Gilani rules out war with India, army chief says troops prepared

January 15th, 2009 - 11:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Jan 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Thursday dismissed chances of a war with India but the Pakistani army chief said his troops were fully prepared to meet any challenges.The army is “fully prepared to meet the challenges”, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said while addressing a meeting of formation commanders at the army headquarters in nearby Rawalpindi.

The conference was attended by corps commanders, principal staff officers and formation commanders.

The army chief emphasised that any threat could best be defeated through a comprehensive national effort, a military spokesman said in a statement.

The participants were given a comprehensive briefing on the prevailing security environment, the statement said.

Kayani expressed satisfaction at the military commanders’ efforts for training and operational preparedness. He said that the spirit of sacrifice and high morale of troops are reassuring for the defence of the country, the statement said.

However, Prime Minister Gilani told mediapersons here that there were no chances of war between India and Pakistan as “both countries being nuclear powers cannot afford war”.

Pakistan assured India it will hold a transparent inquiry into the Nov 26 terrorist attacks in Mumbai and those found guilty will be dealt according to local laws - under which the guilty may get capital punishment.

Interior Ministry Advisor Rehman Malik told a press conference that the government had arrested 124 people belonging to Jamat-ud-Dawa who were being interrogated by a team of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials.

“We are very, very serious about fighting extremism,” Malik told journalists adding that the fight against terrorism was the “only option” for Pakistan.

But he said Islamabad needed more information from India to proceed with its own investigations into the Mumbai attacks and eventual prosecution of suspects.

Malik reaffirmed his government’s commitment to root out extremists on its soil.

Pakistan also sees a positive sign in Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s statement that if the Mumbai attack suspects cannot be handed over to India, they should tried in a fair manner in Pakistan.

A foreign ministry official welcomed Mukherjee’s statement and said the Pakistan government was “indeed serious” to resolve the issue.

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