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'We will retaliate Indian strikes, even in PoK: Pakistan

'We will retaliate Indian strikes, even in PoK: Pakistan

Author: Agencies
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: May 22, 2002
URL: http://www.indian-express.com/archive_full_story.php?content_id=3140

Pakistan today warned that any cross-border action by India, including in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, would provoke retaliation. Military spokesman Major General Rashid Qureshi told the AFP news agency, ''Any incursions into Pakistani territory or Azad Kashmir (PoK) will be responded to and met with full force.''

The US, meanwhile, continued efforts to defuse tensions, saying it wanted General Pervez Musharraf to fulfill his commitment to end cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. There is ''a lot of active diplomacy'' on the Pakistan front and ''we take the assurances and commitments that President Musharraf made'' that Pakistan would ''end activity across the line of control form the territory of Pakistan, that they would deal with the infrastructure of terrorism,'' US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said.

''We take those quite seriously, expect them to be fulfilled,' she added. Rice was briefing correspondents on President Bush's forthcoming visit to Moscow, shortly after Defence Secretary Yogendra Narain met US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who is expected to travel to India and Pakistan in June.

The US is in constant touch with India and Pakistan, added the outgoing US Ambassador in Islamabad, Wendy Chamberlin. ''US President George Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell are urging both the nations to observe restraint to de-escalate the prevailing tense situation on both sides of the border,'' she said.

However, Musharraf's attempts to drum up a political consensus suffered a serious setback today, with Pakistan's main political alliance saying it was boycotting a meeting called by the General on Wednesday to discuss how to tackle border tensions with India. Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, leader of the 15- party Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy, said he would meet Musharraf only if the President agreed to discuss formation of an interim government to replace the military government.

''There is a national consensus that there should be an interim government and the armed forces should only defend the country's frontiers,'' he said.

The 'All Parties Conference' (APC) of Opposition on Sunday had asked Musharraf to resign and hand over to a neutral caretaker government that it said should face the ''threat'' posed by India and hold free and fair elections.

Khan said the alliance had taken its decision after consulting leaders of its constituent parties as well as leaders of an alliance of Islamic parties - Mutthida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) - that had attended Sunday's APC in Lahore. MMA was also likely to announce a similar boycott, alliance sources said.

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