THE KARGIL FUND Set up by The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika
More than a hundred soldiers have already died in the undeclared war in Kargil. Many more are lying injured in hospitals. No assistance is compensation enough for the mother who has lost her son or the wife her husband. But we, the citizens of this country, need to help, in however small a way. The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika are setting up a fund with that modest aim in mind. The fund is being started with an intial contribution of Rs 5 Lakh from the ABP Group. If every reader of The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika donates a small sum, we can raise a huge amount for the families of the soldiers killed or injured in action. As a token of appreciation, both papers will publish the names of donors contributing Rs 500 or more. This is a time to ask yourself what can you do for the nation.   Only account payee cheques and drafts - payable to 'ABP Kargil Fund' - will be accepted. Put the cheque/draft in an envelope with your name and address. Write 'ABP Kargil Fund' and mail it to or deliver (between 10 am and 6 pm except on Sundays) at  
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Calcutta 700001 
Pakistan twin terms for withdrawal
Session-shy saffron sings 3 Ws
Troops score Batalik double
Gunfire drowns peace promise
Indian envoy expelled
Calcutta weather

July 7: 
On the eve of Nawaz Sharif?s return to Pakistan to a hostile reception from the Opposition and defiant militant groups, foreign minister Sartaj Aziz appeared to set terms for withdrawal from Kargil.

Linking the pullout of intruders to India taking steps to resolve the Kashmir dispute and vacating Siachen, Aziz said: ??Kargil cannot be solved in isolation... Even the Washington statement should not be seen in isolation. We want a lasting solution to the core issue of Kashmir.??

The foreign minister said the onus was now on the international community to pressure Delhi into finding a permanent solution to the problem. ??If they don?t respond now, there will be more Kargils here and there,?? he said.

Making it clear that India has to withdraw from Siachen as a quid pro quo, Aziz said: ??Pakistan has agreed to request the freedom fighters to withdraw from Kargil if India also agrees to vacate the areas it occupied on the Line of Control after the Simla Agreement was signed.??

Aziz?s remark comes a day after army chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf said the pullout would not be linked to Siachen.

Though the Pakistani military has stood by Prime Minister Sharif and said it would ask the intruders to ??change position??, an umbrella group of Mujahideen outfits today rejected the government?s appeal to pull out.

??There will be no compromise. There will be no gun down,?? said Sayed Salahuddin, head of the 14-group United Jehad Council on Jammu and Kashmir. ??Our struggle will continue until the last drop of our blood,?? he added.

Salahuddin said while he had great respect for Prime Minister Sharif, ??it does not mean he should make a commitment.... That is tantamount to stabbing the movement in its back??.

Tossing aside Aziz?s terms, Delhi charged Islamabad with trying to create confusion by linking the intrusion to Siachen. ??The Siachen Glacier is not part of the LoC which was agreed to in the Simla Agreement,? foreign ministry spokesman R.S. Jassal said.

At a meeting with President Bill Clinton in Washington on Sunday, Sharif promised to withdraw the intruders and take ??concrete steps?? to restore the LoC.

But the agreement drew a volley of protests in Pakistan, where the Opposition accused the government of ??selling out?? the Kashmiri cause.

The Pakistani Prime Minister, who met his British counterpart Tony Blair on his way back from Washington, was told by London to ensure quick implementation of the withdrawal.

Sharif is due to return tomorrow and hold a meeting with top administration and military officials. Sources said that since the Mujahideen have refused to pull out, the Defence Committee of the Cabinet, the apex decision-making body on security affairs, could be convened to take up the matter.

Hardline parties like the Jamaat-e-Islami have stepped up their attack on the Prime Minister, saying their agitation against the deal Sharif struck with Clinton would continue.

But some Indian officials believe a cornered Islamabad is encouraging the protests at home to convince world leaders that unless it is granted concessions on Kashmir, it will be difficult for the government to make the public accept the withdrawal deal.

The only thing Sharif has to show against agreeing to pull out is an assurance by Clinton to take a personal interest in South Asia, a statement the Pakistani leadership is interpreting for public consumption as a promise to intervene in the Kashmir dispute.

Aziz, who was speaking to the BBC, said the intruders could be persuaded if Clinton took ??personal interest in expediting a solution?? to the Kashmir problem. ??If they (intruders) are sure the world will take note of them and Clinton will show personal interest to solve the Kashmir problem, they may withdraw,?? he said.

Otherwise, the foreign minister added, ??they are entitled to do what they wish to do??.    

New Delhi, July 7: 
The prospect of a special Rajya Sabha session to discuss the Kargil conflict receded further today after Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee refused to make any commitment at the chief ministers? meeting here.

