• Short Summary

    An international diplomatic incident has arisen over the huge arms haul made at the Iraqi embassy in Islamabad.

  • Description

    An international diplomatic incident has arisen over the huge arms haul made at the Iraqi embassy in Islamabad.

    The ambassador, Mr Hikmat Suloman and one of his attaches were declared persons non grate after the discovery of the arms cache. Pakistan's ambassador to Baghdad has been recalled.

    The arms were found when police, accompanied by Pakistani officials, local and foreign newsmen, descended on the Chancery of the Iraqi embassy. Most of the weapons were in crates and some were in sealed canvas bags with the words "Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Baghdad, Iraq" stencilled on the side.

    In all there were about 300 Soviet-made submachine guns and 60-thousand rounds of ammunition as well as incendiary grenades, radio equipment and other articles for use in guerrilla training.

    Some empty creates were also found
    The Pakistanis said the arms were shipped as diplomatic mail by Iraq Airways to Karachi and then to Islamabad on Pakistan International Airlines. The discovery apparently came after an airline employee reported he had seen a bullet fall out of a diplomatic bag.

    Government sources said they believed some of the weapons may have already been distributed in Baluchistan, the vast but lightly populated tribal province on Pakistan's western border with Iran. Some of the arms may have also been intended for rebels in Iranian Baluchistan. the sources said Radio broadcasts in the Baluch language, calling for an independent, greater Baluchistan, had been beamed from Baghdad.

    SYNOPSIS: This is the Iraqi Embassy in Islamabad, to which Pakistani officials invited local and foreign newsmen on Saturday to witness a search.

    The Pakistanis wanted to have a look inside some diplomatic mail bags, crates and parcels which they believed contained Soviet-made arms and ammunition.

    While journalists and photographers recorded the scene - and embassy officials looked on - police officers uncovered 60-thousand rounds of ammunition, rifles, sub-machine guns, magazines, grenades, radio equipment and tape recorders.

    The Iraqi Ambassador, who had previously refused permission for the search, said he did not know anything about the weapons. He had claimed the creates contained books.

    The ambassador and an attache were later declared persons non grata and Pakistan recalled its ambassador to Iraq. The Pakistan government claimed the weapons were to be distributed to subversive elements...which some correspondents took to mean rebels in Baluchistan province.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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