Wednesday, October 13, 1999 Published at 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
World: South Asia
Pakistan press cautious over coup
Despite the coup, people are out on streets as normal
Pakistan's press has reacted to the military coup with caution. In India, there is serious concern.
The Pakistani Jang Group's News International paper says the army's reaction to the sacking of General Musharraf by Nawaz Sharif seems to have started with junior officers.
"The first army elements to approach the PTV HQ were four soldiers under the command of a Lieutenant Askari of the Punjab Regiment" they report.
"He tried to enter the building but was stopped by the elite force guarding the premises and forced to leave. He returned shortly with a Colonel and between 50 to 60 troop and again sought entry. On being prevented, the force stormed the building by scaling the walls and overpowering the guards within and without the building."
The paper also says a large number of junior officers were seen at Karachi airport to receive General Musharraf on his return from Colombo.
Dawn - another Pakistani English-language paper - reports reaction in Mr Sharif's home town of Lahore.
"The dominant reaction was one of bewilderment and confusion. People on the streets asked each other what was happening, and newspaper offices were flooded with calls," the newspaper says.
It adds that members of the national and provincial assemblies are to be banned from leaving the country.
PM locked in room
The paper reports that Kusoom Nawaz, the wife of the ousted prime minister, was not allowed to talk to her husband when troops overthrew him and locked him in a room.
The Lahore-based Nation says the dismissal of the government could be open to challenge in the courts and says it is thought General Musharraf consulted top lawyers as well as senior military figures before making his public address.
None of the Pakistani papers is venturing an opinion yet of events on its online editorial pages.
Indian government 'appalled'
Indian newspapers join their country's government in expressing concern at the coup.
The Hindu newspaper quotes Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh as saying the government was "appalled" at developments, while The Indian Express said the international community's "worst fears" had been confirmed.
"Certainly the immediate consequence of the imposition of martial law will be the increase in tensions along the international border and the "Line of Control" dividing Indian- and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir," the newspaper says.
The Times of India says that ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was "India's best bet" for peace, and that his departure bodes ill for the sub-region.
"A coming together of the hard-line army and religious right-wing political groups may be the perfect recipe for disaster in South Asia," it suggests.
"The coup will be doubly dangerous in a nuclear Pakistan where there is no political leadership to rein in a general capable of pressing the nuclear trigger."
The Hindustan Times, meanwhile, links events with the withdrawal in July of Pakistani forces from inside Indian-controlled Kashmir.
It says analysts were describing the turmoil as "an extension of the consequences brought upon that country by the Kargil misadventure".
The Times of London also believes the causes of the coup lie in Kashmir, but takes a more up-beat view of the future.
"The outside world", it opines, "like Pakistan's frustrated voters, may feel that a new government, even one brought in by the army, might be less bad for Pakistan than the distorted democracy it has endured until today."