Thursday, September 20, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Confusion in Pak army ranks
Focus shifts from Jammu and Kashmir
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 19
Under pressure from the USA for playing a positive role in getting Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden for his suspected role in the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the Pakistani military establishment is in a state of confusion.

There is reportedly not only dissention among the Corps Commanders over what strategy Islamabad should adopt, but the Pakistan army has also specifically not been able to concentrate on creating trouble in Jammu and Kashmir. The mercenaries holed up in Jammu and Kashmir are without any clear directions on what disruptive steps to take.

As a result, Military Intelligence reports say, the mercenaries here have not been able to carry out fidayeen attacks with the same frequency as they were doing earlier. Except for the attack on Monday, in which nine policemen were killed, the terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir have been under control.

While the Army units posted along the border with Pakistan are on extra alert and even the Indian Air Force has increased surveillance along the border, reports say that there was a noticeable decline in the mercenaries’ activities. This was because their operatives in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistan army were at present engaged in pulling their country out of the mess that it has fallen in after the bombings in New York and Washington.

Sources here said that the lull in mercenaries’ activities in Jammu and Kashmir was a clear indication that Pakistan was not wanting to operate on too many fronts at the same time. It is reflective of the turmoil prevailing within Pakistan after the terrorist attacks in the USA.

Not only is Pakistan under pressure from the USA to play a positive role in the present crisis, but it also under pressure from the clerics within the country to not buckle under Washington force.

Islamabad also faces a threat of an attack from the Taliban if it allows the USA to use its land to launch attacks against the terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan.

Reports say that although the Pakistan army has given President Pervez Musharraf a go-ahead in whatever strategy he may adopt, there is a strong division within the Corps Commanders.

All these factors have for the time being helped in shifting the attention from Jammu and Kashmir. Reports said that the terrorists were maintaining a low on specific instructions as incidents now would put Islamabad under further pressure.

It would also help India in stressing internationally again on Pakistan’s involvement in abetting terrorists and mercenaries operating in Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army is in a high state of alert as there were also reports of a large number of mercenaries wanting to cross into India after the closing down of a number of terrorist training camps in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir. 


Protests spread

Islamabad, September 19
Pakistani protests against an expected US attack on Afghanistan spread along the volatile border region today, with demonstrators burning American flags and praising Osama bin Laden.

There was anger in the scenic Swat Valley, in the North of the Afghanistan border area, as more than 1,000 persons marched through Mingora in a peaceful demonstration fronted by a street-wide banner that read “terrorist America”. Reuters


Musharraf: USA not targeting Islam

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf addresses the nation in Islamabad on wednesday. — Reuters photo

Islamabad, September 19
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf tonight said the USA was not targeting Islam or the people of Afghanistan in its pursuit of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

In a televised address to the nation, he said the USA had sought use of Pakistan airspace for possible attacks on Bin Laden.

He referred to the UN resolution on terrorism and said it was meant to punish those who indulged in such activities. The resolution had the support of all Islamic countries.

He said the USA’s first target was Bin Laden followed by the Taliban who had given shelter to him and his outfit Al Qeida. Its third target was terrorism.

General made an astounding attack on India accusing it of bringing bad name to his country and Islam and asked New Delhi to “lay off’’ from such “propaganda’’. PTIBack

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