The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Musharraf raises rhetoric heat

Karachi, Sept. 17: Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today said if India wanted escalation, “we have no problem, we are also ready”.

Musharraf said the Pakistani armed forces were fully equipped with the latest weaponry in comparison with the enemy, referring to India.

“Everything depends on threat perception, and to see as to what your enemy is in possession of and what is your strategy and whether you have the equipment according to that strategy,” he said while talking to the official news agency, APP, during a visit to the defence exhibition, IDEAS-2002. He also had a luncheon meeting with various foreign delegates.

Musharraf observed that Pakistan possessed very good equipment to counter the current external threat but it was a little less prepared to handle a high-tech threat.

Replying to a question, Musharraf said there was currently no indication of withdrawal of forces from the borders. “There could be some movement in the wake of elections in the India-held Kashmir and what happens thereafter, we will see,” he said, adding: “We have no problem, we are not perturbed at all.”

Musharraf said keeping Pakistani forces at the borders did not involve any significant expense, nor did it overburden the economy.

“We have made all arrangements and there is nothing of the sort to worry about,” the President said, pointing out that the morale of his troops was very high. We have no problem with the troops being on the borders. Rather they are happy over there, he added. “Hence, if they (India) want escalation, we have no problem, we are also ready,” the President declared.

Replying to another query, Musharraf said Pakistan was vigorously trying to export its defence products. “We are trying for the export of bigger products and equipment like tanks, aircraft etc, and, insha-allah, these will be exported, because these are very successful items, in particular the army’s ‘al-Zarrar’ and ‘al-Khalid’ tanks,” he said.

Similarly, the Pakistani air force’s ‘Mushshak’ series, particularly the Super-7 and KK-8 aircraft, which will make its debut in June, 2003, were very successful, he said.

“These are cost-effective, not being expensive, and technologically-advanced,” he added.

To a question on the smashing of terrorist networks, Musharraf said it would result in an improvement in law and order all over the country because of the breakthrough achieved.

The President claimed that most of the local extremists, who would unnecessarily kill people in churches and caused the blast in Taxila, had all been either killed or apprehended.

He observed there were foreign elements who had entered Pakistan and said they should leave our motherland and carry out their nefarious activities outside the country. Why are they doing these ghastly and abhorrent acts in Pakistan, he wondered.

Musharraf said Pakistan had achieved significant success in arresting these foreign elements in Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad and, as a result, there had been a lot of improvement and no bomb blast during the last three months.

With regard to sectarian violence that involved the killing of doctors, the President said no such thing had occurred in the last eight months.

Farooq charge

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah has charged Musharraf with being “directly involved in disrupting the polls in the state”, says a PTI report.

“...In previous Assembly elections, the Pakistani regime was not putting a full thrust on sabotaging the democratic exercise,” Abdullah said, when asked whether there was any difference in Pakistan’s role in the polls as compared to 1996. “Today Pakistan has thrown everything at its disposal to sabotage the elections...” he added.

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