RAWALPINDI: Expressing his satisfactionover the end of the most unhappy phase of Pakistan’s national existence, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto has said that contrary to the dire prognoses voiced in early 1972, “the badge of our humiliation is removed and no foreign troops now tread on the soil of Pakistan and no Pakistani is a prisoner of war”.

In a message to the nation on the completion of the honourable return of Pakistani prisoners of war from India, the Prime Minister recalled that in those dark days of December, 1971, when he took up the gauntlet, there were formidable obstacles … and the country had no leverage to get the invading troops withdrawn and its prisoners returned. … He said: “The results appear almost miraculous. … First and foremost it is due to the united support which the nation gave to its Government at such a testing time.” — News agencies

[Meanwhile, as reported by news agencies from Tel Aviv,] a Senior Israeli officer alleged yesterday [May 1] that Pakistani pilots were now operating with the Syrian Air Force. But the officer would not say whether the Pakistanis had actually taken part in engagements with the Israeli Air Force.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2024

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