NEW DELHI, Aug 19, Reuter: Indian Troops went on alert along the border between Pakistan and) the sensitive states of Punjab and Kashmir on Friday, a day before the funeral of Pakistani President Mohammad ZiaulHaq.

In the Moslem majority state of Jammu and Kashmir, troops patrolled the capital, Srinagar, where four ProPakistan Militants were shot dead and 11 wounded on Thursday while trying to organise public mourning for Zia.

A curfew and’ shoot on sight orders imposed on Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir on Wednesday were still in force to prevent more demonstrations.

Police in the Sikh Holy City Amritsar in Northern Punjab, denied troops had moved towards the border. They said it was still being guarded by the paramilitary border security force, but the army ‘was on full alert.

Zia was killed in an unexplained air disaster on Wednesday. He will be buried ‘in the army headquarters town of Rawalpindi, near Islamabad.

India’s ceremonial head of state, President Ramaswamy Venkataraman, will lead the Indian delegation to the funeral.

India and Pakistan have had stormy relations for four decades since both states were created by the partition of British India. Cabinet Ministers and some opposition leaders will join the official team headed by Venkataraman. But Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who has visited Pakistan only once since taking office in 1984, will not be among them.

Gandhi signed a condolence ‘book at the Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi and wrote that India would strive for “a healthy and friendly relationship with Pakistan.

But the South Asian neighbours, which have fought three wars, two over Kashmir, since Independence in 1947, remain deeply suspicious of each other.

In the past year, India has frequently accused Pakistan of aiding and arming Sikh separatists in Punjab. Islamabad denies the charge and says New Delhi is fomenting trouble in its southern Sind province.

Indian newspapers on Friday paid reluctant tribute to the Pakistani President.

“General Zia was not greatly loved in India but there was ungrudging and abundant admiration for him as a solider politician,” said the generally pro government Hindustan Times.

Zia’s personal charm and public relations skill had enabled him to pursue “a policy towards India that New Delhi felt was unfriendly but failed to get most of the world to see it as such,” the newspaper added.

India has not officially commented on future links with Pakistan but politicians expressed their apprehensions.

Article extracted from this publication >> August 26, 1988