Sunday, May 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Pak told to recall High Commissioner
PM visits Army Headquarters’ Operations Room
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 18
India today asked Pakistan to withdraw its High Commissioner here Ashraf Jehangir Qazi within a week after the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) took this decision.

Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner Jalil Abbas Jilani was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs here at 3 pm and was communicated the Government’s decision by Mr Arun Singh, Joint Secretary (Pakistan) in the Ministry, MEA spokesperson Nirupama Rao told reporters this evening.

Ms Rao said this “significant” step was taken by the Government of India after the detailed examination of the situation in the wake of the May 14 Kaluchak terrorist strikes which demonstrated that the Pak-sponsored infiltration remained high, terrorist training camps continued to function in Pakistan and Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Islamabad continued to aid and abet cross border terrorism in India.

The CCS, which met this morning under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, had decided to ask Pakistan to recall Mr Qazi.

The CCS deliberated for two hours in two sessions in quick succession. In the first session senior officers of the three defence services were present in addition to all the permanent members of the CCS — Union Ministers for Home, Defence, External Affairs and Finance, Principal Secretary to PM and National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra and the three Service Chiefs, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh told reporters as he emerged from the meeting.

In this session, senior officers of the three services briefed the Cabinet Committee on the current military situation, the military preparations and the strategies to be adopted.

In the second session, the permanent members of the CCS, including the three Service Chiefs, met minus the senior officials.

The CCS reviewed the situation arising out of May 14 terrorist attacks in Kaluchak near Jammu which the Vajpayee government has put at par with the December 13 terrorist attack on Parliament.

Mr Jaswant Singh said the CCS had given a direction to his Ministry that Pakistan should be told to recall Mr Qazi for the sake of parity. India had recalled its High Commissioner in Pakistan, Vijay Nambiar, after the Parliament attack and since then New Delhi has been dealing with Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner here for protocol purposes.

The Minister said very extensive and heavy damage was caused on the Pakistani side by Indian troops who retaliated to unprovoked firing along the International Boundary since last morning.

Earlier in the morning, the Prime Minister visited the Operations Room at Army Headquarters in South Block where he was briefed about the situation on the border by the three Service Chiefs and top military commanders, including the Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO), Lt-Gen S.S. Chahal, and the Director-General of Military Intelligence (DGMI), Lt-Gen O.S. Lochab. Mr Vajpayee spent about 45 minutes in the War Room.Back


PM reschedules Manali visit, to go to J&K
Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 18
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, has postponed his visit to Manali in view of the tension between India and Pakistan. He will now reach Manali on May 24 instead of May 20. It is learnt that the state government today received a message informing it of the postponement of the PM’s programme.

Meanwhile, a report from New Delhi said Mr Vajpayee would visit Jammu and Kashmir early next week to assess the security concerns and take stock of the developing situation, particularly in the context of the forthcoming elections to the state Assembly.Back

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