President Yahya Khan of Pakistan said that he was "very near" to war with India when he spoke to newsmen in Karachi on Friday (30 July) in his first television interview since the start of the crisis in fast Pakistan at the beginning of April.
SV Newsmen sated in front of Yahya Khan (2 shots)
CU Yahya Khan listens to question and replies. (SOUND)
TRANSCRIPT: QUESTION: "Are you suggesting that there has been as increase in guerrilla activity lately?"
ANSWER: "Well, yes, due to the monsoons, it was their declared aim actually that they would increase it during the monsoons and I think they have co??? so a little more but they find that the Army is more alert in monsoons the in other times. Its a question of who goes first. Whenever the Army has news that a certain village is being persecuted, being fired at, being grilled by these guerrillas, the Army reaches there. Well, the Army can't reach everywhere, so what is happening really is that the people themselves are now organizing village defence, or, self defence, and so forth. We ??? give them all assistance. We are arming them, because against armed rebels you have to arm the people to fight them back."
QUESTION: "How severe, or tense, is the situation along the border itself?"
ANSWER: "We are watching it with great patience. And I am warning them ??? that if they have any idea of taking a chunk of my territory in East Pakistan, and think there is not war, let me warn you, I warn the world, ??? this will mean war, an all out war, which I hate, which I don't like, but the defence of my country I must then fight an all out war. And that will mean war here in West Pakistan."
QUESTION: "How close are you to war with India?"
ANSWER: "Very near it."
QUESTION: "You would agree that a military solution is no solution at all. exactly are you hoping to come to a political settlement?"
ANSWER: "The political solution, which I have laid down before my mission, two and a half years ago, I was going along that, until part of my community decided to rebel. Well, so, and rebelled with arms. It was an armed rebellion. I know the world has criticised me. But I would like to remind the world that in their criticism they should be objective, they should see the facts of life, and not criticise just because they don't happen to is my face or I happen to be a dictator, or we happen to be a poor country, may be a poor country, but we are a proud country, with proud tradition. (INDISTINCT) under any pressure, political or anything else."
Initials BB/1605 RR/MB/BB/1545
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: President Yahya Khan of Pakistan said that he was "very near" to war with India when he spoke to newsmen in Karachi on Friday (30 July) in his first television interview since the start of the crisis in fast Pakistan at the beginning of April.
Asked about the tense situation on the border with India, the President warned that any attempts to seize territory in East Pakistan would result in an all-out war. He did not want this, he said, but he would be prepared to fight in defence of his country.
On World criticism of his military campaign in East Pakistan, he said he wished to remind the world that their criticism should be objective. He was dealing with an armed rebellion, he pointed out, and suggested that the rest of the world should see the "facts of life."
The President told the television teams that he would be visiting East Pakistan shortly, and invited them to accompany him. No firm dates were given.