LONDON: After warning that the countries of South Asia “are sitting on the rim of a volcano”, President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto declared on Italian Television tonight [June 20] that at the Indo-Pakistan summit talks next week “we will, however, make every sincere and loyal effort to bring peace and tranquillity once again to the subcontinent”. … President Bhutto observed that in the East Pakistan crisis, the Indians “used our mistakes to their advantage. If we had not committed these errors, they wouldn’t have had the advantage over us”. The President blamed the former regime of Field Marshal Ayub Khan for “pitiless economic exploitation” of the entire country that lay at the root of the secessionist crisis. — Overseas correspondent

[Meanwhile, as reported by news agencies from Prague,] Indian Premier, Mrs Indira Gandhi, said ... she would not negotiate with President Bhutto “from the position of a victor or of a stronger party, but with concern for the people of Pakistan”. ... Mrs Gandhi said India ... was itself interested in a strong and economically well-based neighbour. Mrs Gandhi said: “We believe it is harmful for the people of Pakistan that our limited resources should be used in confrontations and conflicts rather than for the development of our countries.”

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2022

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