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Tuesday, 22 February, 2000, 16:58 GMT
Pakistan asks Chechen official to leave

Russian soldier in Chechnya
Chechens want support for their war against Russia


By Zaffar Abbas in Islamabad

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry has confirmed that a senior Chechen official, Zelimkhan Yanderbiyev, has been asked to leave the country.

Yanderbayev Zelimkhan Yanderbayev: Visa had expired
Pakistan's new Foreign Secretary, Inamul Haq, told reporters that Mr Yanderbiyev's visa had expired.

He said the government's move to ask him to leave the country was more of a legal issue than a diplomatic one.

He denied that Mr Yanderbiyev had met Pakistan's military ruler General Pervez Musharraf or other senior officials.

Fund raising

Mr Yanderbiyev, who was acting Chechen President in 1996, had been in Pakistan for the past few weeks.

He was campaigning to raise funds for Chechen militants fighting against the Russian army.

During his stay, Mr Yanderbiyev travelled widely within the country, addressing rallies and news conferences, and calling for support for the Chechen rebels.

His visit had become a cause for celebration for some of the Islamic groups in the country.

They had used the occasion to muster support for the Chechen militants, and against the Russian offensive in Chechnya.

Pakistan earlier rejected a formal protest by Moscow about Mr Yanderbiyev's activities.

It now seems that the government has found a legal way to force Mr Yanderbiyev out of the country.
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See also:
18 Jan 00 |  Europe
Grozny 'to fall in days'
19 Jan 00 |  Europe
Analysis: West quiet over Chechnya
18 Jan 00 |  Europe
Analysis: Russians learn from past mistakes
10 Jan 00 |  Europe
Can Russia win the Chechen war?
12 Jan 00 |  Europe
How Russia pays for the war
17 Jan 00 |  Europe
Chechens 'buy off' Russian troops

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