Saturday, September 15, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak Commanders submit proposals

Islamabad, September 14
A day after Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf pledged US President George Bush his country’s “unstinted” co-operation to deal with Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect behind the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the country’s all powerful military Commanders today made a set of recommendations for the Cabinet’s approval.

A hurriedly convened meeting of Corps Commanders and Principal Staff Officers of the Pakistan Army which has been summoned by General-Musharraf to discuss a list of demands handed over by the officials to apprehend Laden, made a number of recommendations to be submitted to the Cabinet and the National Security Council, for approval, an official statement here said this evening.

The statement did not specify the recommendations but said all Corps Commanders attended the meeting suggesting there were no divisions in the Army in acceding to the US request as being speculated in the international media.

Defence spokesman Maj Gen Rashid Quershi declined to specify the recommendations made by the Corp Commanders’ meeting.

The meeting was held in the backdrop of speculations that Gen Musharraf, who was busy during the past few days receiving calls from top US officials got the endorsement for the list of demands given by USA, which included permitting the American and NATO security force to use the Pakistani airspace. PTI 


Pakistan tense on possible US action

Islamabad, September 14
Pakistan’s military government tightened security today as fears grew that the USA may take retribution against neighbouring Afghanistan for terror attacks that killed thousands in America.

Although embassies said they have not yet ordered an evacuation, several multinational companies have told staff to leave or prepare to leave Pakistan.

Pakistan is the main backer of the Taliban movement that runs most of Afghanistan and which has given a safe haven to Osama bin Laden.

The Army closed Islamabad International Airport to commercial flights for two-and-a-half hours before dawn today for the movement of military equipment, witnesses and aviation officials said.

In Karachi, the country’s largest city, at least 200 soldiers were stationed throughout the international airport.

In the capital, soldiers were added to the usual contingent of police and paramilitary guards on streets. All cars entering the main diplomatic area were checked.

The tension in Pakistan has been increased by the predicament of military ruler General Pervez Musharraf, who is under intense US pressure to assist in the hunt for those behind the attacks, but knows that a large part of his population is vehemently opposed to aiding an anticipated attack on Afghanistan.

“US policymakers may not feel that Pakistani public opinion matters more than American, but if it hopes to obtain full Pakistani cooperation and if it contemplated action in this area, it would be better if it could muster more support for any action than it presently has,” said The Nation newspaper.

Pakistani Muslim clerics, close to Afghan’s ruling Taliban, have warned Pakistan against helping Washington to carry out retaliatory strikes on Afghanistan.

To many, Bin Laden is a hero for his anti-Western views.

At the public level, religious schools in Pakistan continue to provide a stream of recruits for the Taliban.

Spokesmen said most oil and gas exploration companies — among the few foreign investors still active in supporting Pakistan’s shaky economy — have instructed their expatriate staff to leave as soon as possible.

During this morning’s closure of the airport, two aircraft of state carrier Pakistan International Airlines were diverted to Karachi, the airline said. Reuters

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