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Sunday, August 30, 1998 Published at 03:55 GMT 04:55 UK


World: South Asia

Second missile found in Pakistan

Tomahawk missiles overflew Pakistan


Islamabad Correspondent, Owen Bennet-Jones: Pakistani Government "reluctant to alienate Washington"
Reports from Pakistan say a second American Tomahawk cruise missile has been discovered in the south-west of the country.

It was found some 300km from the site where parts of another cruise missile were discovered a week ago. Neither had exploded. The warhead of the first missile to be discovered has already been destroyed.

The Pakistani army is also reported to have destroyed the second missile.

Both missiles are believed to have gone astray during America's attack on bases belonging to the exiled Saudi Arabian dissident, Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan nine days ago.

False information


[ image: The attacks provoked condemnation from Pakistani Islamic groups]
The attacks provoked condemnation from Pakistani Islamic groups
Shortly after the US attack, Islamabad protested that one cruise missile had exploded in a Pakistani border village, killing at least six people.

That statement was later retracted, and two senior officials were fired for having given the government in Islamabad false information.

But it now appears that at least two cruise missiles did land in Pakistan, although neither exploded.

Military survey


[ image: The missiles were fired from US warships in the Arabian sea]
The missiles were fired from US warships in the Arabian sea
Reports from Balochistan, where the latest missile was discovered, say that the Pakistani army is now conducting a thorough survey to see if there are any more.

The missiles were fired at the bases from American warships in the Arabian Sea.

The discovery of a second missile on Pakistani soil is likely to make it more difficult for the government to resist pressure from Pakistani religious activists to condemn the US attacks more strongly.

The government urgently needs IMF loans and is reluctant to alienate Washington.

On Friday the prime minister introduced a package of Islamic measures, which the opposition claims is an attempt to appease his critics in the religious based parties.



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