07/0800 HOURS OF 27-5-1998 (WEDNESDAY)

SARWAR : Renouncing the Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee's allegations that Pakistan is interfering in the Indian-held Kashmir, Chairman National Assembly Special Committee on Kashmir, Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar Khan has said that Pakistan is just providing moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris for their right of self-determination.

In a press statement issued in Islamabad, he said that instead of giving Kashmiris this right , India has killed around 65 thousand Kashmiris in its repressive actions and burnt thousands of houses and shops.

Chaudhry Sarwar also condemned threatening statements of the Indian leaders saying that Pakistan wanted to have friendly relations with its neighbours and resolve all issues including Kashmir with India peacefully but this should not be taken as our weakness.

PML-SPOKESMAN : A spokesman of Pakistan Muslim League has strongly criticised the recent statements of the leader of the opposition in which she has tried to viciously implicate the members of Pakistan's armed forces and judiciary in her husband's illegal relations with drug barons at home and abroad.

In a statement in Islamabad the spokesman said Benazir's recent panicky attempt to draw the people's attention away from her husband misdeeds was actually in response to the revelations made by the former SSP Karachi.

The spokesman said Ms. Benazir Zardari was trying to mislead the people at home and abroad with the sole objective of taking possession of her illegal wealth presently frozen by authorities in Switzerland and the UK.

The spokesman said, the former ruling couple stands fully exposed in the eyes of world opinion and Ms. Benazir's old tactics of side-tracking the issues will not restore her image either globally or domestically.

CONGRATULATIONS : Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has appreciated the efficiency of the pilot and co-pilot of the PIA's hijacked plane and termed it a great demonstration of courage and wisdom.

Talking to pilots of the plane on phone, the Prime Minister said every Pakistani is full of such spirit and has the courage of rendering any kind of sacrifice for the security and integrity of the country.

He congratulated the pilots and their families on their courageous attitude and said the whole nation is proud of you.

IBRAHIM : The Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim Khan has expressed serious concern over the Indian unprovoked violence, indiscriminate firing and stepped up activities along the Line of Control.

In a statement issued in Muzaffarabad , AJK President called upon the world community and Islamic Ummah to take serious notice of hegemonistic designs of India towards its neighbouring countries.

PAK-RUSSIA : Pakistan will continue to make efforts for strengthening friendly relations and broad-based co-operation with Russia in all spheres of life.

This was stated by the Pakistan's Ambassador to Russia, Mr. Mansoor Alam, while addressing a conference in Moscow to commemorate 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Referring to the recent Indian nuclear explosions and its negative impact on Pakistan's security, the Ambassador hoped that the world will understand that any response of Pakistan would be entirely to ensure national security.

21/2200 HOURS OF 26-5-1998 (TUESDAY)

NAWAZ-PRESIDENT: The Prime Minister Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Tuesday called on the President Mr. Muhammad Rafique Tarar at Aiwan-e-Sadr Islamabad and discussed with him national security affairs in the wake of emerging regional situation.

They also discussed the situation arising out of recent developments in and around the country. They expressed firm resolve of the people and the government of Pakistan to continue to give top priority to the national interests in all circumstances.

CALL-ON: The President Mr. Muhammad Rafique Tarar has said that Pakistan is a peace-loving country and would never compromise on its national independence and defence.

He was talking to the Iranian Ambassador Mr. Muhammad Mehdi Akhundzade who called on him in Islamabad Tuesday.

The President said the Iranian reaction and concern on the Indian nuclear blasts is based on principle and rest of the world should also adopt the same stand. The President said the whole nation has expressed its gratitude to the Iranian point of view.

The Iranian Ambassador told the President that his country has shown concern on the Indian nuclear tests which have endangered the peace of whole region. He categorically said that Iran will support Pakistan at any hour of trial.

The South African High Commissioner in Pakistan Mr. Ismail Coovadia also called on the President and discussed matters of mutual interest.

SULTAN: Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry has said villagers living close to the Indian border have been armed with rifles to protect themselves against cross-border raids by Indian-sponsored terrorists.

Briefing foreign media on the prevailing situation on the Line of Control in Islamabad Tuesday, he said the situation is quite tense in the wake of nuclear threats by India and indiscriminate firing on innocent civilian population by the Indian forces.

He said that 160 village defence committees have been formed and his government has given them 2000 rifles to defend themselves in case of a possible attack by Indian soldiers from across the border.

KASHMIR: The All Parties Hurriyet Conference Executive Council has pointed out that the situation in occupied Kashmir has become very grave following appointment of Sexena as Governor, aggressive statements by Indian Home Minister L. K. Advani and the puppet Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, coupled with manifold increase in the military repression.

In a statement in Srinagar Tuesday the Council expressed apprehension that the Indian rulers have drawn out a plan to murder three senior APHC leaders. It said the plan had been devised after failure of the occupation troops to suppress the liberation movement of Kashmiri people.

The APHC made it clear that India would gain nothing by killing APHC leaders except invoking world-wide degradation and disgrace. The liberation movement, it declared, would surge ahead and the objective would be achieved at all costs.

DAR: The Commerce Minister Mr. Ishaq Dar says Pakistan got a very favourable response to its proposals to spread the benefits of the World Trade Organization for developing countries at its recent conference in Geneva last week.

Talking to newsmen in Islamabad Tuesday afternoon, he said Pakistanís proposals related to identification of problems in the proper implementation of WTO objectives.

He said that he also raised the point pertaining to the abuse of anti-dumping laws and its politicising by the protectionist lobby in the textile sector.

SARTAJ: Pakistan has not suffered from East Asian economic crisis due to sound policies of the present government.

This was stated by Federal Minister for Finance Mr. Sartaj Aziz at a seminar on "South East Asia, effects on Pakistan and lessons for small and medium entrepreneurs policy".

The Finance Minster said banking reforms have restored peopleís confidence in banks and the inflation rate has been checked.

The seminar was organised by the Rawalpindi Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Pak-Swiss Small Scale Enterprise Promotion Programme.

MUSHAHID : The Federal Minister for Information Mr. Mushahid Hussain Syed has directed Radio Pakistan to start an English service in its External Broadcasts so that Pakistanís message reaches a wider audience.

Chairing a special meeting of Radio officials and broadcasters at the National Broadcasting House Islamabad Tuesday, he said External Service programmes should focus on Pakistanís view point on current issues.

The Information Minister said Radio has important role to repel false propaganda being made by certain ill-wishers of the country and inform the world about the facts.

BENAZIR: The leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Ms. Benazir Bhutto appeared before the Ehtesab Bench of the Lahore High Court Tuesday.

The Ehtesab Bench directed her to furnish surety bond of five million rupees to the satisfaction of the Registrar of the court for the grant of bail.

Special Prosecutor of the Ehtesab Bench, produced certain documents pertaining to the declaration of Ms. Benazir Bhutto before the Chief Election Commissioner about her assets besides proofs of her accounts in Swiss banks.

The court put off the hearing of the case till 29th of next month.

AFGHANISTAN : In Afghanistan, fierce fighting between government and opposition forces is reported to be continuing near Qila Zal district headquarters in Kunduz province for the last three days.

The Afghan Islamic Press says opposition forces attacked the district headquarters Qila Zal which was repulsed by the government forces.

Twenty-one fighters from both sides have been killed in the fresh fighting.