Pakistan military on 'red alert'

Tensions between the two neighbours has been high since last month's attacks in Mumbai .

Pakistan media is reporting that the country's military is on high alert over a possible strike by India.Monday's reports come after a ratcheting up of tension between the two countries following attacks in Mumbai last month which killed 163 people.Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Pakistan, said the local media attributed its reports to military sources, who were confirming that the navy, air force and army were on red alert."The Pakistani air force have been seen visibly in a number of locations flying close to the Pakistani-India border in what is being described as an aggressive patrolling mode, following reports that India is planning pre-emptive strikes against locations in Pakistan," Hyder reported.
"Chiefs of the three forces are meeting in what is being described as an emergency meeting in general headquarters in Rawalpindi."Only after the meeting is over will we come to know if it is a red alert or a heightened state of alert."Hyder said that observers are saying that the Congress party in India has lost prestige due to the Mumbai attacks and, therefore, may try a show of strength in Pakistan.
Delayed civilian flights
The Reuters news agency quoted a Pakistan airline official as saying the Pakistani air force had conducted an exercise on Monday causing delays to two civilian flights.
"Two of our flights were delayed for some time because the PAF was conducting some exercises, but now everything is back on normal," Muhammad Latif, a spokesman for Pakistan International Airlines, said.The flights were delayed at the airport in Lahore, near the Indian border, Latif said, while dismissing television reports of a high alert at Pakistani airports. An air force spokesman declined to comment when asked about an exercise, saying only: "In view of the current environment, the PAF has enhanced its vigilance."
Divya Gopalan, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Srinagar, in India-controlled Kashmir, said that the Indian media was looking at Monday's reports with some degree of scepticism.
"They are saying that Pakistan is creating an artificial war hysteria to divert attention from the fact that they are under pressure from the Indian security services to deal with the Mumbai terror attacks."

'No red alerts'

Asad Durrani, the former head of Pakistani intelligence, told Al Jazeera that Pakistan was asked to do more to deal with individuals behind the Mumbai attacks. He dismissed the notion that the two states were on the brink of war.
"I think the media is building up a scenario in which one may get the impression that we are close to war"
Asad Durrani, former head of Pakistani intelligence
"The media is building up a scenario in which one may get the impression that we are close to war.
"This is not the stage that the two forces are going to go on that sort of alert."

But Brigadier-General Naeem Salik, a retired Pakistani military analyst, told Al Jazeera from Islamabad: "There have been very threatening statements [from India] saying that they do not rule out military options, and they have been talking about punishing Pakistan.
"So it is obviously natural for Pakistan to heighten its alert levels and be on guard. We cannot let the Indians have a free-run and it is a response to what is happening across the borders."
Ravi Sawhney, an Indian security analyst, told Al Jazeera: "It is not threatening talk at all. It is talking facts. We have been assaulted. A terror attack was launched on us. And the perpetrators of that attack were Pakistanis.
"So we have have been telling Pakistan very gently, very firmly, to take action against these people, who committed this heinous crime in Bombay.
"There has a been a flip-flop that has lasted about 10 or 15 days, so our government has told the Pakistanis to please take action, otherwise all options are on the table."
Both Sawhney and Salik said that their countries needed "introspection" to calm the rising tensions.
"Pakistan needs some introspection," Sawhney said. "We have one man who is already in our custody who has given irrefutable evidence that he is Pakistani."

"They should start looking inward and take action against the jihadis and terrorists, not only for our and the international community's sake, but for their own sake."

Salik said: "Talking of introspection, I think it's needed on both sides. There have been incidents of serving Indian military officers involved in the bombing of a Pakistan-bound train in which 68 Pakistanis were killed.
"If we keep blaming others for our own internal problems, then we are going to get nowhere. We both need to talk to each other and co-operate rather than threaten each other."
Last week, Pakistan summoned a senior Indian diplomat in Islamabad to protest against recent alleged airspace violations by Indian warplanes.
Indian fighter jets had crossed into Pakistani airspace over Kashmir and Punjab province, the government said on December 13.
Pakistan said its own fighter jets were scrambled to chase off the intruders, but it also played down the incident by describing the violations as "technical" and "inadvertent".India denied any violation of Pakistani airspace.

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