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Pakistan refuses to stop boot-stomping at Wagah

Sunday November 07, 2010 06:42:55 PM, Awais Saleem, IANS

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Islamabad: Pakistan has shot down an Indian suggestion to do away with the aggressive posturing and boot-stomping during the traditional flag-lowering ceremony at the Wagah border post between India and Pakistan, an official said.

"The troops will continue their daily parade as part of the flag lowering and hoisting ceremonies at Wagah border in the traditional enthusiastic style without any change as such," said Nadeem Raza, a spokesman for Pakistan Rangers (Punjab).

"However, it has been decided to revive formal handshake between the officers representing the two sides.

"No change has been introduced in the parade's style otherwise, and the apprehensions expressed by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) regarding the "hostile gestures" by the Rangers are baseless," he added.

The Rangers were yet to receive a fresh request or proposal from the BSF about how to minimise the aggressive gestures during the drills, the spokesman said.

During a joint media briefing Oct 30 by Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) Director General Maj. Gen. Muhammad Yaqoob Khan and his BSF counterpart Raman Srivastava, the Rangers chief had said both countries had agreed to tone down the hostile gestures exchanged by soldiers at Wagah border during the flag hoisting and lowering ceremonies.

"Though it was not on our agenda, on my counterpart's request we have discussed it and decided to tone down the offensive gestures like fist gestures, hand touching, thumb-showing, staring etc. The soldiers from both sides will also shake hand with each other so as to have a cordial environment during the daily flag lowering ceremony," he had said.

Khan now said the drill at Wagah will "continue in its traditional way".

"These practices were not aggression and were just part of the drills," the Dawn Sunday quoted Khan as saying.






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