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Optimistic on Border Crisis, Pakistani Says

January 26, 1987|From Reuters

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Prime Minister Mohammed Khan Junejo said Sunday he is confident that a war can be avoided despite the current buildup of troops along the border.

However, he also asserted that Pakistan is ready to vigorously defend itself.

In a speech to a special session of Parliament, summoned to discuss the current border crisis, he said, "I am not raising any alarm, but we do need to be vigilant. . . . The situation does not permit complacency."

Junejo said Pakistan is striving for peace with India but warned against any miscalculation of its resolve.

'Every Inch of Soil'

"Let nobody be in any doubt that every inch of our soil would be defended resolutely," he declared as members of Parliament banged on their desks in approval.

"Irresponsible actions would be catastrophic. . . . I am confident that such untoward consequences can be completely averted."

The joint session was called after India accused Pakistan of mobilizing its forces and declared a military alert on Friday. India sent about 60,000 troops to key positions near the Indian border at Fazilka and Sialkot.

The Islamic republic, which has fought three wars with its predominantly Hindu neighbor since they both became independent of Britain in 1947, strongly denied the charges and offered to hold immediate talks to defuse tension. India has agreed to the talks, but no date has been set.

Zia Leaves for Kuwait

Pakistani President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq reacted calmly Sunday by leaving for an Islamic summit meeting in Kuwait, as planned.

He told journalists at the Islamabad airport that reported remarks by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi indicating that India is ready for talks are "positive."

"I hope that with . . . mutual efforts by the two countries, we will be able to overcome the current unnecessarily created crisis," said Zia.

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