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June 25, 1999
US General's stand rattles Pak
Special Correspondent in New Delhi
''The Pakistan visit of Marine General Anthony Zinni, commander-in-chief of the US central command, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Gibson Lanpher has sparked a flurry of activity in Islamabad.
The high-level team is said to have reiterated US President Bill Clinton's stand that Pakistani forces must be pulled out of Indian territory.
Several Pakistani officials have expressed their displeasure with the US team's views, according to The Nation, considered a pro-establishment newspaper in Pakistan.
The officials felt that the US position was ''tantamount to encouraging India to carry on with its adventuristic policy''.
Reiterating its stand that there could be 'many more Kargils' if the Kashmir issue was not resolved, Pakistan maintains that the 'Kashmiri freedom fighters' in the Kargil sector 'are beyond its control'.
On his second visit to Pakistan -- the first being in May 1998, when he tried unsuccessfully to convince Islamabad against going in for nuclear tests -- General Zinni is said to have won many enemies.
While his first visit reportedly offered innumerable sops to the Nawaz Sharief government to try and wean it away from the nuclear path, the present one has brought the unambiguous message: that the US feels that Pakistan is responsible for the flare-up on the Line of Control separating India and Pakistan.
The general, who was initially on a one-day visit, has extended his trip. He is expected to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief today, according to The Nation.
About the duration of the US team's trip, the newspaper quotes Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Tariq Altaf as saying, "They are here. They have a plane of their own and they can take off any day they want."
Altaf has said the US "could have taken a more balanced point of view".
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