News

DATE=6/3/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-250196 TITLE=PAK / KASHMIR (L) BYLINE=SCOTT ANGER DATELINE=ISLAMABAD CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: PAKISTAN HAS RELEASED A CAPTURED INDIAN FIGHTER PILOT TO THE RED CROSS, WHICH HAS TURNED HIM OVER TO INDIAN DIPLOMATS IN ISLAMABAD. AS CORRESPONDENT SCOTT ANGER REPORTS, PAKISTAN'S PRIME MINISTER SAYS THE MOVE IS PART OF EFFORTS TO DEFUSE TENSIONS OVER THE DISPUTED REGION OF KASHMIR. TEXT: THE RELEASE OF THE CAPTURED INDIAN FIGHTER PILOT FOLLOWS PAKISTAN'S OFFER TO SEND ITS FOREIGN MINISTER TO NEW DELHI FOR TALKS. DURING A CROWDED NEWS CONFERENCE IN ISLAMABAD, PRIME MINISTER NAWAZ SHARIF SAID PAKISTAN AND INDIA NEED TO CONTINUE DIALOGUE TO AVOID A MILITARY CONFRONTATION. /// FIRST SHARIF ACT /// THE DIALOGUE PROCESS IS IN GRIEVOUS DANGER OF BEING DERAILED. SUCH A SITUATION WILL NEITHER BE IN THE INTEREST OF INDIA NOR OF PAKISTAN. THE URGENT NECESSITY, THEREFORE, IS TO DEFUSE THE CURRENT SITUATION. /// END ACT /// INDIAN AIR STRIKES CONTINUED FOR THE NINTH STRAIGHT DAY (THURSDAY), POUNDING MOUNTAIN-TOP POSITIONS HELD BY ARMED MUSLIM INSURGENTS ON THE INDIAN SIDE OF THE "LINE OF CONTROL" IN KASHMIR. TWO WEEKS AGO, PAKISTAN SHOT DOWN TWO INDIAN "MIG" FIGHTER PLANES AFTER THEY CROSSED INTO PAKISTANI AIRSPACE. THE ONE PILOT WHO SURVIVED WAS CAPTURED, AND HAS NOW BEEN HANDED OVER TO INDIAN DIPLOMATS. THE OTHER PILOT WAS KILLED. HIS BODY WAS IMMEDIATELY RETURNED TO INDIA. THE TWO SOUTH ASIAN NUCLEAR POWERS FACE THEIR MOST SERIOUS STAND-OFF SINCE BOTH COUNTRIES TESTED NUCLEAR DEVICES LAST YEAR. PRIME MINISTER SHARIF SAYS HE HOPES THE SITUATION DOES NOT ESCALATE AND THROW THE REGION INTO CONFLICT. /// SECOND SHARIF ACT /// NUCLEAR POWERS SHOULD NEVER BE IN A STATE OF CONFRONTATION. WE WANT TO PREVENT ANY FURTHER ESCALATION AND TO DEFUSE THE SITUATION. /// END ACT /// TO FURTHER EASE TENSIONS, PAKISTAN HAS PROPOSED SENDING ITS FOREIGN MINISTER (SARTAJ AZIZ) TO NEW DELHI NEXT MONDAY FOR TALKS. INDIA HAS ACCEPTED PAKISTAN'S OFFER (FOR TALKS), BUT HAS NOT AGREED ON THE DATE. (SIGNED) NEB/SA/PHW/WTW 03-Jun-99 4:00 PM EDT (2000 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .