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Pak. rules out nuclear war

ISLAMABAD, DEC. 27. Pakistan today ruled out the possibility of a nuclear conflict with India despite the escalating tension and denied the latter's charge that it had moved its missiles closer to the border.

The Press Secretary to the Pakistan President, Maj. Gen. Rashid Quereshi, and the Foreign Office spokesman, Mr. Aziz Ahmed Khan, emphasised at a briefing that the build-up on the border was defensive in nature.

Maj. Gen. Quereshi said Pakistan and India were responsible states and there was no way anyone could ``realistically'' think of a nuclear war between the two. Expressing surprise about people ``jumping to conclusions'' about such a war, he argued that ``these (nuclear weapons) are deterrence and not meant to be more than that''.

Both spokespersons asserted that Pakistan's forces were prepared to meet any eventuality on the border and that the Government was alive to the movement of troops by India.

Maj. Gen. Quereshi denied claims made by a reporter that Indian planes had violated Pakistan's airspace a few times in the past two days. ``I do not know where you get it from. Pakistan's armed forces will be aware of all intrusions. I do not think that any such thing happened.''

On the reported statement of the Indian Defence Minister, Mr. George Fernandes, that the troop deployment would be completed in two to three days, Maj. Gen. Quereshi said, ``We are well aware of the Indian Army's deployment. We will take appropriate defensive action.'' He claimed that while exercising maximum restraint, Pakistan had taken all defensive measures to meet any situation. ``We hope better sense will prevail and the situation is not escalated. India knows we have the capacity to retaliate in all conceivable ways.''

On India's charge that Pakistan had moved missiles closer to the border, he said it was incorrect. ``It is another Indian lie. Pakistan has not moved missiles towards the borders. India continues to tell lies in order to justify its own build- up. They (India) have moved all their formations to the border. We know it. We are monitoring that and as minimum defensive measures, we will just move minimum troops if we have to.''

He said Pakistan ``is not engaging in any propaganda and is just telling the truth. It is India which has done this after September 11, when they found to their frustration that the whole world has formed the coalition - including Pakistan - against terrorism, against what happened in New York and Washington.''

India was frustrated, as it was not being asked to assist the coalition and so it had started making things up that had no basis, he claimed. ``They hijacked their own aircraft and blamed Pakistan for it. They arranged strange happenings in India and blamed Pakistan and its intelligence agencies for that. So they are the ones engaging in propaganda.''

He alleged that India refused to recognise reality and what was being said was an effort to convince the world that ``all ills occur in India only because of Pakistan''. From the beginning, Pakistan had been saying that if there was any proof of the involvement of any person or organisation in the attack on the Indian Parliament, then India should present it.

Mr. Khan was emphatic that the ``struggle in Kashmir is indigenous'' and it would continue till the Kashmiris realised their right for self-determination as promised in the U.N. resolutions.