Vajpayee also rejected the Congress? demand for a White Paper on Kargil, but said he would continue to call meetings of chief ministers and all-party meetings ?as and when necessary?.

Chief ministers of states ruled by the BJP and its allies opposed a Rajya Sabha sitting, leaving the Congress and the Left chief ministers in the lurch. Even the Karnataka and Assam chief ministers opposed the proposal, claiming it will be ?counterproductive?.

Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi, who was expected to go along with the Opposition, reportedly did not utter a word. Though the government claimed the Manipur chief minister also remained ?neutral?, a copy of his speech makes it clear he endorsed the demand for a special session.

Information and broadcasting minister Pramod Mahajan tried to play down the rejection of the suggestion. ?The discussions revealed a sharp division of views. The Prime Minister said he would try to evolve a consensus on the issue and examine the proposal afresh,? he told reporters.

In his introductory remarks, home minister L.K. Advani indicated that the BJP planned to politicise the Kargil conflict. Advani said the BJP?s ?four Bs? (Bomb, Bus, Bihar and Budget) were a thing of the past and the party?s favourite alphabet now was ?W?. ?The four Bs will be replaced with the three Ws?Wimbledon, Washington and War,? he said, referring to the Leander Paes-Mahesh Bhupathi win, the Clinton-Sharif declaration and the military successes in Kargil.

Asked by Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh how the Indo-Pakistan border had remained peaceful for 27 years after the Simla Agreement and why the Kargil conflict had erupted within months of the Pokhran nuclear tests and the Lahore bus trip, Advani said a ?proxy war? had always been waged in Punjab and Kashmir.

He said 1,700 soldiers were killed in Punjab between 1984 and 1994, and 1,845 died in Kashmir between 1989 and 1999. The Kargil conflict had claimed only 270 Indian lives and over 500 Pakistani soldiers, Advani said. ?In Punjab and Kashmir, not a single Pakistani was killed though Pakistan had supported the turbulence,? Mahajan quoted Advani as saying.

Assuring the chief ministers that polls will be held on schedule, Advani put the onus of maintaining peace on the states. He told the chief ministers the military and para-military forces would not be available for the elections as they were engaged on the border.

Advani also warned of the threat of ?hit-and-run? strikes by Pakistan?s ISI agents. ?Having failed in Kargil, Pakistan can resort to proxy war through ISI. Evidence of this is already available in Chandigarh and Tamil Nadu,? he said.    

New Delhi, July 7: 
In a victory that is being termed strategically as crucial as those at Tiger Hill and Tololing Ridge, the Indian army hoisted the Tricolour on Jubar Peak and adjoining Point 4268 in the Batalik sub-sector today.

The capture of the positions early today by a battalion of the Bihar regiment means that nearly the entire Srinagar-Leh highway is now free of enemy fire and convoys can proceed without fear.

Jubar Peak is where Major Sarvanan, also of the Bihar regiment, lost his life in the early operations of the Kargil conflict. In the face of relentless firing, the army had found it difficult to reclaim his corpse.

The capture of Jubar is a great boost to the army in the Batalik sub-sector, where the intruders were putting up a much tougher resistance than in Drass during the initial phase of the campaign.

The army had initially suffered quite a few reverses in Batalik, and had to retreat when the intruders waylaid Major Sarvanan and his detachment on their way to the treacherous Jubar peak. With the capture of Point 5203 in mid-June, the Indian army found a foothold in Batalik.

In the last week of June, the war for Batalik hotted up with Indians flattening out the intruders? major supply link at Muntha Dalo, to the extreme north of Batalik, with heavy bombardment from the air. The artillery and mortars provided back-up. Since then almost eight enemy peaks have been regained in the area. The Batalik campaign has acquired a momentum and the Indians are pushing hard towards the Line of Control, the army said.

Army spokesman Colonel Bikram Singh today said there had been no sign of any climbdown in the Pakistani effort to cling on to the places they have occupied in Kargil. ?That is the ground reality,? he said. ?There is no evidence or sign of withdrawal, in fact, we are facing stiffer resistance.? Though there has been no attempt to open a new front and push in intruders at new places, they are still bringing over reinforcements to keep their supply lines open.

In the Batalik sector, the Indians found the bodies of two Pakistani army officers. From the documents on the bodies, the men were identified as Major Asim Ahmed, the ?A? company commander of 6 Northern Light Infantry battalion and Captain Syed Asher Mehboob of 11 Northern Light Infantry battalion.

Col Singh elaborated the difficulties of handing over bodies of Pakistani soldiers and mercenaries to Pakistan. ?They are refusing to accept the bodies of their regulars, even if we are convinced beyond doubt that they are their infantrymen.? Col Singh said no professional force would have done this to their soldiers.

