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Pakistan moves fresh troops to border, cancels army leave

December 26, 2008 12:26 IST
Last Updated: December 26, 2008 22:36 IST

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Pakistan is moving additional troops to the Line of Control [Images] in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and the international border with India, and the government has cancelled leave for its military personnel and almost put a security alert into effect, amidst tensions with India in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

The Pakistani forces are being moved to the LoC and the international border to protect 'vital points', media reports said on Friday.

Intelligence officials told AP that the army's 14th division was being redeployed to Kasur and Sialkot, which faces the R S Pura border near Jammu. The agency said some 20,000 troops were on the move.

The movement of the troops comes as officials said that all leave of the armed forces' personnel had been cancelled and a security alert put in place.

Pakistani media reports said that most of the troops being redeployed were being moved out from the restive North West
Frontier Province, where Pakistan's army [Images] is carrying out a major operation to flush out Taliban [Images] and Al Qaeda [Images] militants.

The Army's 10th and 11th Divisions have also been put on high alert and troops moved to forward posts on the border facing Rajouri and Poonch sectors in Kashmir, the 'Daily Times' reported.

This troop reinforcement is in addition to the formation already deployed in the PoK, Sialkot and Lahore [Images] sectors. The Pakistan army has an independent corps strength deployment in PoK as well as Jhelum.

Pakistan's military spokesman declined to give details of fresh troop movement but media quoted other officials as saying that a number of brigades are being moved towards the frontier in the Lahore sector.

The reports said the Pakistan Army had already moved its 10th Brigade to Lahore and ordered the 3rd Armoured Brigade to head towards Jhelum, alleging a concentration of Indian troops on the border.

There have also been reports in the Pakistani media that the country's Air Force was in a state of high alert and was conducting aerial surveillance of the Chashma power plant and other sensitive sites, amidst fears of a possible surgical strike by India in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks [Images].

The PAF enhanced its vigilance on Monday and scrambled warplanes to conduct sorties over cities like Islamabad [Images], Rawalpindi and Lahore as well as Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

In recent public comments, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani [Images] and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh [Images] have both ruled out a war between the two countries.

Echoing President Asif Ali Zardari's [Images] statement that Pakistan would not be the first to use nuclear weapons in the event of a conflict with India, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said that atomic weapons served a deterrent for both countries.

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