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Pakistan admits crossing LoC : BBC

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    Pakistan admits crossing LoC : BBC

    Check out the report.

    Simple ain't easy.

    Pakistan Army Chief Says Troops Into India

    By Andrew Hill

    GILGIT, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan's army chief Friday acknowledged for
    the first time that his troops had crossed into India during recent fighting in

    General Pervez Musharraf told the BBC his troops had carried out
    ``aggressive patrolling'' which took them across the Line of Control (LoC)
    into India's two-thirds of Kashmir, a charge the Pakistani government has
    denied since fighting erupted in May.

    ``That took them (Pakistani troops) across to make sure that we had our eyes and ears open before
    any Indian action takes place on the LoC,'' he said.

    Musharraf's words fell short of supporting Indian charges that Pakistani troops were involved in the
    capture of strategic heights around the Batalik-Drass sector on India's side of the disputed
    Himalayan region.

    Indian troops and warplanes began attacks in May to evict what New Delhi says were Pakistani
    troops and Pakistani-backed militants from its side of Kashmir.

    Musharraf gave the interview hours before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif again denied that Pakistan's
    Northern Light Infantry (NLI) had taken part in the capture of strategic heights.

    ``The NLI was of course on the Line of Control and only freedom fighters were in Kargil,'' Sharif
    said on a visit to meet the families of army ``martyrs'' killed in the past two months by what Pakistan
    said was Indian shelling.

    The line is a 740-km (450-mile) military border that runs through Kashmir. India and Pakistan
    exchanged heavy artillery fire across it throughout the two-month showdown, the worst between the
    rivals in nearly 30 years.

    Pakistan has consistently denied reports from New Delhi, Washington and elsewhere which alleged
    the infantry unit was the backbone of an operation to capture peaks commanding India's lifeblood
    supply line in northern Kashmir.

    Musharraf made his admission on the day Indian and Pakistani fighters were supposed to end a
    disengagement process agreed between top military officials last weekend.

    He was interviewed in Skardu, the main army base in the recent fighting, before accompanying Sharif
    on a helicopter tour of bases of the infantry unit.

    Sharif said he hoped the disengagement of what Pakistan calls mujahideen, or holy warrior, fighters
    and what India says are Pakistani-backed infiltrators would be over by Friday evening.

    ``Hopefully it will be concluded by this evening,'' Sharif told reporters.

    He said that Indian and Pakistan directors general of military operations agreed last weekend that the
    disengagement of forces would be completed by Saturday.

    ``I think it was by mutual agreement that we decided that complete disengagement would be
    completed by Saturday.''

    Indian defense officials said earlier that the deadline for the withdrawal of guerrillas from its side of
    Kashmir had been extended until dawn Saturday.

    Under a July 4 agreement with President Clinton, Sharif agreed to take concrete steps to end the
    worst military standoff between the two nuclear powers in 30 years.

    The Pakistani premier, accompanied by Musharraf and senior cabinet ministers, visited three bases
    to boost morale and to express sympathy to young widows and orphaned children.

    Residents of the rugged northern areas said that about 85 NLI troops were killed in fighting which
    officials blamed on Indian artillery fire across the LoC.

    At Bunji, Sharif laid a wreath at a monument to the unit's dead from three wars with India.

    He announced that the government would give widows 500,000 rupees ($10,000), free schooling
    for their children and a house. He said the children of NLI dead would get priority in recruitment into
    its ranks.