Musharraf Says Nobody Will
Be Handed Over To India
By Shakil Shaikh

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan announced Wednesday that India would regret if it decides to commit aggression, as all major steps to safeguard the country have been taken.

"Pakistan wants peace and de-escalation, but enemy will be responded adequately on land, air and at high sea," President General Pervez Musharraf told the joint meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) and Federal Cabinet here Wednesday. The meeting was attended by NSC-Cabinet members, some senior military leaders and governors of the provinces.

The president informed the meeting that the question of handing over anybody to India did not arise. "If there is any allegation against any of the individual, the evidence should be provided to us. The government of Pakistan will examine the evidence and act against those elements under the law of the land," Gen. Musharraf said.

President Musharraf on Wednesday chaired at least three highly strategic meetings: Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee meeting, joint NSC-Cabinet meeting, and inter-provincial meeting on law and order.

Addressing the NSC-Cabinet meeting, President Musharraf expressed the hope that there would be no conflict, no clash but if any attack is launched against Pakistan, India would be inflicted damage it would not like to have.

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Muhammad Aziz, Foreign Secretary Inamul Haq and Cabinet Secretary gave extensive briefings on the existing situation on borders with state of Pakistan army's preparedness, the intense phase of international diplomacy to avert war and the preparations made for civil defence with checking of food stock, communications and other matters.

Briefing newsmen, Secretary Information Syed Anwar Mehmood quoted President Musharraf as saying: "Frequent contacts with world leaders are being maintained, as Pakistan would never be the first to start war."

President Musharraf also removed all illusions on the Pakistani response to Indian moves saying "we will hit back strongly and as effectively as possible." He said Pakistan would be defended with the spirit of Iman and by the grace of Almighty Allah, as the Pakistani nation would stand united at this critical juncture.

In the briefings, it was revealed that Indians have deployed several corps and mechanized divisions on advanced offensive position. The meeting, said information secretary, took serious note of the announcement of Indian military exercises.

President Musharraf also announced that "the question of handing over anybody to India does not arise, as some people are trying to create a perception that what measures are being taken in Pakistan against terrorism are stemmed from the fact of being under pressure."

Information Secretary Anwar Mehmood said action against terrorists and some organisations, and the deweaponisation drive were initiated much before the September 11 incident, and it was cabinet which approved amendments in the anti-terrorist act and the president announced banning of some organisations with two more on the watch list.

"A national policy was formed, as it is in Pakistan's interest to take such measures," said Mehmood.

He said some four RAW agents were nabbed and produced before a Sindh court for their involvement in terrorist attack on a railcar on December 25. "The investigations have now been completed, and it has been proved that RAW was behind all this, as four of its agents have now been taken into custody," said the secretary.

He said Pakistan is always supportive of dialogue to be held anywhere; any time and problems should be resolved through civilized process of talks. He said the world leaders are appreciating Pakistan's policy of restraint. "We want peace but not at the cost of our dignity and honour," said the information secretary.

About civil defence preparations in case of war, Mehmood said all the matters on that count will be dealt with by a seven-member core committee comprising several secretaries.

Forces ready to repel aggression: president

By our correspondent

ISLAMABAD: President General Pervez Musharraf said Wednesday that Pakistan armed forces are prepared to respond effectively to any aggression. "I have fullest satisfaction with the operational preparedness of the three services," said the president while chairing a meeting of the Joint Chiefs' of Staff Committee (JCSC)

The JCSC was briefed on the government efforts to call upon world leaders to influence India not to go for war. "The president commended the three services for their excellent contingency plans," said an official announcement.

"It reflects not only the will and resolve of the Pakistan Armed Forces but also their capability of responding in a manner that would cause unacceptable damage to the enemy," he said. The chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, the services chiefs and other senior military officers attended the consultations and operational briefings at the Joint Staff Headquarters. They reviewed the prevailing situation along the country's land, sea and air frontiers.

It is learnt comprehensive briefings were given by the three services on the threat being posed to the country from unprecedented Indian military buildup. These briefings also covered the counter measures that were being taken by the Pakistan Armed Forces to thwart any misadventure by the adversary.
The News International, Pakistan

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