- ISLAMABAD - The `mysterious'
unidentified flying objects (UFOs) sighted in the skies of Balochistan
on August 15 were possibily Ghauri-III test missiles of Pakistan,
according to Stratfor, a U.S. intelligence consulting company.
- The Pakistani daily, The News, in a report from
Washington quoting Stratfor has said Pakistan possibly resumed
flying Ghauri-III for the first time.
- Pakistani papers carried detailed reports on August 16
about the UFOs sighted in the Quetta region and the local authorites
confirmed the reports. The following day an Army spokesman said the
matter was under investigation. And that was the end of the matter.
- According to Stratfor, an eyewitness description of the
UFOs fits in with the the 75-foot tall Ghauri-III. ``It is possible
that the missile broke up or was purposely destroyed in flight before
- The News report quoting the company said Ghauri-III
would represent an important leap in Pakistani technology, allowing the
military to strike targets deep inside India. The missile, a version
of the North Korean Taopo Dong, has an estimated range of 2,880 km and
can carry a payload of about 91 kg.
- The missle engine was successfully tested at Kahuta on
September 30, 1999. Stratfor believed that since Pakistan did not respond
to the Indian test last June, it had a reason to do so now following
the escalation of tensions with the announcement (and subsequent revocation)
of ceasefire by the Hizbul Mujahideen.
- ``The fact that the incident took place as far from
the Indian border and Indian monitoring as possible may indicate
that Islamabad is attempting to advance its missile programme in a
secret manner'', the report said.
- The Air Force operates a major base just west of Quetta
and used the surrounding land as a missile test range. In 1988, the
range was used as the impact site for a missile test.
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