`Unilateral incursion into Pak will be disastrous`

The US and NATO have shifted hundreds of troops, heavy arms and helicopter gunships to the border along North Waziristan.

Islamabad: The unilateral incursion of foreign troops into Pakistan would have "disastrous consequences for regional stability", a leading daily said on Thursday as tension escalated with the US and NATO in Afghanistan moving close to the Pakistan border.

The US and NATO have shifted hundreds of troops, heavy arms and helicopter gunships to the border along North Waziristan and completely sealed it.

"Rumblings have begun," said the Dawn in an editorial on Thursday.

"This is perhaps unsurprising given increasing American concern about the Haqqani network, Pakistan`s unwillingness to go after the group and a drone offensive against it that has been stepped up in recent days."

The US is linking the Haqqani group with Pakistan`s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and says it has stepped up attacks on American interests in Afghanistan, with some tacit Pakistani backing.

It said that if the troop movement is to seal the border to curb the movements of militants, then it is a welcome move.

"Needless to say, what would have disastrous consequences for regional stability is a unilateral incursion of foreign ground troops into Pakistan," the editorial warned.

It went on to say that "vague statements hinting at the possibility made by some American officials in the aftermath of the attack on the US embassy in Kabul had already raised temperatures here".

"In such an atmosphere, news of a build-up can easily lead to misinformation and hysteria, and even the Army chief`s assurance on Tuesday that America would have to think carefully before launching such an operation can add to speculation instead of curbing it."

Pakistan`s Army Chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has warned the US not to launch any military offensive into his country`s tribal region.

Asking the US to "think 10 times" before moving into North Waziristan region from Afghanistan, Kayani reminded the Americans that Pakistan was a nuclear power and should not be compared with Iraq or Afghanistan.

But Kayani did not specify what Pakistan would do if American troops, now massed on the Afghan side of the border, did move into North Waziristan hunting for the Haqqani network.

The editorial hoped that "the armies on both sides of the border are communicating extensively, that they will limit confusion rather than worsen it with any public statements, and that the media will not use this opportunity to whip up needless panic".


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