Dr Kurt Waldhsim, the United Nation's Secretary-General, arrived in Pakistan for a three-day visit on Wednesday (7 Feburary) - and was greeted by a series of demonstrations by families of men still held prtooner in India following the 1971 hostilities.
Dr Kurt Waldhsim, the United Nation's Secretary-General, arrived in Pakistan for a three-day visit on Wednesday (7 Feburary) - and was greeted by a series of demonstrations by families of men still held prtooner in India following the 1971 hostilities. His car was stopped by demonstrators as he left Islamabad Airport, where he had been greeted by the Speaker of the Pakistan National Assembly, Choudhry Elahi.
Dr Waldheim, who flew to Pakistan after talks with the Indian Government, called on President Bhutto for discussions. His visit included a tour of the Shakagarh area, which was the scene of fighting during the war with India. There, Dr Waldheim saw war damage - still much in evidence. He also received a million-signature petition and met the wives of some of the 90,000 men held in India.
SYNOPSIS: Kurt Waldheim, the United Nations Secretary-General, arrived in Rawalpindi on Wednesday for a three-day visit to Pakistan.
He was soon reminded of the purpose of his visit - to discuss the plight of war prisoners still held in India. The demonstration was organised by the National Council for Repatriation of Pakistani prisoners of War.
Later, Dr. Waldheim and his wife met the waives of some of the 90,000 men who are still Prisoners of War. Their husbands have been captives since the conflict between Pakistan and India in December, 1971.
Dr. Waldheim received a petition carrying more than a million signatures, asking for his help in negotiating the prisoners' repatriation to Pakistan.
While the women gave their personal view of the situation, Pakistan government officials issued a statement condemning the continued detention as a flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention. They accused India of using the prisoners as a liver in political matters.
President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto welcomed Dr Waldhaim, and they held lengthy discussions. The Pakistan Government hopes that, as well as speeding the release of the war-prisoners, Dr Waldheim's visit will help improve relations between the three countries in the sub-continent - Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan. From the Pakistani side, the question of the 90,000 prisoners is the biggest obstacle to normal relations.
A helicopter took dr Waldheim to the Shakagrah area of the Punjab, which was occupied by India during the conflict.
The secretary-general met local people and saw for himself some of the devastation still remaining. India withdrew from the area in December. Pakistan is preparing a plan to submit to the United Nations calling for aid in post-war rehabilitation.