He said all the bodies of the intruders were being given a decent burial. It was proving difficult to bring them down and Indian maulvis were being brought over to perform the last rites before they were buried on the hill tops.

Fierce fighting was on north of Jubar as well. In Drass, operations were on to evict intruders from a spur on Tiger Hill.    

The shells came in a sudden downpour, almost from nowhere, and disintegrated in puffs of dust on the hill behind the battery of field guns.

The gunners skittered about for protection, loudly cursing as they leapt into their bunkers. ?The bastard has gone mad. He is desperate,? cried one of them. ?This isn?t even the time he usually shells us.?

The shells kept coming one after the other, as if someone across with a finger on the button had really gone crazy.

?I thought they were talking of withdrawing,? muttered the bunkered major under his breath. ?They seem to be getting fiercer.?

A few minutes later, the volley of fire from beyond halted. The gunners began loading their own salvos. And then, the bellicose riposte ? an entire battery at work for the next half-hour. ?We?ve just sent across about 2,500 kg of lead and TNT,? the major said after his gun had fallen silent. ?That should keep them occupied awhile.?

Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif may have made chastened noises of vacating the invasion of Upper Kashmir in Washington, but his troops and mercenaries are pushing on, or at least hanging on to their occupation.

Diplomatically, Pakistan may be sounding a withdrawal but Sharif?s raiders are quite busy drowning his promises, whatever their worth, in the sound of their firepower. Far from ebbing, the battle along the Drass-Kaksar-Kargil frontier is intensifying.Although Drass itself was relatively quiet today, its flanks, Pandrass to the south-west and Kaksar to the north-east, were plunged in deafening artillery exchanges all afternoon.

And in Mushkoh valley to Drass?s north, ground and air battles raged. As mopping-up operations around Tiger Hill, the feature that dominates Mushkoh valley, continued, air force fighters launched repeated strikes on the sides of the hill to burn off remaining pockets of resistance.

Clearing Tiger Hill altogether will, perhaps, mark the beginning of the Indian assault on enemy positions in the Mushkoh valley. But that may take some time yet; Tiger Hill has been captured, not entirely cleansed.

?We have taken the Tiger Hill top but we still have to sanitise some surrounding ridges and nullahs before we can consolidate our gains there,? said an artillery commander near Drass.

?The enemy is still quite well-entrenched in Mushkoh and till he is there, we cannot be too sure we have secured the National Highway against enemy menace,? he added.

Evidence of just how well dug in Pakistani and mercenary ranks might be in Mushkoh was all over NH 1A today.

Pandrass and its many gun positions were shelled consistently for two hours late afternoon; Kaksar was under fire at an unprecedented rate; and infantry jawans trying to finish the job around Tiger Hill found their progress effectively impeded.

?Every hilltop that we capture proffers greater proof of the high level of the enemy?s preparedness,? said the artillery commander. ?Every time, the recoveries we make hold new surprises for us.

At Peak 4700, they had enough automatic weapons, rocket launchers, grenades and ammunition to fight off 20 infantry invasions. It is only artillery fire and to some extent the psychological terror of air attacks that soften them up.?

Even as the commander spoke, another round of air attacks commenced on Tiger Hill, littering its sides with little smoke plumes. Having reached the top, the infantry now has a fair idea of enemy positions around the hillside and these air attacks are dictated, precision strikes.

?Now that we are on top, we have to finish them off quickly,? the commander said. ?There is always the chance of a counter-attack if the enemy is given too much time to recover and consolidate again.?

Indian soldiers clearly have no time for promises Mian Nawaz Sharif might be making in world Capitals; there is no evidence on the ground he means them.

And so the battle must go on.    

Islamabad, July 7: 
Pakistan today ordered the expulsion of an Indian high commission official on spying charges and gave him a week to leave the country, two days after he was abducted and severely beaten up by Pakistani intelligence agents.

A foreign ministry statement said the Pakistani government had declared Yograj Vij persona non grata after finding him ?indulging in activities incompatible with his official status?, diplomatic jargon for spying. ?He has been told to leave Pakistan by July 14,? the statement said.

India?s acting deputy high commissioner Ruchi Ghanshyam was summoned by the Pakistani foreign office this afternoon and told of Islamabad?s decision.    

Today?s forecast: Cloudy sky with one or two spells of light rain.

Temperature: Maximum 30.4?C (2?C below normal)
Minimum 25.9?C (normal)

Relative humidity: Maximum 97%
Minimum 81%

Rainfall: 5.1 mm

Sunset: 6.22 pm
Sunrise: 5.01 am

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