News

DATE=5/16/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-249432 TITLE=PAK / KASHMIR FIGHTING (L) BYLINE=SCOTT ANGER DATELINE=ISLAMABAD CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: ARTILLERY EXCHANGES ARE REPORTED TO BE ESCALATING BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN, ALONG THE BORDER OF THE DISPUTED TERRITORY OF KASHMIR. FROM ISLAMABAD, CORRESPONDENT SCOTT ANGER REPORTS. TEXT: ARTILLERY AND MORTAR FIRE FROM INDIAN ARMY UNITS HAS REPORTEDLY DRIVEN HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE FROM THEIR VILLAGES EAST OF MUZAFFARABAD IN KASHMIR. ROSHAN MUGHAL, A JOURNALIST IN THE AREA, SAYS THE SHELLING STARTED LATE SATURDAY NIGHT AND HAS CONTINUED IN THE KOTLI BORDER REGION. ///MUGHAL ACT/// THERE, INDIAN TROOPS ARE FIRING UPON THE CIVILIAN VILLAGES AND PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SAFER PLACES TO ESCAPE THE INDIAN SHELLING. ///END ACT/// // OPT // FIGHTING HAS ALSO INCREASED FARTHER NORTH, ALONG THE 720-KILOMETER LINE OF CONTROL -- WHICH DIVIDES KASHMIR. // END OPT // LAST WEEK, PAKISTANI ARMY TROOPS REPORTEDLY CAPTURED A NUMBER OF BORDER POSTS NEAR KARGIL, ON THE INDIAN SIDE. INDIA APPEARS TO BE TRYING TO RETAKE THEM AND HAS AIRLIFTED THOUSANDS OF TROOPS TO THE REMOTE MOUNTAINOUS REGION, (WHICH IS ABOUT 280 KILOMETERS NORTHEAST OF SRINAGAR). BUT INDIAN OFFICIALS HAVE REFUSED TO CONFIRM THEY ARE ENGAGED IN ACTIVE COMBAT WITH PAKISTAN. AND PAKISTAN'S FOREIGN MINISTER SARTAJ AZIZ SAYS SKIRMISHES OCCURRED IN THE KARGIL AREA BUT DECLINED TO GIVE ANY DETAILS. PAKISTAN DOES SAY IT IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE INCREASE IN FIRING INCIDENTS BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES. INDIA AND PAKISTAN HAVE FOUGHT TWO WARS OVER THE HIMALAYAN REGION SINCE THE COUNTRIES DIVIDED IN 1947. INDIA NOW CONTROLS TWO-THIRDS OF KASHMIR AND PAKISTAN THE REST. /// REST OPT /// NEW DELHI ACCUSES ISLAMABAD OF FUNDING AN ARMED MUSLIM INSURGENCY IN KASHMIR -- THE ONLY MUSLIM MAJORITY STATE OF HINDU-DOMINATED INDIA. PAKISTAN DENIES THE CHARGE AND SAYS IT ONLY PROVIDES MORAL AND POLITICAL SUPPORT TO THE ONGOING STRUGGLE BY SEPARATISTS GROUPS WHO ARE FIGHTING FOR INDEPENDENCE -- OR FOR MERGER WITH PAKISTAN. (SIGNED) NEB/SA/JO 16-May-99 10:20 AM EDT (1420 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .