secret report has been authored by MI6 operatives at the British Consulate in Dubai.

MI6 has expressed grave concern about UAE’s arms buildup and its plan to develop independent nuclear capability. What the MI6 finds disconcerting is the UAE’s arms build up far in excess of its requirements and the size of its armed forces.

The Defence sources said that the British Foreign Office is expected to use MI6’s warning about UAE’s plan to develop its own nuclear capability to alert the United States of America as well as its European partners.

The endeavour of powers like Britain is to galvanise the industrialised countries to intervene indirectly with the specific intent of limiting Pakistan’s sources of weapons supply and further tightening the economic screws on Islamabad.

General Musharraf wants to deflect attention from the growing disaffection to his leadership within the powerful army establishment in Pakistan. He is confronted with fast depleting foreign exchange reserves coupled with the unity moves of certain critical subnationalities posing a threat to his leadership.

A movement of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) and Pakistan’s Oppressed Nations Movement (PONM) has begun taking shape against Gen Musharraf which fired its first salvo in London on September 17. The aim of the MQM and the PONM is to forge unity among the oppressed sections in Pakistan to fight the discrimination unleashed by the Punjabi dominated establishment.

MQM leader Altaf Hussain accused the military regime of following discriminatory policies against Sindh. He accused Gen Musharraf of adopting double standards in implementing various policies which “clearly depicts that the present military regime has decided to exterminate the poor instead of eliminating power.

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