ExpressIndia.com Posted: Nov 30, 2008 at 1440 hrs IST
Islamabad: Warning of mounting tension with India in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, Pakistan's security apparatus has said that up to one lakh troops could be redeployed along the border with India after diverting them from fighting militants in the restive Afghan frontier.
The next two days would be crucial in determining how the situation would unfold, senior security officials were quoted as saying by the local media on a background briefing organised for Pakistani journalists on Saturday.
Pakistan would wind up its "war on terror" on the Afghan borders if the situation in the east "spiralled out of control", the officials were quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper. The top officials categorised the current state of Pakistan-India relations as "tense".
"They (Indians) are taking the escalation level up at a very brisk pace," one official said.
Describing the situation as "crisis-like", the officials said Pakistan would pull out "all the troops" now deployed in the country's northwest if India deployed forces on its border with Pakistan.
There are about 90,000 to 100,000 troops fighting pro-Taliban militants in the tribal belt, the officials said.
India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire along the borders in Kashmir in late 2003, allowing Islamabad to divert more troops for quelling a raging Taliban-led insurgency in North West Frontier Province and adjoining tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. The US has described the tribal belt as a safe haven for Taliban and al-Qaeda elements.
If tension escalated with India, the "war on terror won't be our priority", a security official said during the briefing. He said the Pakistani security establishment would not "leave anything" on the Afghan border if troops were diverted to the Indian frontier.